Inflation, this big defect that is increasingly undermining the national economy

After the Al-Maghrib collapse last Tuesday, it was HCP’s turn to sound the alarm about the outlook for our economy. According to a note from this body responsible for the production, analysis and publication of official statistics in Morocco, price increases should continue in 2022 at a level above the average for the last decade.

“The spillovers and drought are expected to further increase inflationary uncertainty at the national level. Inflationary risks will remain uncertain in the short term. Rising import prices and the crisis in the Black Sea region, coupled with a dizzying rise in barrel prices to around $140 per barrel, will likely keep inflation relatively high throughout 2022,” he explained. .

According to the same note, inflation in terms of the consumer price index reached its highest level in February 2022, at 3.6% year-on-year. This increase is mainly due to an increase in the index of food products by 5.5% and non-food products by 2.5%.

For food, growth began in January 2021 with a growth rate of 1.8% for oils and fats and reached double digits from 13.7% in February 2022. Prices for bread and cereals have increased significantly since September 2021 from 5% and will reach 13.2% in February 2022. For non-food products, the most significant growth was recorded at the level of fuels and lubricants, with a consistent increase since April 2021. The price of diesel fuel at a gas station has exceeded the level of 11 dirhams per liter. . Growth in February was 22% year on year.

Core inflation, which excludes price volatile and regulated goods, has had an accelerated trend since April 2021. The average core consumer price index (ISJ) rose by 3.5% in February 2022 from 0.9% in April 2021. It changed by an average of 2% between April 2021 and December 2021 from 0 .2% for the same period in 2020

The acceleration in the consumer price index since the beginning of 2022 reached 3.3% in the first two months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021 and was mainly driven by a 4.9% increase in the food index. % and non-food products by 2.4%. As for food products, the most significant growth is in “oils and fats” with 14.2%, “bread and cereals” with 11.5%, “vegetables” with 4.5% and “meat” with 4.1% . On the other hand, prices for “fruit” and “fish” fell by 5.4% and 1%, respectively. As for non-food products, the growth mainly affected the prices of “fuel” by 20.1% and “tobacco” by 3.5%.

For Hisham Atush, professor of economics at the Mohammed V Rabat University, the results cited in the HCP note are “rough estimates” because they are based on polls conducted with a “so-called representative sample.” Some question the consumer price index (CPI) used to measure inflation. In their opinion, this measure is partial, since inflation extends not only to household consumption.

“A true study of inflation requires an extended household survey, or rather a general census, capable of determining what the majority of Moroccans are actually consuming,” Hisham Atush told us. And to continue: “This note is, in fact, only an update of the last consumption survey of 2017. This means that the 2022 basket is calculated from the products consumed by the population during 2017, when it is clear that the consumption habits of the population, the nature of services, the purchases of Moroccans have changed between 2017 and 2022.

Our interlocutor argues that inflation surveys are conducted without taking into account socio-professional categories, households and settlements. “Indeed, the consumption of a rich family is not the consumption of a poor or respectable family. The same goes for regions. High consumption products in northern Morocco are not high consumption products in southern Morocco,” he concluded.

Hassan Bentaleb

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