Islamic State will remain well entrenched over the coming year, and Iraqi security forces (ISF) and its allies will focus on re-conquering the Anbar province. Iraq will maintain formal unity within a fragile federalised state over the coming decade, with the Kurdish region retaining significant autonomy but not outright independence.
Stronger headline growth of the Iraqi economy in 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
The Iraqi Central Bank will devalue the Iraqi dinar by 7% in H216, as pressures on the country's foreign exchange reserves and on the government's budget become too high, amid low global oil prices. As a result, we forecast the Iraqi dinar to trade at IQD1,265/USD compared to our previous forecast of IQD1,182/USD.
Sectarian tensions could increase even higher if Baghdad fails to reconstruct the Sunni territory it re-conquers from IS.
PM Haider al-Abadi could be facing increasing criticism from Shi'a politicians and lose his party's support, resulting in his impeachment and the beginning of a new political crisis.
|e/f = BMI estimate/forecast. Source: National Sources, BMI|
|Real GDP growth, % y-o-y||-3.9||0.9||0.3||2.0|
|Nominal GDP, USDbn||207.3||232.2||226.3||242.6|
|Consumer price inflation, % y-o-y, eop||1.6||3.0||7.0||5.5|
|Exchange rate IQD/USD, eop||1,166.00||1,182.00||1,265.58||1,281.41|
|Budget balance, % of GDP||-5.7||-13.6||-12.6||-7.3|
|Current account balance, % of GDP||11.8||-4.8||-9.1||-5.4|
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