Iraq Economic Outlook
GDP recorded growth of 7.0% in 2022, buoyed by a recovery in the energy sector. However, the economy appears to be losing steam so far in 2023. A shortage of dollars and rising price pressures are hurting the non-energy economy. In addition, the panorama for the oil sector has dimmed. Oil production rose 3.0% year on year in Q1, far below the 2022 average variation. Moreover, a further deceleration in the oil sector is expected in Q2: OPEC+ announced further cuts from May, and 450,000 barrels per day of oil flows via a northern pipeline to Turkey have been halted since late-March by an international court ruling. More positively, the expansionary 2023–2025 budget presented in March should support demand if approved. Moreover, TotalEnergies recently reached a deal with the government to invest USD 10 billion in the country; the decision could spur similar commitments by other energy firms.
Inflation fell to 5.3% in March from 6.9% in February. Inflation should average lower in 2023 than in 2022 on easing external price pressures and the re-pegging of the dinar at a stronger rate. Key upside risks are depreciation of the black-market FX rate and fiscal stimulus following eventual approval of the budget.