Iraq Economic Forecast

Iraq Economic Outlook

May 12, 2020

The economy is in dire straits. Oil production was down sharply year-on-year in Q1 and, as part of April’s OPEC+ deal, Iraq has committed to reducing output substantially going forward. Moreover, oil prices are at historically low levels as Covid-19 hits demand. The combination of lower output and prices bodes poorly for the crucial energy sector and is crushing government revenues—roughly 90% of which come from oil. Compounding matters, domestic containment measures—although they have been eased in recent weeks—are hurting the non-oil sector and pose risks to social stability. In politics, following over five months of paralysis, intelligence chief Mustafa al-Kadhimi took office as prime minister in early May. While this reduces political uncertainty somewhat, institutional capacity is likely to remain weak and Parliament is still fractured, as evidenced by the initial rejection of several of Kadhimi’s ministerial picks.

Iraq Economic Growth

The economy is seen contracting sharply this year due to a weaker energy sector and containment measures. Risks are skewed to the downside, and stem from a possible resurgence of social unrest, Iran-U.S. tensions and a potential worsening of the viral outbreak. Our panelists forecast a contraction of 4.3% in 2020, which is down 5.5 percentage points from last month’s estimate, and growth of 4.0% in 2021.

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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