Business Monitor International

Iraq Country Risk Report

Published 19 November 2014 | Quarterly

  • 39 pages
  • Instant access to your report online and PDF format through your account library
  • Includes 3 free updated quarterly reports
Iraq Country Risk Report

Core Views

  • Risks of a return to full-blown civil war are elevated following the takeover of jihadist group Islamic state (IS) of the country's north and west.

  • Robust headline growth of the Iraqi economy in 2014 and 2015 will result from accelerating oil exports. Conversely, domestic expansion will be sluggish and uneven; consumer spending and capital formation will be hit hard by political instability, and declining oil prices will hinder the government's ability to prop up spending.

Major Forecast Changes

  • Iraq's current account surplus will narrow significantly in 2015 as declining oil prices will hit the value of hydrocarbons exports. We forecast Iraq's current account to come in surplus of 6.5% of GDP in 2015, from our previous forecast of 10.0% of GDP and compared to surplus of 10.7% of GDP in 2014.

Key Risks To Outlook

  • Islamic State could succeed in taking over some territory in Southern Iraq or the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, disrupting oil exports.

  • Oil prices could decline further to the USD60/bbl level, jeopardising Baghdad's ability to maintain the subsidy system and its onerous public sector payroll.

Macroeconomic Forecasts (Iraq 2012-2015)
Indicator 2012 2013e 2014f 2015f
Nominal GDP, USDbn 192.0 218.4 240.7 263.6
Real GDP growth, % y-o-y 8.4 5.9 6.9 7.0
Consumer price inflation, % y-o-y, eop 3.6 3.1 5.0 5.5
Exchange rate IQD/USD, eop 1,165.00 1,165.00 1,163.00 1,205.00
Budget balance, % of GDP 13.0 4.5 3.3 0.7
Current account balance, % of GDP 16.6 10.6 10.7 6.5
e/f = BMI estimate/forecast. Source: National Sources, UN, BMI

Click here to explore data

Table of Contents

Executive Summary
Core Views
Major Forecast Changes
Key Risks To Outlook
Chapter 1: Political Outlook
SWOT Analysis
BMI Political Risk Index
Domestic Politics
New Government Short Of A Game Changer
Table: Political Overview
Long-Term Political Outlook
Rising Risk Of State Collapse - Scenarios Assessed
Table: Long-Term Scenarios
Chapter 2: Economic Outlook
SWOT Analysis
BMI Economic Risk Index
Economic Activity
Sluggish Domestic Growth Over The Next Five Years
Table: Economic Activity
Fiscal Policy
Resolution In Sight For Baghdad-Erbil Salary Payments Row
Table: Fiscal Policy
Monetary Policy
Inflation To Accelerate In 2015
Table: Monetary Policy
Balance Of Payment
External Position Worsening As Oil Prices Decline
Table: Current Account
Chapter 3: 10-Year Forecast
The Iraqi Economy To 2023
Success Story In Jeopardy
Table: Long-Term Macroeconomic Forecasts
Chapter 4: Operational Risk
Operational Risk Index
Remaining Opaque
Operational Risk
Table : Operational Risk
Transport Network
Table : MENA Transport Network Risks
Economic Openness
Table: MENA - Economic Openness
Table: Exports, 2007-2012
Table: Imports, 2007-2012
Chapter 5: BMI Global Assumptions
Global Outlook
Reality Check: Uncertainty Reigns
Table: Global Assumptions
Table: Developed States, Real GDP GrowtH, %
Table : Emerging Markets , Real GDP Growth, %

The Iraq Country Risk Report helps businesses with market assessment, strategic planning and decision making to promote growth and profitability in Iraq and is an essential tool for CEOs, Chairmen, Finance Directors/CFOs, Managing Directors, Marketing/Sales Directors with commercial interests in this emerging market..

An influential new analysis of Iraq's economic, political and financial prospects through end-2017, just published by award-winning forecasters, Business Monitor International (BMI).

Key Uses

  • Forecast the pace and stability of Iraq's economic and industry growth through end-2017.
  • Identify and evaluate adverse political and economic trends, to facilitate risk mitigation.
  • Assess the critical shortcomings of the business environment that pose hidden barriers and costs to corporate profitability.
  • Contextualise Iraq's country risks against regional peers using BMI's country comparative Risk Ratings system.
  • Evaluate external threats to doing business in Iraq, including currency volatility, the commodity price boom and protectionist policies.

