April 20, 2017 / 1:42 AM / in 9 months

Morocco central bank says currency changes set for 2nd half 2017 -statement

RABAT, April 20 (Reuters) - The Moroccan central bank’s initial stage in a programme to liberalise the dirham currency will start in the second half of the year, the bank said in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement came a day after Central Bank Governor Abdellatif Jouahri told Reuters the liberalisation would start in the second quarter of the year.

“Programming for the start of the currency system change has not changed and will begin in the second half of 2017,” the bank statement said.

The North African kingdom has been working with the International Monetary Fund on liberalising its currency as its finances have strengthened, helped in part by lower global oil prices that trimmed energy import costs.

Late last year, the government said the first stages of a move to a flexible exchange rate would be implemented in the second half of 2017. On Tuesday Jouahri signalled an earlier start. But he said the duration of each phase would depend on the market conditions.

The dirham’s exchange rate is currently tightly controlled via a 60 percent weighting to the euro and 40 percent to the dollar. (Reporting by Patrick Markey; Editing by Toni Reinhold)

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