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| 19 June, 2017

Morocco trade deficit widens 13.1 pct in first five months - agency

City panorama. Casablanca, Morocco.

City panorama. Casablanca, Morocco.

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Morocco's trade deficit widened 13.1 percent to 78.45 billion dirham ($8.03 billion) in the first five months of 2017.

RABAT, June 19 (Reuters) - Morocco's trade deficit widened 13.1 percent to 78.45 billion dirham ($8.03 billion) in the first five months of 2017 compared with a year earlier, driven by increased imports, the foreign exchange regulator said on Monday.

The trade gap was up from 69.45 billion dirhams during the same period last year, as energy imports rose 42.7 percent to 28.25 billion dirhams, and spending on equipment imports rose 8.1 percent to 50.61 billion dirhams.

Total exports rose 5.3 percent from a year earlier to 103.31 billion dirhams, pushed by a 7.9 percent rise in phosphate exports totaling 17.41 billion dirhams.

Tourism receipts fell by 5.8 percent. Remittances from the 4.5 million Moroccans who live abroad slightly rose 0.2 percent to 24.33 billion dirhams, while foreign direct investment rose 24 percent to 12.90 billion dirhams. ($1 = 9.7663 Moroccan dirham)

(Reporting by Samia Errazzouki; editing by Patrick Markey) ((pat.markey@thomsonreuters.com; +213-661-692993; Reuters Messaging: pat.markey.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))