Tag Archive | "IMF"

Banks Signal Drop in Iraqi GDP


By Mark A DeWeaver.

As of November 6, 18 of the 21 ISX listed banks have reported third quarter earnings. The numbers aren’t pretty. Rabee Securities’ latest corporate profits report shows bank-sector aggregate profits for the first nine months down 17% year-on-year. Taking out BUND, an obvious outlier with earnings growth of 115%, the decline for the remaining 17 banks was 25%.

2014 will certainly be the worst for listed bank earnings growth since the end of the sectarian civil war in 2008. This year’s dismal performance compares to double digit growth for all of the last six years with the exception of 2009, which saw a 3% contraction.

M2 money supply growth is telling a similar story. (M2 includes cash in circulation and commercial bank deposits.) Unlike the earnings statistics, which cover only the listed banks, M2 also covers the state-owned lenders that account for the majority of Iraqi bank assets. As of the end of July, this aggregate was up only 4% year-on-year, down from 16% growth for year-end 2013.

These trends in M2 and bank profits are obvious warning signs for the Iraqi economy as a whole. To get some idea of what they might be telling us, I tried using them to forecast annual GDP growth. This is a somewhat suspect exercise due to the limited number of data points, but the forecasts at least fit well “in sample” (see chart).

Assuming full-year growth in M2 and bank profits of -20% and -4%, respectively, the 2014 forecast is for a GDP decline of 1.7%, not much better than the IMF’s -2.7% projection (see this article). If this is accurate, the banks are signaling the first year of negative economic growth since the US invasion in 2003.

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Iraqi Economy to Shrink in 2014


By John Lee.

A new report from the International Monetary Fund says that Iraq’s economy is expected to shrink by 2.7 percent this year as a result of the security crisis in the country.

This follows a 4.2 percent growth in GDP in 2013 and 10.3 percent the previous year, and would be the first contraction since the change of regime in 2003. A growth rate of 1.5 percent is predicted for 2015.

Inflation is estimated at 4.7 percent this year and 6.2 percent in 2015.

The report forecasts a slight decline in oil producton to 2.9 million bpd this year, while exports of 2.4 million bpd should remain close to last year’s level.

The IMF forecasts a slight increase in oil production to 3.0 millon bpd, but has reduced its longer-term output projection from 5.6 million bpd to 4.4 million bpd in 2019.

Non-oil GDP is expected to fall by 4.3 percent this year, then grow by 3.5 percent next year.

(Sources: IMF, Reuters)

(GDP image via Shutterstock)

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GDP to Shrink this year, then Recover


By John Lee.

A new report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast that the Iraqi economy will contract this year due to continuing war against the Islamic State.

In its October World Economic Outlook, it says that Iraq’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to shrink by 2.66 percent this year, down from the 5.9 percent growth it forecast in April. The fighting has prevented Baghdad from exporting oil to Turkey via pipeline and to Jordan by road.

The report goes on to predict growth rates of over the coming five years (2015-2019) of 1.455 percent, 7.617 percent, 6.693 percent, 7.712 percent, and 9.140 percent respectively, giving an average growth rate of 6.5 percent over the period.

Next year’s growth of just under 1.5 percent is down from the 6.7 percent growth projected in April.

(Source: IMF, Gulf Daily News)

(GDP image via Shutterstock)

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Iraq Cuts Gold Holdings by a Quarter


By John Lee.

Reuters reports that Iraq cut its gold holdings by a quarter in November.

Data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) showed that the country’s stocks fell to 29.9 tonnes.

(Source: Reuters)

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Iraq Boosts Gold Reserves


By John Lee.

Iraq made its first major move in years to boost its gold reserves, joining central banks from emerging market economies such as Brazil and Russia in diversifying its foreign reserves.

According to a report from the Lebanese Daily Star, central bank purchases have been one of the biggest drivers of gold’s rally since 2010 – a year which saw central banks turning net buyers of the precious metal for the first time in two decades amid growing doubts about the stability of the dollar as the world’s top reserve currency.

Over the course of three months between August and October this year, Iraq’s gold holdings quadrupled to 31.07 tonnes, the International Monetary Fund‘s monthly statistics report showed on Thursday.

(Source: Lebanese Daily Star)

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IMF Approves 7-Mth Extension of Stand-By Arrangement


By John Lee.

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a seven-month extension of Iraq’s Stand-By Arrangement (SBA), to February 23, 2013.

The SBA had been scheduled to expire on July 23, 2012. The extension, which had been requested by the Iraqi authorities, will provide them with time to implement the policy measures needed to complete the combined third and fourth reviews under the SBA.

The extension will, in particular, provide time for discussions on fiscal policies for the remainder of 2012 and on measures to improve the functioning of the exchange regime.

The two-year Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) in the amount of SDR 2.38 billion (about US$3.58 billion), was approved by the IMF’s Executive Board on February 24, 2010 (see press release 10/60). The IMF’s Executive Board completed the first program review on October 1, 2010 (see press release 10/373), and the second review on March 18, 2011 (see press release 11/90).

At the time of the second review, the program duration was extended by five months to July 2012, along with a rephasing of program disbursements based on a shift in financing needs. Total resources currently available to Iraq under the arrangement amount to the equivalent of SDR 1307.24 million (about $1.96 billion).

(Source: IMF)

(Picture: Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, IMF)

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IMF Forecasts Accelerating Growth for Iraqi Economy


The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its latest World Economic Outlook, makes the following forecasts for Iraq:

The report sees strong growth continuing, with a figure of 8.8% projected for 2017.

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Statement by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Iraq


Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement after a meeting with H.E. Nouri Al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq in Washington on Tuesday:

It was a pleasure to meet Prime Minister Al-Maliki today. Over the past several years, Iraq and the International Monetary Fund have engaged in a very successful partnership, anchored by successive IMF-supported economic programs. This partnership has facilitated substantial debt relief and helped achieve macroeconomic stability, including a strong dinar, low inflation, and a resumption of economic growth, in a very challenging political and security environment.

Prudent fiscal policies are essential to maintaining macroeconomic stability and fostering inclusive growth. In this context, I am very encouraged by the government’s new budget proposal for 2012 that was recently submitted to the Iraqi Council of Representatives. The proposal aims to restrain the growth of current spending, thus freeing up resources for infrastructure investment and social support, while limiting the size of the budget deficit. The proposed budget would allow the current Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) to continue to provide a safety net to the budget in case oil revenues were to fall sharply.

Promoting policies that lead to more inclusive growth is central to our engagement with Iraq. We are working closely with the Iraqi government to rebuild its essential economic institutions to help improve economic management and public service delivery. The current SBA offers a framework for Iraq’s structural reform agenda, by promoting better public financial management, including the management of Iraq’s hydrocarbon resources, and developing a financial sector that can support private sector activity and job creation. We look forward to further progress in these areas.

We remain committed to helping Iraq in its efforts to foster sustained and inclusive economic growth, generate viable employment opportunities, and improve living standards for all Iraqis. An IMF staff mission is scheduled to meet the authorities in January to discuss progress under the program and next steps.

(Source: IMF)

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