Geert Bekaert and Campbell R. Harvey's
Chronology of Economic, Political and Financial Events in Emerging Markets
Morocco
Major Political and Economic Events
Date
850429
Capital accounts with a balance on Jan.1, 1985 of not more than DH 30,000 were made fully transferrable.a3
861218
Capital Accounts and Suspense Accounts with a balance not exceeding DH100,000 on June 30,1986 may be transferred in their entirety. Resident foreigners on final departure may transfer DH25,000 for each year of stay in Morocco, without upper limit.a3
880301
Eight categories of foreign investment became permissible without the prior authorization of the Exchange Office. The banks were authorized to transfer to nonresident foreign persons, without limits as to amount or timing, the income generated by their investments in Morocco.a3
880314
Operations involving the conveyance of real property in Morocco and belonging to foreign persons are no longer subject to authorization by the Exchange office.a3
880613
Moroccans living abroad were accorded investment rights in Morocco similar to those granted to foreigners, provided that the investments were made in foreign exchange or by debting convertible dirham accounts. Foreigners were permitted to subscribe to two Treasury bond issues of June 1988; the repatriation of capital and income from the investment was granted. Moroccans living abroad were granted the same rights, with their purchases to be effected either in foreign currency or by debting convertible dirham accounts.
891205
A general limit of 49% on the allowable share of foreign participation in local enterprises was lifted. But limits would continue to apply in a few sectors.a3
920915
FDIs were fully liberalized, and repatriation of proceeds from liquidation or sale of investments, including profits, would be permitted without restriction.a3
9300
The introduction of the Insider Trading Laws.a4
931214
Operations involving Moroccan marketable securities were liberalized.a3
960401
ADR effective date. (Company=BANQUE MAROCAINE DE COMMERCE EXT 144A, Exchange=PORTAL)a11
960603
Banks' open position was limited to 20% of net equity (7% for the position in any single currency).a3
9609
IFC began calculating a daily index for Morocco on September 30, 1996
9611
The announcement of the creation of $100 million investment fund for tourism aimed at upgrading tourism projects and building new ones.
9612
Capital Intelligence rating agency upgraded Banque Commericale du Moroc's long-term rating to BBB+ from BBB. Fund raised on the equity market amounted to DH2,204m in 1996. Stripping out privatizations, DH 158 was raised in 1996bb.
9701
The government announced it has a draft law before parliament that would privatize the telecommunication sector. Loan interest rates of Morocco's leading bank, BMCE, were cut by 0.25%, effective February 1. The government also plans to cut interest rates on Treasury bonds listed on the stock exchange in March.
970124
(Controls on derivatives and other instruments) Authorized intermediaries were authorized to engage in foreign exchange buying and selling operations with foreign banks using foreign currency cash.a3
9710
The government announced that it will sell a 34.6% stake in Banque Nationale pour le Development Economique to a group of investors led by the Korean Daewoo group.
9711
Rising tensions in the Gulf. A new Parliamentary resulted showed three groups taking nearly equal numbers of seats.
9712
Government officials released plans for initial moves to liberalize the insurance industry and intended to liberalize telecommunication sector in 1998 to comply with WTO standards. Morocco and Spain signed an agreement to convert $38 million in debt into local investment and to provide reciprocal investment protection. The government agreed to set up industrial zones in Casablanca and Tangier.
9712
Fund raised on the equity market amounted to DH1,025m in 1997. Stripping out privatizations, DH 895 was raised in 1997bb.
9802
Abderrahmanne El Youssoufi was appointed prime minister. The government repaid $200 million in Paris Club debt.
9805
The government pledged to reform the insurance sector. The CSE promised to speed the introduction of new stock onto its electronic trading system.
            9808 The parliament adopted the 1998/99 budget that includes plans to cut the deficit by over 1% and increase education levels.
            9810 The Moroccan over-the-counter market is to be replaced in November by the block market with a threshold set for transactions in each listed stock.
            9811 The list of companies to be privatized has been reduced from 60 to 24 sparking investor fears of a slowdown in the economy.
            9812 The Casablanca Stock Exchange cut commissions on December 14 by almost half . Commissions were reduced from 0.24% to 0.14%, while IPO commissions were reduced to 0.05% from 0.1%.
            9901 S&P rated six Moroccan banks in late January.  Banque Commerciale du Maroc (BCM) and Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur (BMCE) received BB public information rating, while B was assigned to Wafabank. 
         990101 (Provisions specific to commercial banks and other credit institutions) The open foreign exchange position limit for each currency was increased from 7% to 10% of net capital reserves.a3
            9902 The Moroccan government announced major amendments to the privatization law to protect privatized companies from market speculation and to allow employee participation in privatization.
            9903 On March 31st the Moroccan parliament approved the so-called 39-89 law, an amended privatization law aimed to accelerate the sale process. The new law reduced the list of candidates for privatization from 58 to 28. 
9906
