RABAT - Morocco's economic growth is expected to slow to 2.9% in 2022 from a forecast 5.8% this year, the planning agency said on Monday.

The forecasts signal a recovery in domestic and foreign demand but remain shrouded in uncertainty given developments in the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination efforts, the agency said in a report.

Morocco has Africa's largest vaccinated population, administering near 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines so far.

Last year, Morocco's GDP contracted 6.3% under the combined impact of the pandemic and drought.

The fiscal deficit was seen narrowing to 6% in 2022 from 6.3% this year due to a surge in government spending to help productive sectors and reduce disparities.

Spurring growth hinges on addressing unemployment, the informal economy and disparities, planning agency head Ahmed Lahlimi said.

The trade deficit is expected to widen to 16.8% in 2022 from 15.9% this year.

Given the bonds Morocco may issue and the steady flow of remittances from Moroccans abroad, which offset the drop in tourism, Morocco's foreign exchange reserves are expected to stand at 311 billion dirhams ($34.7 billion), enough to cover six months and 9 days of imports.

Money supply growth would slow to 4% in 2022 after 5.7% in 2021, the agency said.


(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi, Editing by William Maclean) ((ahmed.eljechtimi@thomsonreuters.com;))