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The Moroccan Economy in Brief: Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Tax Havens: Morocco leaves the EU's grey list:
The Foreign Affairs Council of the EU, gathering the 27 European Ministers of Foreign Affairs, adopted its conclusions on uncooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, the formal act of the EU which confirms the positive opinion of the EU Council Code of Conduct Group (GCC) and removed Morocco from Annex II (the list of jurisdictions awaiting an EU assessment of its tax commitments). The conclusions of the EU Council, approved this morning, are the final and definitive step in the procedure that follows the green light from the ambassadors of the EU Member States and confirms that the Kingdom is definitively removed from the EU's grey list and thus becomes "Green Listed."

Signing of 52 investment agreements in Morocco for MAD 4.2 million:
A total of 52 investment agreements for a total amount of MAD 4.2 billion were signed on Monday in Rabat, during a ceremony chaired by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Green and Digital Economy, Moulay Hafid Elalamy. Of the 52 agreements, 14 concern the textile sector and relate to the implementation of projects aimed, inter alia, the manufacture of mattresses and sleep accessories, non-woven laminated fabric, water-jet weaving and the manufacture of articles based on coarse and fine mesh.

The need for liquidity diminishes in January:
The need for bank liquidity continued to ease during January 2021. It stood, on average, at MAD 66 billion, after MAD 83.4 billion last December, continuing the decline that began in September 2020. This is what emerges from the note of the Directorate of Studies and Financial Forecasts (DEPF) for the month of January. This decline is particularly related to the improvement in foreign exchange reserves of Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM). Thus, the central bank reduced the volume of its liquidity injection operations, which averaged MAD 78.9 billion after MAD 97.3 billion the previous month.

Cement sales: Decrease in January:
The construction sector starts the year on a downward trend. Cement sales, a key indicator for the sector, fell by 12.3% at the end of January 2021, after +0.4% a year earlier, under the impact of the heavy rainfall that affected most regions of the Kingdom during that month and the extension of the state of health emergency, according to the Directorate of Financial Studies and Forecasting (DEPF) in its note for January 2021.

Slight increase in consumer prices in January:
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 0.1% in January 2021 compared to the previous month, according to the High Commission for Planning (HCP). This change is the result of the stagnation of the food index and the increase of 0.2% in the index of non-food products, explains the HCP in a briefing note on the CPI for January 2021. The increases in food products observed between December 2020 and January 2021 mainly concern "Fish and seafood" with 2.1%, "Oils and fats" with 1.5% and "Mineral water, soft drinks, fruit and vegetable juices" with 0.3%, notes the HCP, adding that on the other hand prices decreased by 1.0% for "Vegetables" and 0.6% for "Fruit" and "Meat." For non-food products, the increase mainly concerned the prices of "Tobacco" with 2.3% and "Fuels" with 2.5%.