Moroccan parliament approved a 1999/2000 budget that included a capital gains tax that took effect on June 30. Retail investors were taxed at 10% rate, while mixed funds (bond and equity) were taxed at 15%, and bond funds 20%.
990723
King Hassan suddenly passed away. His oldest son and successor, King Mohammed VI, promised to follow his father's agenda and continue with reforms.
9908
King Mohammad VI announced objectives of a reduction in unemployment through training and job creation, political reconciliation, improvement in human rights, and better relations with neighboring Algeria.
9910
The government sold a 51% stake in fertilizer manufacturer Fertima for $23.7 million. The government also planned to sell up to 40% stake in national airline Royal Air Maroc, while parliament discussed procedures to privatize the largest state-owned bank, Banque Centrale Populaire.
9912
After disastrous drought in the first half of the year, rains slowed construction work and reduced demand for cement products in the second half. The government shortlisted Maroc Telecom, Roal Air Maroc, and Banque Centrale Populaire for privatization in 2000.
2000
In the first quarter, Morocco concluded an agreement with the European Union, establishing a free trade zone for industrial goods over 12-year transition period. But liberalization of the services sector was viewed anxiously by local industries who feared competition with foreign companies. The government announced it would sell by a tender up to a 35% stake of Maroc Telecom later in the year.ff
200004
A series of droughts hit the economy in the second quarter. The dirham, pegged to a basket of currencies based on Morocco's foreign trade, depreciated by 3% against dollar due to rising trade deficit and slower economic growth.
200007
Morocco's foreign currency ratings were affirmed and its credit outlook was rated stable by S&P.
200008
Oil was discovered in the country's eastern region. The oil discovery, equal to more than 30 years of domestic consumption, was expected to reduce the external debt burden of over US $18 billion.
200010
The tender of 35% stake in Maroc Telecom was revived. The government completed a draft budget, projecting growth at 8% and inflation at 2.5%, with a deficit target at 3% of GDP.
200000
U.N Secretary General Kofi Annan warned of stronger United Nations action regarding Western Sahara unless Morocco presented a clear plan to extend greater autonomy.
200102
Unimer, a processed food exporter, made an initial public offering successfully. Morocco was announced to be included in the MSCI Emerging Markets (Free) Index Series.
200104
The government increased the weighting of euros in the basket of currencies of the country's trading partners, resulting an effective 5% devaluation.
200108
The government implemented measures to boost stock market activity. A 50% tax break on capital gains was announced for the insurance sector, while individual investors were exempted from the 10% profit tax. The tax breaks were intended to last for four years.
200111
The Casablanca Exchange General Index had drifted down to five-year lows and volumes sank to three-year lows. The Casablanca bourse announced creation of a series of improved indices.
200100
A diplomatic spat with Spain over the issues of illegal immigration and the Western Sahara boiled over, resulting in severed diplomatic ties.
011203 French President Jacques Chirac ended a tour of north Africa yesterday aimed at bolstering regional support for the US-led war on terrorism. The final leg of the tour was in Morocco where Chirac held talks with King Mohammed VI. The tour also took in Algeria, in the first formal visit by a French head of state to the country in 12 years, and Tunisia.
020110 King Mohammed VI has announced a series of new measures intended to spur international and domestic investment, with the focus on regional investment centres. The changes follow a year of reforms in 2001, although domestic concerns persist that much more needs to be done and that the speed of change is still too slow
020416 The World Bank yesterday finalised two loan agreements totalling US$97.6m to be used to finance infrastructure modernisation and expansion projects in Morocco. The first loan is earmarked for the Irrigation Based Community Database (IBCD) programme, intended for investment in small and medium sized irrigation projects, and including rural roads, water supply and sanitation, health and education facilities. The second loan is a support finance for the liberalisation and privatisation of the telecoms, IT and postal sectors. Considerable investment is needed to make utilities and services available to businesses in Morocco match those of Western European markets, as well as those in other competing emerging markets
020527 Local banks are now authorised to operate on international capital markets for the first time following the lifting of restrictions on investment activities abroad yesterday by the Central Bank. Domestic markets are now free to engage on the international fixed income and money market. The move, effective from 22 May, is part of a government programme to liberalise forex trading gradually
020719 Talks are due today between European Union (EU) and Moroccan officials over the disputed island of Perejil (known locally as Leila), in an effort to defuse tensions between Morocco and Spain over the tiny island. Foreign Minister Mohammed Beniassa today said that Morocco would not send troops back to the island as long as Spain also withdrew its forces, considered a goodwill gesture at the start of the EU talks. Benaissa's Spanish counterpart, Ana Palacio, said yesterday that Spain would be willing to pull its troops out on condition Morocco gives firm guarantees that it will not move its troops back in. Talks today in Brussels (Belgium) are seeking a compromise agreement on the dispute to prevent any further deterioration in already tense relations between Spain and Morocco. However, the EU has this week come out openly on the side of Spain in the dispute, which began at the end of last week when a group of less than a dozen Moroccan forces landed on the islet and erected a Moroccan flag
