This Selected Issues paper analyzes the recent developments in the Moroccan economy and its policy challenges over the medium term. It assesses the sustainability of public debt in Morocco. The paper uses the analytical framework for assessing debt sustainability in emerging market countries endorsed by the IMF Executive Board and compares Morocco’s vulnerabilities with those of the average emerging market country. The paper also examines the effects on Morocco’s trade pattern of the ongoing integration with the European Union within the Barcelona process.
In this paper we estimate gravity models to see whether trade volumes of countries in the MENA region are significantly lower than what would be expected given their economic, cultural and geographical characteristics. Our empirical results show that the variables used in standard gravity models cannot explain a significant part of MENA's trade performance, particularly on exports. We then go on to 'augment' the standard gravity model with relevant variables from the World Bank's Business Enterprise surveys. Our results further show that these variables, and in particular transport constraints and inefficiencies in customs clearance processes, are important in explaining the MENA region's underperformance in trade.
Mr. Paul Cashin, Mr. Kamiar Mohaddes, and Mr. Mehdi Raissi
This paper analyzes spillovers from macroeconomic shocks in systemic economies (China, the Euro Area, and the United States) to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as well as outward spillovers from a GDP shock in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and MENA oil exporters to the rest of the world. This analysis is based on a Global Vector Autoregression (GVAR) model, estimated for 38 countries/regions over the period 1979Q2 to 2011Q2. Spillovers are transmitted across economies via trade, financial, and commodity price linkages. The results show that the MENA countries are more sensitive to developments in China than to shocks in the Euro Area or the United States, in line with the direction of evolving trade patterns and the emergence of China as a key driver of the global economy. Outward spillovers from the GCC region and MENA oil exporters are likely to be stronger in their immediate geographical proximity, but also have global implications.