Morocco’s biggest export is fertilizer mixes just ahead of insulated wire or cable in second place then cars.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2020, the Moroccan dirham appreciated by 3.2% against the US dollar since 2016 and grew by 1.3% from 2019 to 2020. Morocco’s stronger local currency makes its exports paid for in weaker US dollars relatively more expensive for international buyers during 2020.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 75.6% of products exported from Morocco were bought by importers in: Spain (23.9% of the global total), France (21.9%), Italy (4.4%), India (4.3%), Brazil (4.1%), United States (3.5%), Germany (3.3%), Netherlands (3.1%), Turkey (2.2%), United Kingdom (2%), Belgium (1.4%) and Portugal (1.3%).
From a continental perspective, 68.6% of Morocco’s exports by value were delivered to European countries while 12.6% were sold to importers in Asia. Morocco shipped another 8.2% worth of goods to Africa. Smaller percentages went to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (5.5%), North America (4.9%) then Oceania led by Australia and New Zealand (0.3%).
Given Morocco’s population of 35.952 million people, its total $27.8 billion in 2020 exports translates to roughly $800 for every resident in the northwest African country.
Morocco’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Moroccan global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Morocco.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: US$4.7 billion (16.9% of total exports)
- Vehicles: $3.6 billion (13.1%)
- Fertilizers: $3.4 billion (12.2%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $1.9 billion (6.9%)
- Fruits, nuts: $1.5 billion (5.4%)
- Vegetables: $1.32 billion (4.7%)
- Fish: $1.26 billion (4.5%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $1.2 billion (4.4%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: $951.3 million (3.4%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $930.5 million (3.3%)
Morocco’s top 10 exports accounted for about three-quarters (74.9%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Fertilizers was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 16.1% from 2019 to 2020. The only two other product categories to improve export sales were fruits and nuts (up 10.5%) and fish (up 3.6%).
The leading decliner among Morocco’s top 10 export categories was unknitted and non-crocheted clothing or accessories thanks to a -20.6% annual drop.
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, in 2020 Morocco’s most valuable exported products were fertilizer mixes (11.2% of the global total) ; insulated wire or cable (11%); cars (10.8%); phosphoric and polyphosphoric acids (4.3%); unknitted and non-crocheted women’s clothing (3.1%); aircraft parts (3%); natural calcium or aluminum phosphates (2.8%); fish including caviar (2.8%) then fresh or chilled tomatoes (also 2.8%).
The following types of Moroccan product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Fertilizers: US$3.1 billion (Up by 17.8% since 2019)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $1.7 billion (Down by -22.5%)
- Vegetables: $1.15 billion (Down by -11%)
- Fruits, nuts: $1.1 billion (Up by 7.3%)
- Fish: $1.09 billion (Up by 9.7%)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $791.2 million (Up by 1.3%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $551.1 million (Down by -25.6%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $401.1 million (Down by -26.5%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $346.5 million (Up by 59.4%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $241.4 million (Up by 6.3%)
Morocco has highly positive net exports in the international trade of fertilizers. In turn, these cashflows indicate Morocco’s strong competitive advantages under the fertilizers product category.
Overall Morocco incurred a -$16.8 billion product trade deficit for 2020, falling -21.8% from -$21.5 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Morocco that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Morocco’s goods trail Moroccan importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$5.1 billion (Down by -31.5% since 2019)
- Machinery including computers: -$4.6 billion (Down by -12.1%)
- Cereals: -$2.3 billion (Up by 40.5%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$1.8 billion (Down by -8.9%)
- Iron, steel: -$1.2 billion (Down by -16.3%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$727.3 million (Down by -3.9%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$648 million (Up by 17.4%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$639 million (Up by 10.1%)
- Paper, paper items: -$628.2 million (Down by -3.4%)
- Other chemical goods: -$599.3 million (Up by 9.8%)
Morocco has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels including oil category notably for refined petroleum oils, petroleum gas, coal then petroleum coke including other residues from petroleum oil.
Moroccan Export Companies
Three Moroccan regional banks rank among Forbes Global 2000, namely:
- Attijariwafa Bank
- Banque Centrale Populaire
- BMCE Bank
Wikipedia lists some exports-related companies headquartered in Morocco. Selected examples are shown below.
- Akwa Group (oil, gas)
- Compagnie Marocaine de Navigation (shipping)
- Laraki (automobiles)
- Les Domaines Agricoles (agribusiness)
- Med Airlines (cargo airliner)
- Nareva (oil, gas)
- Office Chérifien des Phosphates (phosphate)
- Société Automobiles Ménara (automobiles)
- Somaca (automobiles)
- Sonasid (steel)
In macroeconomic terms, Morocco’s total exported goods represent 10.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($274 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 10.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2020 compares to 8.9% for 2019. This suggests a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Morocco’s total economic performance albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Morocco’s unemployment rate was 11.9% at January 2021, up from 9.1% one year earlier per Trading Economics.
Morocco’s capital city is Rabat.
See also South Sudan’s Top 10 Exports, Somalia’s Top 10 Exports and Top African Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, Africa: Morocco. Accessed on April 16, 2021
FlagPictures.org, Flag of Morocco. Accessed on April 16, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 16, 2021
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average)
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 16, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 16, 2021
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on April 16, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on April 16, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Morocco. Accessed on April 16, 2021
Wikipedia, Morocco. Accessed on April 16, 2021
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on April 16, 2021
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Rabat, Morocco. Accessed on April 16, 2021