020916 Campaigning began on Saturday (14 September) for the 27 September Moroccan general election. Some 26 political parties are contesting the election for 325 parliamentary seats in an election that is a crucial test of both the country's democratic progress and popularity of the ruling leftist Socialist Union of Popular Forces party (USFP). The election will take place over a round of voting, with seats allocated according to proportional representation. The election will be the first to take place under the reign of King Mohammed VI, who came to the throne following the death of his father, King Hassan II, in July 1999. The last election in 1997 attracted widespread opposition allegations of voting irregularities, and the largest Islamic political grouping has said it will boycott the upcoming poll to avoid an 'Algeria scenario'
021010 Driss Jettou, the former Moroccan interior minister, was appointed as the country's new prime minister by King Mohammed VI yesterday following last month's legislative elections. Jettou, a technocrat with no political party affiliations, will now seek to build a parliamentary majority and appoint a new cabinet. Jettou succeeds Abderrahmane Youssoufi, the head of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP). The USFP again won the largest number of seats in the 27 September poll, taking 50 of the 325 parliamentary seats. Istiqlal, a Moroccan nationalist movement, won 48 seats and the two parties look set to play an important part in the new government. The only Islamic party to contest the elections, the Party for Justice and Development (PJD), came in third, increasing its number of seats to 42 from 14 in the last parliament. The PJD has already stated that it will not participate in a coalition government and it looks likely that the party will become the main opposition force.
021017 The trade deficit extended its decline in August, falling by -16.3% from a year earlier to US$2.37bn. However, the rate of contraction appears to be slowing after peaking in July. The cover ratio of exports to imports weighed in at 69.2% in August compared to 70.6% in July and 70.9% in June. Exports posted a +8.3% year-on-year rise to US$5.35bn while imports inched down slightly to US$7.73bn.
030115 The government expects the economy to expand by 5.5% in 2003 against previous forecasts of 4.5% growth, according to Finance Minister Fathallah Oualalou. The upward revision has been prompted by a rise in early agricultural output spurred by good rainfalls. The government estimates that growth stood at 4.4% in 2002, falling from 6.5% in 2001 as drought hit key agrarian sectors
030502 Leading investment bank JPMorgan stated yesterday (1 May) that it had increased its allocation of Moroccan debt within its emerging market debt portfolio. Moroccan debt has been revised within JPMorgan from underweight to neutral. the Bank is expecting good returns on a large cereal crop, helped by favourable April rains. Cereal production in 2003 looks set to be up around 20% on 2002. The rise in cereal production goes some way to making up for a fall in tourist numbers into 2003, a product of international uncertainty regarding North Africa and the Middle East on the back of the conflict in Iraq
030519 The government has arrested at least 30 people in connection with the series of suicide bomb attacks in Casablanca on 16 May, in which at least 41 people were killed. In the aftermath of these attacks, which the government has linked to an 'international terrorist cell', WMRC has downgraded Morocco's Security Risk Rating from 2.25 to 2.75
030526 Massive anti-terrorism demonstrations have been held in Casablanca to express anger over the series of suicide bomb attacks in the city on 16 May 2003 and amid frustration that the attacks will now stymie reform in the country. Political parties and associations participated in the marches, led by Prime Minister Driss Jettou and other government officials. The marches are an expression of outrage and shock over the Casablanca bombings, in which the majority of the 41 killed were Moroccan nationals, and come just days after new anti-terrorism legislation was approved by the lower house of parliament, which seeks to extend the powers of the police and security to crack down on radical organisations suspected of having links to terrorist groups.
030916 The US State Department has urged US nationals in Morocco to step up security precautions amid concerns of a new terrorist attack in the country. The travel warning follows a series of foiled attacks, according to an AFP report, and also follows the arrest of a large number of suspected Islamist group members since the Casablanca bombings in May 2003 - there is concern there will be a backlash to these detentions. The trials of those accused of involvement in the bombings are underway, whilst a number of other people have been convicted on charges of membership of extremist groups. At the end of August, Moroccan security forces were placed on high alert following the trial and sentencing to death of four people in connection with the Casablanca bombings. The convicted men are believed to be members of the small, radical Islamist group Salafiya Jihadiya, which has been accused of masterminding the Casablanca attacks
