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Morocco Resources

Summary

The Moroccan dirham (MAD) is fully convertible to foreign currencies quoted by the central bank, and may be used without restriction to pay for transactions abroad, including trade and the transfer of investment income and savings. There are few restrictions on foreign investment, although foreigners must declare their investment to the Moroccan Exchange Office (OC) within six months of the transfer.

Morocco’s money transfer regulations

Under new foreign exchange regulations adopted in November 2011, both Moroccans and foreigners are permitted to import foreign currencies to Morocco with a maximum equivalent value of Dh100,000, which must be declared to customs authorities. Regarding foreign investment financed in foreign currency, the transfer of dividends, attendance fees, rental income, profits and interests, as well as the real proceeds of disposal or liquidation, is guaranteed. For the acquisition of securities, real property and tourist residences, the transfer guarantee can be given only 3 years after the acquisition. There are few restrictions on the transferral of savings on profits, salaries, processes, and fees, and non-residents departing Morocco are allowed to repatriate MAD25,000 for every year spent in the country.

Businesses are free to buy currencies quoted by the central bank, Bank Al Maghrib (BAM), for paying current operations. The transfers of sums due as part of these operations are free, and without prior authorisation from the Exchange Office. Among these current operations for which Morocco guarantees convertibility are foreign trade operations, the transfer of foreign investment income, savings on revenues of foreign nationals residing in Morocco, and foreign technical assistance.

Morocco’s regulatory authority

Bank al Maghrib is in charge of setting and conducting monetary policy, maintaining price stability, preserving national foreign exchange reserves and to monitoring the health of the financial system. The OC is charged with publicising and overseeing the implementation of foreign exchange policy.

Opening a bank account in Morocco

OC regulations permit both Moroccans and non-resident foreigners to establish bank accounts denominated in foreign currency or foreign accounts in convertible dirham. Thanks to its economic links with Europe, several foreign bank branches operate in Morocco, simplifying the process of sending overseas transfers within banking networks.

Morocco’s economic background

Morocco’s economy is strongly linked to Europe due to its geographic proximity as well as its colonial history. Europe accounted for 62.3% of Morocco’s total trade volume in 2013, dominated by France and Spain. However, the country has suffered from its economic ties to the EU in the last five years as demand for Moroccan exports, foreign direct investment (FDI) and tourism flows were all affected by the eurozone crisis.

The exchange-rate regime is a tightly managed float against a euro-dominated basket of currencies. Despite opposition from exporters, who think the currency is overvalued, the central bank maintains that the current arrangement has helped anchor the economy and keep inflation low. A shift to a more flexible exchange-rate system is unlikely unless the central bank feels that currency volatility can be avoided during the transition. The basket peg restricts the authorities’ ability to adjust to external shocks such as stagnation in the eurozone, Morocco’s primary trading partner. The government is working to overhaul public finances in order to reduce rising fiscal and external deficits. A weaker dirham would make it more difficult for the cash-strapped government to fund its import spending, and the central bank has intervened to avoid significant depreciation of the dirham in 2013-14.

For the most part, however, Morocco has largely achieved economic and price stability under its exchange rate peg. Unlike its North African neighbours Algeria and Libya, Morocco has few energy resources and is working to establish itself as a regional hub for manufacturing and exports. As such, the government has adopted an open foreign exchange environment and actively works to encourage FDI and overseas transfers.

Currency

The dirham (MAD) is frequently abbreviated as Dh. One dirham is equivalent to 100 cents, or centimes. Bank Al-Maghrib issues banknotes in values of Dh20, Dh50, Dh100 and Dh200, and coins in values of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 centimes, and Dh1, Dh2, Dh5 and Dh10.

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