Iran flag Iran: Visió econòmica i política

El context econòmic d'Iran

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

The reintroduction of sanctions by the U.S. government, coupled with the fall of oil prices, brought the Iranian economy into recession, and GDP shrank by 6.8% in 2019 amid declining consumption, oil exports and construction activity. The non-oil sectors generate most of Iran's economic output and jobs and have proven more resilient under U.S. sanctions than the energy sector. Despite the expansion of US sanctions to other key sectors, non-oil GDP grew by 1.1% in 2019/20 led by the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. In 2020, the Islamic Republic of Iran was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the first epicentres of the pandemic, Iran was hit hard because of its slow response, but also because of US sanctions, which led to shortages of medical equipment. Despite this, the Iranian economy grew by 3.4% in 2020 and 2.5% in 2021. According to the IMF's October 2021 forecast, growth is expected to stabilise in 2022 and 2023, estimated at 2% of GDP respectively. Iran’s economic outlook remains highly uncertain, especially given the COVID-19 evolution and the continuation of US sanctions by the current administration of US President Joe Biden.

The decline in revenues as a result of US sanctions has prompted the government of Iran to satisfy its financing needs through extensive debt issuance and the sale of assets on the stock market. The fiscal deficit-to-GDP ratio more than doubled to 3.7% in 2019/20 as oil revenues have halved and their share in budget revenues has fallen to an all-time low. Public debt decreased to 39.5% of GDP in 2020 and then 33.6% in 2021 from 47.9% in 2019. It is expected to stabilise at 33.3% in 2022 and 34.2% in 2022. In addition, the country's current account has reached a negative rate of -0.1% in 2020, due to US sanctions, before bouncing back to 1.3% in 2021. The IMF expects the current account to stabilise at 1% in 2022 and 2021. High inflation has placed further economic stress on low-income households as a result of a sharp depreciation of the currency. Iran's ability to counter exchange rate pressures has been hampered by limited reserves and limited access to foreign export earnings. The currency depreciation impacted on consumers as imported goods became more expensive and domestic production prices, especially for tradable goods, increased. Inflation increased to 36.4% in 2020 and 39.3% in 2021 up from 34.6% in 2019. It is expected to be contained at the high rate of 27.5% in 2022 and then 25% in 2023 according to the IMF's latest World Economic Outlook (April 2021).

Iran's unemployment rate decreased to 9.6% in 2020 despite the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic but came back to 10% in 2021. The IMF estimates that the rate will remain relatively stable in 2022 (10.5%) and in 2023 (10.8%). The number of people no longer actively seeking work is increasing. Years of recession and high inflation have severely challenged household livelihoods and halted poverty reduction trend. In 2018/19, the national poverty rate measured at the international poverty line of $5.5 at purchasing power parity (PPP) was 12.3%, up 1.5 percentage points from the previous year. Inequality (as measured by the Gini index) was 35.6 points and continued to rise after 2016/17. Higher living costs have undermined the value of cash transfers and labour income in real terms. Poverty mitigation measures, including cash transfers, have contributed to partially mitigating pressures on the poor and placed further pressure on fiscal budgets because of a failure to target appropriately. As the number of COVID-19 cases increased, the government applied stricter measures and announced new social transfers in autumn 2020. The economic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic has driven more households into poverty.  As a reaction, the authorities launched new rounds of cash transfers and consumer loans for the lowest income deciles and households with no permanent income source.

Limited non-oil revenue growth owing to a slow recovery, uncertain prospects for higher oil revenues, and higher wage bill and pensions expenditures are expected to keep the fiscal balance in deficit. The government is expected to continue to issue bonds and sell public assets to finance the deficit in 2022. Iran’s economic outlook is shaped by the expectations about the course of the pandemic, the recovery in demand from export partners, and geopolitical develpments (World Bank, 2022).

 
Main Indicators 201920202021 (e)2022 (e)2023 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 581.25835.35e1,081.381,136.681,189.10
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -6.83.4e2.52.02.0
GDP per Capita (USD) 6,9819,92812,72513,24313,717
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 47.939.5e33.633.334.2
Inflation Rate (%) 34.636.440.132.327.5
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force) 10.69.610.010.510.8
Current Account (billions USD) 3.75-0.7113.9211.2311.78
Current Account (in % of GDP) 0.6-0.11.31.01.0

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, October 2021

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

Iran has a labour force of 26.8 million out of its 84 million population (World Bank data, 2022). Agriculture contributes 12.8% of the GDP, employing 17.4% of the active population. Only 9% of the land is arable and primitive farming methods remain prevalent. The main crops are pistachios (world's largest producer), wheat, rice, oranges, tea and cotton. Illicit cultivation of opium poppy is fairly common.

The industrial sector employs 31.4% of the workforce and contributes 30.6% of the GDP (World Bank 2022). Iran's industry is spearheaded by the hydrocarbon industry as the country is rich in mineral resources, mainly oil (4th largest proved crude oil reserves in the world) and gas (2nd place in reserves in the world), copper, lead, zinc, etc. Nevertheless, Iran's crude oil production, which rose gradually in the aftermath of the nuclear agreement, has fallen drastically since 2018 following the implementation of American sanctions on this sector, and it reached the lowest level since the 1980s in July 2019 (International Energy Agency). While the effects of the coronavirus have been severe, Iran has escaped the worst impact of the oil price collapse. This was due to the drop in oil exports caused by the Trump administration's 'maximum pressure' campaign (IAI). The textile industry is the second most important after the oil sector. Other major industries include sugar refining, food-processing, petro-chemicals, cement and construction. Traditional handicrafts, such as carpet weaving and ceramics manufacturing, silk and jewellery are also vital to the economy.

The services sector contributes to 57% of the GDP and employs 51.2% of the workforce (World Bank 2022). Tourism sector is growing despite US sanctions. Iraqi travelers, according to government data, constitute Iran's main source of tourism revenue, followed by tourists from China.

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 17.4 31.4 51.2
Value Added (in % of GDP) 12.8 30.6 57.0
Value Added (Annual % Change) 4.0 4.3 -6.1

Source: World Bank, Latest Available Data. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 

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Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.}}

Score:
47,2/100
World Rank:
168
Regional Rank:
14

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation

 

Business environment ranking

Definition:

The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

Score:
3.58/10
World Rank:
79/82

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit - Business Environment Rankings 2020-2024

 

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Actualitzacions: September 2022

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