031127 The government is reported to have approved legislation allowing the Central Bank greater independence in setting monetary policy and regulating the banking sector. The bill will now go to parliament and should be approved within three months. According to a Finance Ministry official interviewed by the Associated Press, the legal change will see the Central Bank's role gain autonomy, having traditionally consulted with the Finance Ministry over policy and regulation. If adopted, the legislation will make the bank 'the authority in change of ensuring prices stability', said the official
031217 The annual meeting of the so-called 'Group of 77 (G-77)' - which brings together some 134 developing countries plus China - opened in Marrakech yesterday (16 December). The meeting is expected to focus on identifying ways and means of strengthening and expanding co-operation among developing countries. Issues that are expected to dominate the conference agenda include: trade, food security, information technology, health, education, investment and renewable energy.
040206 The US and Morocco appear to have reached an agreement on the outstanding issues that hindered the conclusion of a trade pact last month.  According to Moroccan officials, a compromise has finally been reached on the textile and farming sectors. Moroccans have voiced protest over the possible impact of the US in the Moroccan market. Agriculture accounts for slightly less than 20% of GDP and thus plays a significant role in the Moroccan economy
040303 US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and Taib Fassi-Fihri, a Moroccan representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, announced the successful completion of a US-Morocco free trade agreement (FTA) yesterday. The FTA was expected to be drawn up in 2003, but negotiations faced a significant delay due to differences over issues related to the agricultural sector and the textile industry. Earlier this year, Moroccan government officials involved in negotiating the pact vowed to protect the agricultural sector amid US claims that the FTA was set to boost US wheat exports. Whilst US officials maintained an optimistic stance, the Moroccans, most notably Prime Minister Driss Jettou, consistently referred to the possibility of serious delays in a bid to appease domestic currents opposed to the plans.
040413 The main Islamist grouping, the Justice and Development party (PJD), elected Saad Eddine Othmani as its new secretary-general yesterday. Othmani replaces Abdelkrim Khatib, the party's founder, in a move that signals continuity of the party's moderate approach. Stressing the party's loyalty to the monarchy and the importance of consensual politics, Othmani and his party continue to distance themselves from Islamic extremism in the country: earlier this month, a number of Moroccans were detained in relation to the 11 March Madrid (Spain) terrorist attacks
040420 A Morocco-Turkey Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed earlier this month has been hailed by the European Union (EU) as an important step in terms of greater Mediterranean economic integration. Following the conclusion of the FTA, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Moroccan counterpart Driss Jettou noted the need for improved bilateral trade relations and co-ordination with regards to regional security challenges. Trade volumes between the two countries have traditionally been limited and areas identified as mutual investment targets include the construction and tourism sectors.
040514 In a statement to the press on Tuesday (11 May), Justice Minister Mohamed Bouzoubaa noted that the security forces have detained more than 2,000 people since the May 2003 Casablanca bombings. The attacks left 45 people dead, including 12 suicide bombers. The minister's concerns about Islamic militants echo those of King Mohammed, who has repeatedly emphasised the need to keep Islamic extremism and terrorist elements at bay.
040528 Morocco has seen growth in the tourism sector, with April 2004 figures 21% higher than the same month last year. The rise in visitors arriving from France has been particularly marked at 26%, according to Mena Report. A total of 1.27m tourists visited Morocco last month
040611 The Moroccan cabinet has been reduced from 37 to 34 ministers, excluding Prime Minister Driss Jettou, following an order by King Mohammed VI on Tuesday (8 June). Although the country's key ministerial posts remain untouched, the reshuffle saw the departure of the Human Rights Minister. The revised line-up included four newcomers, as well as Abderrahim Harouchi, the former Health Minister, now Minister of Social Development, Family and Solidarity. Mohammed Boussaid has been appointed Minister of Modernisation of the Public Sector, while Salaheddine Mezouar has assumed office as Minister of Trade and levelling Minister of Industry and of the Economy. Meanwhile, the Spanish government has announced that it is set to revise its cooperation arrangements with Morocco. The two countries agreed to enhance cooperation earlier this year, focusing on the areas of security, development and immigration issues
040618 The authorities reported yesterday that Q1 2004 unemployment stood at 12.5%. The figure was a slight increase from the 11.9% figure recorded for Q1 2003. The authorities attributed the rise to greater female participation within the labour force; unemployment amongst women rose from 28.4% at end-Q1 2003 to 33.2% a year later. Over the 12 months to March 2004, the total labour force in the country increased by 4.4%; some 362,000 new jobs were created over the period.
 
Year
Regulations on Foreign Investors
1998

Restrictions: None

Taxation: 10% dividend withholding tax. No capital-gains tax.a6

1999

No change.a7

Last updated on 7/22/04 by Jerome Mo, Duke University

1998

Restrictions: None

Taxation: 10% dividend withholding tax. No capital-gains tax.a6

1999

No change.a7

Last updated on 7/22/04 by Jerome Mo, Duke University