Iraq Economic Forecast

Iraq Economic Outlook

May 10, 2022

The economy likely grew robustly in Q1, aided by an over 9% annual expansion in oil output as OPEC+ curbs were gradually loosened. Moreover, surging oil prices will have boosted government revenues. These same dynamics of higher oil production and prices should be aiding economic momentum moving into Q2. However, a new government has yet to be formed—roughly seven months after the elections—due to discord between cleric al-Sadr’s Shiite movement and his Iran-backed political rivals. This is likely limiting the country’s ability to translate higher oil revenues into greater government spending, and has also stalled a much-vaunted USD 27 billion energy agreement with TotalEnergies. Moreover, food price rises in the wake of the war in Ukraine will be weighing on purchasing power and have already led to protests in the south of the country in March.

Iraq Economic Growth

Growth should accelerate in 2022 thanks to the continued loosening of OPEC+ cuts, higher oil prices and greater financial support from China. That said, potential flare-ups of social unrest—particularly over rising food prices—the risk of extreme heatwaves, power shortages, the absence of a new government and elevated insecurity pose risks. Our panelists forecast growth of 7.8% in 2022, which is up 0.6 percentage points from last month’s estimate, and growth of 4.5% in 2023.

Iraq Economy Data

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Population (million)
GDP per capita (USD)4,6774,6065,1335,5715,636
GDP (USD bn)165167191212220
Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %)2.613.8-
Industrial Production (annual variation in %)22.28.0-  -  -  
Unemployment Rate10.710.813.012.912.8
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)-12.8-13.9-1.67.9-  
Public Debt (% of GDP)56.964.358.949.3-  
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)
Policy Interest Rate (%)
Exchange Rate (vs USD)1,0961,1821,1851,1931,194
Exchange Rate (vs USD, aop)1,1481,1711,1771,1921,193
Current Account (% of GDP)-
Current Account Balance (USD bn)-
Trade Balance (USD billion)
Exports (USD billion)51.341.357.686.481.6
Imports (USD billion)40.329.132.238.949.4
Exports (annual variation in %)-39.9-19.639.450.0-5.5
Imports (annual variation in %)-19.0-27.910.720.827.1
International Reserves (USD)50.942.045.660.8-  
External Debt (% of GDP)38.639.436.4-  -  

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Iraq Facts

Value Change Date
Exchange Rate1,1940.0 %Jan 01

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