Morocco names new interim finance minister

German finance minister sees signs ECB will raise rates

A wealthy Moroccan businessman was named interim finance minister on Friday, as the ruling Islamist party pursues efforts to form a new coalition government after its main ally quit.AFP/File RABAT (AFP) A wealthy Moroccan businessman was named interim finance minister on Friday, as the ruling Islamist party pursues efforts to form a new coalition government after its main ally quit. Aziz Akhennouch, a technocrat in his 50s who headed the ministry of agriculture and fisheries in the two previous governments, was appointed to the key cabinet post, the official MAP news agency reported. He replaces Nizar Baraka, whose Istiqlal party withdrew from the ruling coalition in July after strongly criticising the Islamist Party of Justice and Development (PJD) for failing to shore up the economy and solve pressing social problems. Morocco’s government has been hamstrung since May when Istiqlal first announced its intention to withdraw from the PJD-led coalition, which won the largest share of votes in parliamentary elections two years ago.

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That cannot last forever – even if it is a relief to the federal budget,” he said. “The central bank has announced it will raise rates again when the economy improves. That is good.” ECB chief Mario Draghi actually said after the last meeting on rates on August 1 that rates will remain low for some time. The ECB has based this ‘forward guidance’ on the inflation outlook remaining subdued, and growth weak. “The Governing Council confirms that it expects the key ECB rates to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time,” Draghi said after the ECB’s August 1 meeting.

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