IRAQ REDUCES OIL
BLOOMBERG - Iraq said most international oil companies working in the country, along with the nation's semi-autonomous Kurds, have agreed to cut crude output to fulfill an OPEC accord.
Iraq is fully committed to delivering on OPEC's Nov. 30 agreement to reduce supplies, Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi said Thursday in Cairo at a meeting of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, known as OAPEC.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries resolved on Nov. 30 to reduce production by 1.2 million barrels a day in an effort to end a three-year supply glut and buoy prices. The plan was widened on Dec. 10 when 11 non-members including Russia and Kazakhstan promised to join in the cuts.
Iraq, OPEC's second-biggest producer after Saudi Arabia, pledged to trim output by 210,000 barrels a day, or 4.5 percent of its total production. The country initially resisted the plan to reduce supply, saying it deserved to be exempt while battling Islamic State militants and reviving its oil industry after years of conflict and sanctions.
Separately, Iraq's oil-rich Kirkuk province, under the protection of the Kurds since 2014, said it's willing to reduce crude production if required.
The northern province is prepared to reduce output if the decrease is "proportional" with the country's other regions, Ahmed Al-Askari, head of Kirkuk province's oil, energy and industry committee, said by phone. It hasn't yet received an official request to cut production. The state-run North Oil Co. pumps about 160,000 to 170,000 barrels a day from the region, home to Iraq's oldest producing wells.
The Kurdistan Regional Government, which accounts for about 12 percent of the nation's output, said on Dec. 5 it didn't expect to make significant output cutbacks to fulfill the OPEC accord.
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IMF - Output grew by 3.8 percent in 2017, underpinned by a resilient non-hydrocarbon sector, with robust implementation of GCC-funded projects as well as strong activity in the financial, hospitality, and education sectors. The banking system remains stable with large capital buffers. Growth is projected to decelerate over the medium term.
IMF - Higher oil prices and short-term portfolio inflows have provided relief from external and fiscal pressures but the recovery remains challenging. Inflation declined to its lowest level in more than two years. Real GDP expanded by 2 percent in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the first quarter of last year. However, activity in the non-oil non-agricultural sector remains weak as lower purchasing power weighs on consumer demand and as credit risk continues to limit bank lending.