Iraq's Economy Mounts Shaky Advance, Led by Oil

"Seven years after the U.S.-led invasion, Iraq's petroleum industry shows signs of living up to the potential that American planners hoped for at the start of the military operation, a potential boost to the war-ravaged country's economic recovery.

"After fits and starts, Iraq's oil production has rebounded to pre-war levels."

So reports the Wall Street Journal on Friday, in a feature article on Iraq's economic recovery.

While the country suffers from a shortage of electricity, the increasing demand for power is a sign of overall economic growth.

"The International Monetary Fund estimates Iraq's gross domestic product will grow at above 7% this year, compared to a contraction of almost three quarters of a percent in 2005, the first year the IMF started posting reliable data.

"Inflation slipped to 2.7% in June, the lowest level in three decades, according to Mr. Kassim at the central bank. The IMF pegs inflation at just over 5% this year, down from about 37% in 2005.

"But unemployment remains stubborn, with official figures showing 20% of eligible workers without jobs. While that figure is down from previous years ... U.S. commanders and diplomats are pushing job creation as a way of keeping young Iraqi men out of the insurgency."

(Source: Wall Street Journal)

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