Iraq’s gross domestic product is expected to grow at an average rate of about 10 percent per year over the next three years, driven by increased oil revenues, a senior central bank official said on Monday.
The OPEC member has the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves and is producing more than 3 million barrels per day (bpd) for the first time in three decades. It has ambitions to double its oil production over the next three years.
Its exports rose to 2.565 million bpd on average in August, the highest level for three decades, the head of the State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) said on Saturday.
“Without the oil, in my opinion, it (GDP) would not exceed 4.5 percent, but the oil sector (makes up) 60 percent of the economy,” Mudher Kasim, deputy governor of the central bank, told Reuters in an interview.
“Oil adds a lot to GDP. Each increase of 100,000 bpd of exports adds more than $3.4 bln per year.”
Iraq’s oil sector pulls in 95 percent of government revenue but still suffers from aging infrastructure.
Kasim said he hoped the rate of GDP increase would breach 10 percent after the three-year period if other sectors outside of the oil industry saw increased investment.
The central bank expects that Iraq’s federal reserves will hit around $75 billion by the end of 2013 from $67 billion currently if oil prices stay at present levels and exports continue to perform as estimated, Kasim said.
Oil prices steadied on Monday, with Brent October futures up 17 cents at $114.74 per barrel by 1200 GMT after jumping nearly $2 on Friday. U.S. crude futures eased 15 cents to $96.32.
Kasim said he expected the core inflation rate for 2012 to stay in single digits at 6 percent. The average year-on-year inflation for 2010 and 2011 was 6.5 percent.