RABAT, July 16 (Reuters) - Morocco’s trade deficit widened by 7.8 percent to 100.832 billion dirhams ($10.7 billion) in the first six months of 2018 compared with the same period last year, the foreign exchange regulator said on Monday.
The gap widened from 93.507 billion dirhams in January-June last year. Imports increased 9.9 percent to 240.974 billion dirhams, while exports climbed 11.4 percent during the first half on 2018 to stand at 140.142 billion dirhams.
There was a 10.8 rise in equipment imports to 59.181 billion dirhams, an 8.6 percent rise in finished consumer goods to 54.268 billion, a 15.7 percent surge in energy imports to 38.827 billion and a 9.5 percent increase in food imports to 25.541 billion.
The automotive sector topped Morocco’s exports with a rise of 19.1 percent to 35.973 billion dirhams followed by agriculture and agri-food exports with an increase of 3.8 percent to 30.531 billion.
Exports of phosphates and derivatives were up 16.5 percent to 24.919 billion.
Tourism receipts grew 15.5 percent to 31.293 billion dirhams from 27.093 billion last year, while remittances from the Moroccans living abroad rose 8.5 percent to 31.951 billion dirhams
Foreign direct investments plummeted 33.1 percent to 10.071 billion dirhams, down from 15.047 billion. (Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Hugh Lawson)