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Iran Economy Profile 2018

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Economy - overviewIran's economy is marked by statist policies, inefficiencies, and reliance on oil and gas exports, but Iran also possesses significant agricultural, industrial, and service sectors. The Iranian government directly owns and operates hundreds of state-owned enterprises and indirectly controls many companies affiliated with the country's security forces. Distortions - including inflation, price controls, subsidies, and a banking system holding billions of dollars of non-performing loans - weigh down the economy, undermining the potential for private-sector-led growth.

Private sector activity includes small-scale workshops, farming, some manufacturing, and services, in addition to medium-scale construction, cement production, mining, and metalworking. Significant informal market activity flourishes and corruption is widespread.

Fiscal and monetary constraints, following the expansion of international sanctions in 2012 on Iran's Central Bank and oil exports, significantly reduced Iran's oil revenue, forced government spending cuts, and sparked a sharp currency depreciation. Iran’s economy contracted for the first time in two decades during the period 2012 to 2015, but strong growth resumed in 2016. Iran's stock market plunged between 2013 and 2015. Iran continues to suffer from high unemployment and underemployment. Lack of job opportunities has prompted many educated Iranian youth to seek employment overseas, resulting in a significant "brain drain."

In June 2013, the election of President Hasan RUHANI generated widespread public expectations of economic improvement and greater international engagement. RUHANI has achieved some success, including reining in inflation and, in July of 2015, securing the promise of sanctions relief for Iran by signing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with the P5+1. The JCPOA, which severely limits Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for unfreezing Iranian assets and reopening Iran to international trade, should bolster foreign direct investment, increase trade, and stimulate growth.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$1.631 trillion (2017 est.)
$1.576 trillion (2016 est.)
$1.401 trillion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$427.7 billion (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate3.5% (2017 est.)
12.5% (2016 est.)
-1.6% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$20,000 (2017 est.)
$19,600 (2016 est.)
$17,600 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving41.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
37.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
37.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 50.2%
government consumption: 13.3%
investment in fixed capital: 21.3%
investment in inventories: 14.1%
exports of goods and services: 22.5%
imports of goods and services: -21.3% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 9.8%
industry: 35.9%
services: 54.3% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line18.7% (2007 est.)
Labor force30.5 million
note: shortage of skilled labor (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 16.3%
industry: 35.1%
services: 48.6% (2013 est.)
Unemployment rate12.4% (2017 est.)
12.5% (2016 est.)
note: data are Iranian government numbers
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 26.1%
male: 22.3%
female: 42.8% (2015 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 29.6% (2005)
Distribution of family income - Gini index44.5 (2006)
Budgetrevenues: $77.22 billion
expenditures: $86.26 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues18.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-2.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
Public debt14.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
13.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
note: includes publicly guaranteed debt
Inflation rate (consumer prices)10.5% (2017 est.)
9% (2016 est.)
note: official Iranian estimate
Central bank discount rateNA%
Commercial bank prime lending rate13% (31 December 2017 est.)
18% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money$51.61 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$47.59 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money$436.3 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$366 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$366.1 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$315.4 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$89.43 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$116.6 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$345.8 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Agriculture - productswheat, rice, other grains, sugar beets, sugarcane, fruits, nuts, cotton; dairy products, wool; caviar
Industriespetroleum, petrochemicals, gas, fertilizer, caustic soda, textiles, cement and other construction materials, food processing (particularly sugar refining and vegetable oil production), ferrous and nonferrous metal fabrication, armaments
Industrial production growth rate7.1% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance$21.6 billion (2017 est.)
$16.39 billion (2016 est.)
Exports$91.99 billion (2017 est.)
$83.98 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditiespetroleum 80%, chemical and petrochemical products, fruits and nuts, carpets, cement, ore
Exports - partnersChina 30.1%, India 16.7%, South Korea 9.7%, Turkey 9.5%, Japan 6.8% (2016)
Imports$70.53 billion (2017 est.)
$63.14 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditiesindustrial supplies, capital goods, foodstuffs and other consumer goods, technical services
Imports - partnersUAE 27.4%, China 13.2%, Turkey 7.8%, South Korea 4.3%, Germany 4% (2016)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$132.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$133.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external$10.56 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$8.196 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$50.33 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$46.02 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$5.226 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$4.656 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange ratesIranian rials (IRR) per US dollar -
32,769.7 (2017 est.)
30,914.9 (2016 est.)
30,914.9 (2015 est.)
29,011.5 (2014 est.)
25,912 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year21 March - 20 March

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on January 20, 2018

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