Morocco raised interest rates again by 50 basis points to 3 percent in an effort to stabilize prices, the central bank said on Tuesday, amid high inflation that is hitting low-income people particularly hard. .
Bank Al Maghrib said in a statement after its quarterly board meeting that it had taken the decision to “further stabilize inflation expectations to facilitate their return to levels consistent with price stability objectives”. Interest rates rose for the third time since September.
According to data from the Central Bank, inflation should grow at a rate of 5.5 percent this year, bearing in mind that it reached a record level last year (6.6 percent). While, in December, its expectations pointed to a drop to 3.9% in 2023.
The central bank attributed the revised expectations to “strong price increases, mainly for some food products”, which are expected to gradually decrease in the second half of this year.
High inflation has fueled a new wave of high prices in recent months, hitting mainly those with limited incomes, and has put pressure on the Moroccan government due to social unrest expressed by unions and opposition parties, especially with the approach of Ramadan. Which usually indicates an increase in consumption.
The consumer price index for February registered a year-on-year increase of 10.1 percent, driven mainly by a year-on-year increase in the food index (20.1 percent), according to the High Planning Commission (Oficial). Tuesday.
Also this Tuesday, the Minister of Economy and Finance confirmed in statements to the press that food prices, which have recently increased, “will return to stability or fall within the range of affordability for all citizens”. The production rate is expected to increase in the coming days.”
On the other hand, the central bank expects economic growth to recover to 2.6 percent this year, after a sharp slowdown last year (1.2 percent). However, their expectations fall short of the ambitions of the government, which is betting on a 4% growth rate.
In general, economic growth continues to depend on the performance of the agricultural sector, which is also affected by climate fluctuations, despite the diversification of economic activities in the Kingdom in recent years.
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