By Ahmed Eljechtimi
RABAT, May 16 (Reuters) - Morocco’s trade deficit grew 12 percent to 66.105 billion dirhams ($7.01 billion) in the first four months of 2018 compared with same period a year earlier, the foreign exchange regulator said on Wednesday.
The gap widened from 59.010 billion dirhams in January-April last year, as imports rose 9.2 percent to 158.817 billion. That outstripped a 7.2 percent increase in total exports to 92.712 billion dirhams from 86.485 billion, the data showed.
There was a 13.5 percent increase in equipment imports to 39.715 billion dirhams, a 10 percent increase in finished consumer goods to 35.581 billion, a 9.5 percent rise in energy products to 24.788 billion and a 3.8 percent increase in food imports to 17.402 billion.
The automotive sector topped Morocco’s exports with a rise of 19.1 percent to 23.905 billion dirhams, while exports of phosphates and derivatives fell 4.5 percent to stand at 13.552 billion.
Tourism receipts grew 18.1 percent to 21.095 billion dirhams from 17.858 billion last year, while remittances from Moroccans living abroad posted a 13 percent increase to 21.010 billion.
Foreign direct investments dropped 17.1 percent to 6.765 billion dirhams, down from 8.162 billion in first four months of last year. (Editing by Ulf Laessing)