Growth : The worst is behind us ?

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				Croissance : Le pire est-il derrière nous ?
			The first Board of the central Bank of the year 2017 was concluded on a note rather optimistic : the growth, including its component non-farm, leaves again, while the bank credit confirms that he found the colours, to the great relief of Abdellatif Jouahri.


The first Board of Bank Al-Maghrib for the year 2017, and without surprise, the key rate remains unchanged at 2.25%, taking account of the macroeconomic outlook in the medium-term and expected developments of inflation. It is expected to remain subdued at 1.1% in 2017, and tends toward a rate of 1.7% in 2018, with a price per barrel should stabilize around $ 55 in the coming months, even if the situation remains unclear, as pointed out by Abdellatif Jouahri, wali of Bank Al-Maghrib.

2017 should be the year of the return to growth after a year 2016 “calamitous” where the GDP growth has in the end increased by only 1.1%. “This was our initial forecast,” recalls mischievously the wali, as a nod to those who had fallen over to arm shortcuts, blaming him for produce forecasts voluntarily pessimistic to embarrass the previous government. Finally, the time, and especially the numbers, he will have given reason. And for good reason, with its 35 million quintals in the previous year experienced one of the worst agricultural campaigns of the past 30 years.

For 2017, the central Bank expects to see a return of the agricultural campaign to its normal levels, around 78 million quintals. What boost GDP growth, which should be, according to the Institute of issue, of 4.3%.

But beyond the good rainfall, which is pleasing to the A. Jouahri, it is shuddering to the increase in non-agricultural activities (industries and services), moribund in recent years. “The non-farm begins to grow in an interesting way,” notes the wali. BAM expects in 2017, a growth of non-agricultural GDP of 3.5% in 2017, after increasing only 2.5% last year. Better ! For 2018, the growth of non-agricultural GDP could even reach 4%, benefiting from an improvement in foreign demand addressed to Morocco.

These prospects are rather optimistic-they convinced two rating agencies, that the governor of the BAM has just been awarded recently, to confirm the note of Morocco ? “The first discussions that we had were promising, positive,” says the wali.

Credits : “The results are in”

The improvement in the rate of granting of the credit of bank is another cause of satisfaction of A. Jouahri. “In 2016,” he recalls, ” we had prepared a memorandum (with the GPBM and the CGEM) to issue a warning about the decline of bank credit, and to find solutions for the booster, in particular for businesses through a series of measures (communication of internal ratings of their customers, the reasons of refusal of credit, etc) today, the results are there.”

The growth of credits to non-financial corporations declined to 0.3% in 2015 to 3.9% in 2016. For 2017, the central Bank is forecasting growth of 4.5% and 5% in 2018. “These are numbers more reassuring”, he comments. A meeting with representatives of the banking sector will take place in may, to focus on the deployment of the measures taken in the framework of the memorandum.

If “things are relatively better” at the level of bank credit, it is also because BAM “has worked very hard on the transmission of monetary policy”. The wali wants to show that since the third quarter of 2014, the date on which the central Bank was the first of his three cuts in the key rate by 25 pbs (75 bps), the lending rates means applied by the banks to their customers have them dropped to 86 pbs, with a decline particularly important to the lending rates of credit to the equipment (-158 pbs). It must be said that competition between banks is fierce, sometimes even “anarchic” (See box).

“We hope that the bad bank credit is behind us, and that we engage in a slope that is virtuous in credit growth,” said Jouahri. ■

Jouahri whistles for the end of the war of the rates

Asked about the fierce competition between the banks on the credit rate, Jouahri believes that certain practices can be harmful to the banking sector. “I sent a letter to the GPBM, reminding them of the interest rate risk that may arise. Some banks apply a rate of 4.3% fixed over a period of 25 years. The GPBM (Groupement professionnel des banques du Maroc) himself has asked me to call them to order”, he says, to put an end to a “competition ” anarchy”. These practices, according to the wali, constitute a risk rate, and harm the soundness and profitability of the bank itself. The injunction will she be heard ?


Amine Elkadiri

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