Capital markets in Morocco have gone through a series of reforms over the past decades. The banking sector in Morocco is highly diversified and extensive in its intermediation functions. Eight commercial banks (Attijariwafa Bank (AWB), Banque Populaire du Maroc (BPM), Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur (BMCE), Banque Marocaine du Commerce et de l’Industrie (BMCI), Societe Generale Maroc (SGM), Credit Agricole du Maroc (CAM), Credit Du Maroc (CDM) and Credit Immobilier et Hotelier (CIH) dominate the banking sector in Morocco.
These banks collectively account for more than three quarter of the capitalisation of the entire commercial banking sector in the country.
Apart from these large commercial banks, various other financial institutions that perform commercial banking roles are in existence and functional. There are five specialised financial institutions owned by the government and other 44 nonbank financial companies owned by shareholding interests. The impact of Barid-al- Maghreb, the state-owned postal parastatal, in enhancing financial deepening in the country is also of significance. The postal service operates in every location of the country to complement the financial activities of the commercial banks – in additional to its conventional postal services brief. This form of extensive diversification in the banking sector enhances financial deepening and relative inclusiveness that purportedly bolsters access to banking for the larger part of the market agents, essentially the deficit units.
On the economic front, GDP growth rebounded to 7.4% in 2021 after contracting by 6.3% in 2020. This rebound was driven by an exceptional cereal crop after two consecutive years of drought (agricultural value-added grew by 19%), supportive macro-economic policies, solid manufacturing exports, a surge in remittances, and progress on COVID-19 vaccination. However, the Moroccan economy is currently undergoing a double shock: a severe drought plus the impact of the war in Ukraine and its impact on commodity and energy prices. As a result, growth is projected to decelerate to 1.1% in 2022 and the current account deficit to widen to 5.5% of GDP as energy and food import bills rise. The budget deficit is expected to reach 6.2% of GDP, due to higher butane gas and flour subsidies and to the cost of health and social protection reforms.
Although inflation remained contained throughout most of 2021 (1.4% on average), imported cost-push price pressures emerged toward the end of the year and are intensifying in 2022. As a result, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) posted a 3.6% yearly increase in February 2022. Despite these inflationary pressures, monetary policy remains accommodative, and the central bank has kept the policy rate unchanged at 1.5% since June 2020, its historical low.