Exports from Iraq amounted to US$52.9 billion in 2015, down by -31.8% since 2011 and down by -39.2% from 2014 to 2015. Iraq’s top 10 exports accounted for 99.9% of the overall value of its global shipments, meaning that Iraqi export products are heavily concentrated and lack diversification.
Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Iraq’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $588.7 billion as of April 2016.
Therefore, exports accounted for about 9% of total Iraqi economic output.
From a continental perspective, $34.1 billion or 64.5% of Iraqi exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 25.6% were sold to European importers. Iraq shipped another 8.6% worth of goods to North America. Just 0.9% arrived in Latin American (excluding Mexico) and Caribbean nations, with even less (0.3%) going to customers in Africa.
Given Iraq’s population of 37.1 million people, its total $52.9 billion in 2015 exports translates to roughly $1,400 for every resident in that country.
Iraq’s unemployment rate was 16.4% in 2014, according to the latest estimates from Trading Economics.
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Iraqi global shipments during 2015. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Iraq. At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Iraq’s number one exported product is crude oil followed by gold.
1. Oil: US$52.5 billion (99.3% of total exports)
2. Gems, precious metals: $214.5 million (0.4%)
3. Fruits, nuts: $53.5 million (0.1%)
4. Raw hides excluding furskins: $30.7 million (0.1%)
5. Plastics: $13.3 million (0.03%)
6. Electronic equipment: $9.2 million (0.02%)
7. Woodpulp: $9 million (0.02%)
8. Machines, engines, pumps: $7.2 million (0.01%)
9. Gums, resins: $4.4 million (0.008%)
10. Medical, technical equipment: $2.7 million (0.005%)
Woodpulp was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 1,830% for the 5-year period starting in 2011.
In second place for improving export sales were raw hides excluding furskins up 398.7%.
Iraqi gems and precious metals posted the third-fastest gain in value at 248.4%, led by international sales of unwrought or semi-manufactured gold.
Electronics led the decliners down by -39.3% from 2011 to 2015, followed by Iraqi exported machinery’s -32.1% drop and oil’s -32% deterioration in value.
The following types of Iraqi product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports is the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
1. Oil: US$52 billion (Down by -32% since 2011)
2. Raw hides excluding furskins: $30.3 million (Up by 533.7%)
3. Woodpulp: $8.9 million (Down by -1,385%)
4. Wool: $1.5 million (Up by 869.7%)
5. Gums, resins: $1.1 million (Down by -120.8%)
6. Vegetable products: $1.1 million (Down by -119.7%)
7. Other animal-origin products: $144,000 (Down by -89.5%)
Iraq has highly positive net exports in the international trade of oil. In turn, these cashflows indicate Iraq’s strong competitive advantages under the petroleum product category. The flipside of the coin is that Iraq’s international trade scorecard depends heavily on global oil prices and is vulnerable to price downturns.
Below are exports from Iraq that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Iraq’s goods trail Iraqi importer spending on foreign products.
Iraq has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery products.