RABAT - Morocco's trade deficit widened by 2.6% to 91.3 billion dirhams ($9.13 billion) in the first four months of this year despite a fall in some commodity prices, data from the foreign exchange regulator showed.

Imports rose by 3.2% from the prior-year figure to 237 billion dirhams, despite a fall in some commodity prices that lowered the energy bill by 1.7% to 43 billion dirhams, according to the data.

Exports meanwhile increased by 3.6% to 145.7 billion dirhams, the regulator said in its monthly report, led by the automotive sector where growing demand drove a 40% increase to 45 billion dirhams of exports.

Tourism revenue also doubled to 32 billion dirhams as the sector recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic and hard currency remittances from Moroccans working abroad rose 12.8% to 35.4 billion dirhams.

However, the value of phosphate exports slumped by 30% because of lower global prices and foreign direct investment fell by 4.1% to 9.7 billion dirhams. Morocco has the world's largest phosphate reserves.

(Reporting by Ahmed El Jechtimi, editing by Angus McDowall and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)