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Financial Outlook

Despite increasing violence and political instability, there were positive developments in the economy in 2013. These included the lifting of the United Nations’ sanctions on the country and a continuing increase in oil output. Iraq depends on crude oil exports for around 93% of government revenues. In January 2014 the IMF warned that state finances were vulnerable to a fall in oil prices. The country needed an average oil price of US$106.1 per barrel in 2013 to balance its budget, up from US$95 in 2011 because of rising expenditure, the IMF estimated in October 2013. The IMF further estimates that the budget slipped into a deficit of 0.7% of GDP in 2013, down from a surplus of 4.1% in 2012. In January 2014 the government said that Iraq plans to reach oil production capacity of 4.7 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2015, with the aim of raising production to 9 million bpd by 2020 and sustaining that rate over 20 years. In November 2013 the Qatari commercial bank QNB Group forecast GDP growth for Iraq of 6.3% in 2014 as oil production increases, together with a rapid expansion in government services, trade, and construction.

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