Iraq Economy

Is Iraq a rich country?

Iraq's GDP growth slowed to 1.1% in 2017, a marked decline compared to the previous two years as domestic consumption and investment fell because of civil violence and a sluggish oil market. The Iraqi Government received its third tranche of funding from its 2016 Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the IMF in August 2017, which is intended to stabilize its finances by encouraging improved fiscal management, needed economic reform, and expenditure reduction. Additionally, in late 2017 Iraq received more than $1.4 billion in financing from international lenders, part of which was generated by issuing a $1 billion bond for reconstruction and rehabilitation in areas liberated from ISIL. Investment and key sector diversification are crucial components to Iraq’s long-term economic development and require a strengthened business climate with enhanced legal and regulatory oversight to bolster private-sector engagement. The overall standard of living depends on global oil prices, the central government passage of major policy reforms, a stable security environment post-ISIS, and the resolution of civil discord with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

Iraq's largely state-run economy is dominated by the oil sector, which provides roughly 85% of government revenue and 80% of foreign exchange earnings, and is a major determinant of the economy's fortunes. Iraq's contracts with major oil companies have the potential to further expand oil exports and revenues, but Iraq will need to make significant upgrades to its oil processing, pipeline, and export infrastructure to enable these deals to reach their economic potential.

In 2017, Iraqi oil exports from northern fields were disrupted following a KRG referendum that resulted in the Iraqi Government reasserting federal control over disputed oil fields and energy infrastructure in Kirkuk. The Iraqi government and the KRG dispute the role of federal and regional authorities in the development and export of natural resources. In 2007, the KRG passed an oil law to develop IKR oil and gas reserves independent of the federal government. The KRG has signed about 50 contracts with foreign energy companies to develop its reserves, some of which lie in territories taken by Baghdad in October 2017. The KRG is able to unilaterally export oil from the fields it retains control of through its own pipeline to Turkey, which Baghdad claims is illegal. In the absence of a national hydrocarbons law, the two sides have entered into five provisional oil- and revenue-sharing deals since 2009, all of which collapsed.

Iraq is making slow progress enacting laws and developing the institutions needed to implement economic policy, and political reforms are still needed to assuage investors' concerns regarding the uncertain business climate. The Government of Iraq is eager to attract additional foreign direct investment, but it faces a number of obstacles, including a tenuous political system and concerns about security and societal stability. Rampant corruption, outdated infrastructure, insufficient essential services, skilled labor shortages, and antiquated commercial laws stifle investment and continue to constrain growth of private, nonoil sectors. Under the Iraqi constitution, some competencies relevant to the overall investment climate are either shared by the federal government and the regions or are devolved entirely to local governments. Investment in the IKR operates within the framework of the Kurdistan Region Investment Law (Law 4 of 2006) and the Kurdistan Board of Investment, which is designed to provide incentives to help economic development in areas under the authority of the KRG.

Inflation has remained under control since 2006. However, Iraqi leaders remain hard-pressed to translate macroeconomic gains into an improved standard of living for the Iraqi populace. Unemployment remains a problem throughout the country despite a bloated public sector. Overregulation has made it difficult for Iraqi citizens and foreign investors to start new businesses. Corruption and lack of economic reforms - such as restructuring banks and developing the private sector – have inhibited the growth of the private sector.

Iraq Economy Data

What is the GDP of Iraq?

GDP - Gross Domestic Product (PPP) $526,100,000,000 (USD)
GDP - official exchange rate $165,100,000,000 (USD)
GDP Per Capita $15,500.00 (USD)
GDP by Sector- agriculture 5.2%
GDP by Sector- Industry 49.7%
GDP by Sector- services 45.1%
GDP - composition, by end use household consumption: 55.5%

government consumption: 21.5%

investment in fixed capital: 16.5%

investment in inventories: 2%

exports of goods and services: 40.8%

imports of goods and services: -36.3%
Population Below Poverty Line 25%
Inflation Rate 4.2%
Labor Force 8,500,000
Labor Force By Occupation- agriculture 21.6%
Labor Force By Occupation- industry 18.7%
Labor Force By Occupation- services 59.8%
Unemployment Rate 15.3%
Fiscal Year calendar year
Annual Budget $52,800,000,000 (USD)
Budget Surplus or Deficit - percent of GDP 0.9%
Taxes and other revenues - percent of GDP 44.9%
Major Industries petroleum, chemicals, textiles, construction materials, food processing
Industrial Growth Rate 4.8%
Agriculture Products wheat, barley, rice, vegetables, dates, cotton; cattle, sheep
Currency Code New Iraqi dinar (NID) as of 22 January 2004
Child Labor - % of children ages 5-14 11%
Child Labor - # of children ages 5-14 715,737
Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate 6%

Labor Force by Occupation- As reported by Iraq

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