Morocco’s burgeoning automobile sector is driving the industrialisation of an economy still heavily dependent on agriculture. The country’s auto sector will help push GDP growth up 4.5 to 5 per cent in 2015-2016, from 2.5 per cent in 2014, predicted Capital Economics in a note, making Morocco “North Africa’s best performing economy over the coming years”.
Falling output in agriculture was holding back overall growth. New data showed that Morocco’s economy grew by 2.3 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2014, a bit better than the 1.7 per cent recorded in the first quarter, “but it is still sluggish by past standards”, said Capital Economics.
The rush of emerging markets into euro-denominated debt continued on Friday, with Morocco issuing a €1bn 10-year bond with a 3.5 per cent coupon, priced to yield 215 basis points above midswaps, the benchmark euro bond rate.
Mohamed Boussaïd, Morocco’s finance and economy minister (pictured), told beyondbrics that while market conditions had been favourable, the deal was above all an endorsement of Morocco’s economic and political reforms and of its success in steadily reducing the government’s budget deficit.
Young Arabs are increasingly turning their backs on cushy public sector jobs in favour of working for private companies and starting their own businesses, a survey in 16 countries has found.
There has also been an erosion in optimism that the “Arab spring” uprisings in recent years against authoritarian governments across the region will translate into better lives for ordinary people, the survey found.
Africa is at the forefront of bringing financial services to the “unbanked” and new opportunities to seasoned investors. In Monday’s FT special report on Africa Banking and Finance, our correspondents examine the continent’s enormous potential and challenges, writes Justin Cash.
Africa editor Javier Blas looks at the growth of sharia-compliant investments across the continent, whilst Anousha Sakoui assesses bright new prospects for M&A activity.
Last week it was a Moroccan bank issuing international bonds, and now it’s the government that has global investors in its sights. The North African country plans to launch a €1bn ($1.36bn) eurobond over the next few weeks, sealing a crown as the the continent’s second-largest sovereign eurobond issuer. No prizes for guessing number one (South Africa).
With the prospect of Fed tapering looming increasingly large on the horizon, emerging market entities have been scrabbling to issue debt while the price is still right. On Thursday, Banque Marocaine du Commerce Extérieur (BMCE Bank) joined party when it launched a $300m five-year eurobond at a yield of 6.5 per cent – the largest international note ever to come from a Moroccan financial institution.
As beyondbrics reported on Tuesday, index provider MSCI has rejigged its emerging market classifications. The headline grabber is that Greece has been put into the emerging market group. Up from frontier to emerging status come the UAE and Qatar. Morocco was relegated back to the frontier group.
It’s embarrassing for Greece and an overdue vote for the UAE and Qatar. But how much of a difference will it make? Potentially, quite a lot, actually.
It’s been a long time coming. After putting Greece on review for a possible demotion to emerging markets status last year, MSCI went ahead and made it official on Tuesday.
In its annual review of country classification, MSCI removed Greece from its developed markets index and reclassified it as an emerging market. The Athens Stock Exchange has shed nearly 83 per cent of its value since 2008.
By Chiara Francavilla of This is Africa
Morocco is finalising a new securitisation law that will allow the state and companies to issue sukuk, the Islamic equivalent of bonds. Preparations for a corporate and a sovereign sukuk are already underway, according to Islamic finance experts.
Smiles all round on the faces of those officials of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development who successfully lobbied for their role to be broadened from their traditional stamping grounds in eastern Europe to Turkey, North Africa and beyond.
As any visitor to the organisation’s annual meeting in Istanbul on Friday would have seen, top officials from the likes of Poland, Ukraine and Russia were notable for their absence. But there to fill the gap were the prime ministers of Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan, not to mention the host, Turkey’s premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the ex-Communist bloc, the EBRD is now old hat. In and around the Mediterranean, it still makes news.
Asia’s footprint in Africa’s commodity-rich economies has been growing, with Singapore-listed companies among the biggest investors.
Wilmar, the world’s largest refiner of palm oil, first moved into Africa in 2007 with a couple of palm oil refining joint ventures in Uganda and Ivory Coast. Africa is short of refined palm oil and Wilmar spotted an opportunity to fill that gap. Maersk, the Danish shipping line, says a significant proportion of the goods carried in ships from Singapore to Africa is refined palm oil.
Now Wilmar is expanding its African business to sugar.
Inflation is on the rise in the Middle East and north Africa, bringing risks to consumption-driven growth and adding to political strains in the transitional countries least able to cope with them.
The Arab spring seems a world away on the train from Casablana to Rabat. In one compartment a conversation springs up between a local Moroccan, running a machine parts manufacturing business, and a Saudi from a construction company, visiting Rabat to seek migrant labour to help with the booming development in Saudi’s northwest. Cards are exchanged, then brochures; business is done, right here on the rumbling train.
The “Genghis bonds” issued by Mongolia last week might already be losing its sparkle as political turmoil rocks the country. But the specter of political risk hasn’t deterred investors from piling in on Morocco’s maiden dollar-denominated bond.
The North African country, which is under pressure to plug budget gap and contain the kind of protests that have brought down regimes in other parts of the Middle East, raised $1.5bn in a dual-tranche offering on Wednesday.
Escalating disputes between labour unions and employers in north Africa are threatening to derail economic recovery after the uprisings that ousted long-ruling dictators in the region, writes Farah Halime.
Emboldened by the spirit of political change, thousands of workers in Egypt and Tunisia have staged a series of protests and are now in deadlocked talks with companies over demands for a minimum wage.