The Finance Ministry’s new forecast for economic growth was announced on 21 October, the day after a cabinet meeting chaired by King Mohammed finalised the government’s spending plans for the coming year.

The draft budget says that growth in 2009 will be lower than this year’s rate, which is estimated to be 6.8 per cent.

The budget included a warning that textile exports to Europe would fall by 4 per cent during 2008 and by another 10 per cent during 2009, as consumer spending across the continent weakened.

The Moroccan parliament has to approve the draft budget before the country’s new financial year begins on 1 January.