Iraq’s Top 10 Exports

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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.

Iraq’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

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.

Advantages

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.

Opportunities

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.

  1. Machines, engines, pumps: -US$4.4 billion (Down by -0.4% since 2011)
  2. Electronic equipment: -$3.1 billion (Down by -6.2%)
  3. Vehicles: -$2.2 billion (Down by -16.5%)
  4. Iron or steel products: -$1.9 billion (Down by -1.6%)
  5. Plastics: -$1.1 billion (Down by -1.9%)
  6. Pharmaceuticals: -$983.6 million (Up by 34.3%)
  7. Furniture, lighting, signs: -$899.2 million (Up by 50.1%)
  8. Knit or crochet clothing: -$877.8 million (Up by 190.8%)
  9. Cereals: -$797.6 million (Down by -50.6%)
  10. Dairy, eggs, honey: -$664 million (Down by -27.1%)

Iraq has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery products.

Companies

Iraqi Export Companies

Not one Iraqi corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000 for 2015.

Wikipedia does list major companies from Iraq, some of which are active participants in international trade. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Iraq National Oil Company (crude oil, natural gas)
  • Iraqi Oil Tankers Company (maritime transport of petroleum)
  • Trade Bank of Iraq (trade deal financing)
  • Iraqi Airways Company (domestic/regional airliner)


 
Baghdad is the capital city for the Republic of Iraq.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Top Middle Eastern Export Countries, Iraq’s Top Import Partners and South Africa’s Top 10 Exports

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on May 26, 2016

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on May 26, 2016

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on May 26, 2016

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 26, 2016

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Iraq. Accessed on May 26, 2016

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 26, 2016