The Iraq Country Risk Report by Business Monitor International (BMI) includes three major sections: Economic Outlook, Political Outlook and Business Environment.

Economic Outlook:

How will the Iraqi economic policy-making and performance impact on corporate profitability over 2013-2017?

BMI provides our fully independent 5-year forecasts for Iraq through end-2017 for more than 50 economic and key industry indicators. We evaluate growth, and also forecast the impact of economic management.

Economic Outlook Contents

The Iraq Country Risk Report features BMI's forecasts with supporting analysis for 2013 through to end-2017, set against government views and BMI's evaluation of global and regional prospects.

Key Areas Covered:


  • Full 10-year forecasts with data - for key macroeconomic variables including GDP (real growth and per capita), population, inflation, current account balance and the exchange rate.
  • BMI's comprehensive Risk Ratings system - rates each country worldwide for economic and political risk, and rates the business environment, within a global and regional context.

Written Analysis:

  • Economic Activity - real GDP growth, employment, inflation, consumption (retail sales and confidence).
  • Balance of Payments - trade and investment, current and capital account.
  • Monetary Policy - interest rate trends (bank lending and deposit rates) and inflation (producer price and consumer price).
  • Exchange Rate Policy - currency controls, foreign investment flows, exchange rates and foreign exchange reserves.
  • Fiscal Policy - macroeconomic strategy and policies, government finance and tax reforms.
  • Foreign Direct Investment - approvals, inflows and climate.
  • External Debt - debt profile (short and long-term plus public and private sector exposure).
  • Global Assumptions - forecasts for each year to end-2017 covering: major commodities, growth in key regions, inflation, and interest and exchange rates, in the United States, Japan, China and the eurozone.

Key Benefits

  • Rely upon BMI's 100% independent forecast scenarios for Iraq and underlying assumptions - we take no advertising and are privately-owned.
  • Exploit the benefits of BMI's comprehensive and reliable macroeconomic database on Iraq, sourced and fully maintained by BMI from an extensive network of private sector, government and multilateral contacts.
  • Gain key insights into the current and future direction of government economic policy, which could significantly affect your company's business prospects, from BMI's team of analysts and economists.

Political Outlook:

What are the political risks to doing business in Iraq over the next 5-years?

BMI's Iraq country Risk Ratings evaluate the short- and medium-term threats to political stability.

Political Outlook Contents

  • SWOT Analysis for the Iraqi Market - Political Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats facing Iraq.
  • Political Stability and Risk Assessment - BMI's Risk Ratings assess explicit short- and long-term risks to political stability; latest ratings, rankings and trends for Iraq's risk are compared with regional and global averages.
  • Current Administration and Policy-making BMI assesses the threats to the continuity of economic policy, and likely changes to the business operating environment.

Key Benefits

  • Benchmark Iraq's risk profile against its neighbours, the global and regional average, allowing easy comparison of risks between key business markets.
  • Identify, evaluate and anticipate political and security risks to the business environment, and to your company's current operations and future plans.
  • Gain valuable insights into government and policy-making, through BMI's specialist team of analysts and economists, and their network of private and public sector sources.

Business Environment

Business Environment Risk Ratings with SWOT Analysis - Business environment Risk Ratings for Iraq, benchmarked against ratings for regional neighbours.

Country Competitiveness - Competitiveness of Iraq's business operating environment in supporting corporate growth and profitability, compared with regional neighbours.

Business Environment Contents

  • Domestic Environment - Transparency, cronyism and corruption; labour market flexibility; corporate tax burden; interest rate levels; sophistication of banking sector and stock market; levels of business confidence; infrastructure and IT.
  • Foreign Direct Investment - Analysis of foreign investment regime; foreign ownership laws; attractiveness of business environment to foreign investors.
  • Foreign Trade - Analysis of trading environment, government trade policy, liberalisation measures, tariffs and membership of trade areas.

Key Benefits

  • Assess your company's evolving exposure to country specific operational and business risks, using BMI's in-depth analysis of the legal and regulatory business environment.
  • Understand your market's comparative strengths and weaknesses in the key areas of commercial infrastructure and business institutions, using BMI's proprietary global Business Environment Risk Ratings.

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The sections that I find most interesting and useful are the macroeconomic data and forecasts for the country, top export destinations and economic activity. The indicators/analysis of these areas helps us orient our thinking, our assumptions and, consequently, our decisions in the commercial area.

Country Manager, DHL Express