RABAT, April 16 (Reuters) - Morocco’s trade deficit grew 10.6 percent to 48.705 billion dirhams ($5.31 billion) in the first three months of 2018 compared with same period a year earlier, the foreign exchange regulator said on Monday.
The gap widened from 44.022 billion dirhams in January-March last year, as imports rose 8.2 percent to 117.141 billion. That outstripped a 6.6 percent increase in total exports to 68.436 billion dirhams from 64.192 billion.
There was a 12.4 percent rise in equipment imports to 30.456 billion dirhams, a 7.8 percent increase in finished consumer goods to 25.719 billion, and a 14.3 percent rise in food imports to 12.526 billion dirhams.
Exports of phosphates and derivatives fell by 752 million dirhams.
Tourism receipts grew 20.2 percent to 15.184 billion dirhams from 12.634 billion last year, while remittances from Moroccans living abroad posted a 13.5 percent increase to 16.020 billion.
Foreign direct investments fell by 24 percent to 4.325 billion dirhams, down from 5.688 billion in first three months of last year. ($1 =9.17117 Moroccan dirham) (Reporting by Ahmed El Jechtimi Editing by Aidan Lewis and David Stamp)