The Best is to Come in 2011

2010 saw hundreds of trade agreements signed, a score of new consulates opened, and dozens of countries and thousands of companies scrambling to get in on the Iraq story.

Inflation has remained low all year and exchange rates have been stable. The oil price averaged $15-$20 above the $62.50 price allowed for in the Iraq budget.

Although oil exports were a few hundred thousand barrels per day below target for most of the year, Iraq is now pushing considerably in excess of the budgeted oil production for next year.

That is just partly why 2011 will be even better for Iraq. Many of the trade agreements that have been announced this year, including a recent $5bn deal with Egypt, will begin to bear fruit throughout 2011.

Oil, which provides 95% of Iraq's revenues, will see a massive leap towards the end of 2011, boosting exports by about 40%.

The new government has just, finally, been formed, allowing it to head into 2011 with many strong announcements on investments and also on security. With the security situation improving and prime minister Al-Maliki saying that the last American soldier will leave the country by the end of next December, 2011 is likely to be an historic year for Iraq and investors in it.

It has been a quiet business week this Christmas, but hopefully you will enjoy the small selection of stories we have for you this time. Here's to a prosperous New Year for all of us.

If you're considering taking that step into the Iraqi market, Upper Quartile and AAIB are the perfect team to help you manage the risks and grasp the opportunities. For more information please contact Gavin Jones or Adrian Shaw.

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