Morocco’s budget deficit grows to 21.8 bln dirhams in first half


State spending stood at 182.5 billion dirhams in January to June 2019, up 15.4% year-on-year. File Photo/REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

RABAT (Reuters) – Morocco’s budget deficit rose to 21.8 billion dirhams ($2.28 billion) in the first six months of 2019, up from 20.4 billion dirhams in the same period the previous year, the treasury said on Friday.

Gross tax revenue rose 4.5% to 110 billion dirhams in the first half of the year, up from 106 billion dirhams in the same period of 2018.

State spending stood at 182.5 billion dirhams in January to June 2019, up 15.4% year-on-year.

The budget deficit would stand at 4.5% in 2019 without counting privatisation revenue, up from 3.7% last year. The deficit is seen narrowing to 3.6% in 2019 counting privatisation revenue, according to the planning agency.

The agency expects treasury debt to rise slightly to 65.3% of gross domestic product in 2019 from 64.9% in 2018.

The economy is expected to grow 2.7% in 2019 after 3% in 2018.

Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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