Economic activity would have recovered by 0.7% in the first quarter of 2021, after four quarters of successive declines, estimates the High Commission for Planning (HCP).
This development would be attributable to the 13.7% increase in agricultural value added, in a context of a 1% drop in non-agricultural value added, instead of -5.5% a quarter earlier, explains the HCP in its recent conjuncture note.
The tertiary branches would have continued their decline at a less pronounced pace compared to the previous quarter, contributing -0.7 point to the evolution of GDP, instead of -3.8 points a quarter earlier, continues the same source. Secondary activities, for their part, posted a decline limited to 0.3%, instead of 1.6% a quarter earlier, contributing -0.1 point. The manufacturing industry would have fallen by 0.8% in the first quarter of 2021, after -1.6% a quarter earlier.
This trend would have been driven by the good performance of the agrifood and chemical industries, while the textile and metallurgical, mechanical and electromechanical (IMME) industries would have continued to suffer from the slowdown in external demand. In the construction branch, added value appears to have maintained its moderate trend, suffering from the decline in “Specialized construction work” and “Civil engineering” activity.
The HCP also indicates that the mining value added would have, for its part, increased by 3.1% in the first quarter of 2021, in annual variation, instead of -0.4% a year earlier. The strength of demand from local processing industries, which led to a 5.6% increase in the extraction of non-metallic minerals in 2020, is said to have been maintained at the start of 2021, thanks to the strengthening of exports of phosphate derivatives. destined for Brazil, India and the countries of East Africa.
The production dynamic of non-metallic minerals would, however, have moderated compared to the end of 2020, suffering the repercussions of the decline in American demand for crude minerals. On the other hand, that of metal ores would have strengthened on the background of an increase in the exported quantities of copper, lead and zinc of 21%, 28% and 11%, respectively, at the end of the first two months of 2021.
In agriculture, the note highlights that value added would have been particularly dynamic in the first quarter of 2021, posting an increase of 13.7% year-on-year, after eight consecutive quarters of decreases. This recovery would have been, mainly, the fact of the vegetable sector, in particular the autumn and winter cultures, of which the work of establishment and seeding would have taken place at a sustained pace from December 2020.
With temperatures rising slightly in the first quarter of 2021 and a rainfall excess of 25.8% over normal, the outlook for crop growth is said to have improved, bringing the increase in crop production to 6.1% from normal. the five-year average. On the other hand, animal production would have struggled to regain its medium-term dynamic, in particular because of the continued decline in poultry activities.
In the first quarter of 2021, the production of day-old chicks would have fallen by 1.8%, year-on-year, while that of broiler meats would have fallen by 4.9%. The production of red meat, for its part, remained moderate, in a context of improved breeding conditions in the Bour zones, encouraging a larger reconstitution of the herd and a slowing down of their slaughter.
In addition, the HCP underlines that domestic demand would have recovered slightly in the first quarter of 2021. Household consumption, which had fallen by 4.3% in the fourth quarter of 2020, would have recovered by 0.8% in the first quarter of 2021, in the wake of a slight upturn in purchases of manufactured goods.
General government consumption is said to have increased by 1.8%, instead of -0.7% a quarter earlier, in line with the increase in administrative operating expenditure. Investment, on the other hand, fell by 1.9% compared to the previous year, instead of -9.8% a quarter earlier, suffering from the slowdown in equipment in manufactured products and real estate.