Morocco said it expects its energy-importing economy to grow by between 4.7 and 5.2 per cent in 2012, near forecasts for 2011, on the assumption of an oil price 33 per cent above the basis for this year's budget. In remarks carried by the official MAP news agency, Finance and Economy Minister Salah Eddine Mezouar put at two per cent the inflation forecast for next year, up from 1.4 per cent forecast for 2011.
The 2012 outlook is based on an average oil price of $100 (Dh367) per barrel versus $75 for the 2011 budget. A country of 33 million people with no oil of its own, Morocco imported 5.24 million tonnes of crude in 2010, official data shows, and demand is growing by six per cent annually.
The non-agricultural economy is expected to grow by between 5 and 5.5 per cent in 2012, said Mezouar, noting that it clocked a 5.1 per cent increase in the first half of 2011.
The minister did not disclose forecasts for agriculture's growth or grains harvest, key in determining wheat import needs for a country that heavily subsidises food products and where 40 per cent of the workforce works in farming.
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The state expects the burden of food and energy subsidies to fall by almost eight per cent to 40 billion dirhams (Dh18.5 billion) in 2012, compared to this year, Mezouar said.
The government raised subsidies to 43 billion dirhams (Dh19.8 billion) from an initially budgeted 17 billion dirhams (Dh7.8 billion) for 2011 as it sought to avert any spillover from revolts rocking the Arab region.