July 10, 2018 / 3:30 PM / in 13 days

UPDATE 1-Moroccan growth to slow to 2.9 pct in 2019-planning agency

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CASABLANCA, Morocco, July 10 (Reuters) - Morocco’s economic growth is expected to slow to 2.9 percent in 2019 from a forecast 3.1 percent this year, the head of the country’s planning agency said on Tuesday, citing a dip in agricultural production.

The budget deficit is forecast to reach 3.9 percent of gross domestic product this year, and 3.6 percent of GDP in 2019, said planning commission head Ahmed Lahlimi.

Inflation is seen staying relatively low, at 1.7 percent in 2018 and 1.3 percent in 2019, Lahlimi told reporters in Casablanca.

With the economy driven by domestic demand, Morocco’s trade deficit is expected to inch higher to 18.7 percent in 2019 from 18.5 percent this year, he said. “Domestic demand continues to be the main driver for growth.”

“Agricultural output is expected to be lower than the levels for 2017 and 2018,” said Lahlimi, describing the forecast crop for 2019 as “average”.

Agriculture accounts for more than 15 percent of Morocco’s economy.

Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi, Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by John Stonestreet, William Maclean

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