Iran Economy - 2021


SOURCE: 2021 CIA WORLD FACTBOOK

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Economic overview

Iran'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 corruption, 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.

The lifting of most nuclear-related sanctions under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in January 2016 sparked a restoration of Iran’s oil production and revenue that drove rapid GDP growth, but economic growth declined in 2017 as oil production plateaued. The economy continues to suffer from low levels of investment and declines in productivity since before the JCPOA, and from high levels of unemployment, especially among women and college-educated Iranian youth.

In May 2017, the re-election of President Hasan RUHANI generated widespread public expectations that the economic benefits of the JCPOA would expand and reach all levels of society. RUHANI will need to implement structural reforms that strengthen the banking sector and improve Iran’s business climate to attract foreign investment and encourage the growth of the private sector. Sanctions that are not related to Iran’s nuclear program remain in effect, and these—plus fears over the possible re-imposition of nuclear-related sanctions—will continue to deter foreign investors from engaging with Iran.

Real GDP growth rate

3.7% (2017 est.)

12.5% (2016 est.)

-1.6% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 78

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

10% (2017 est.)

9.6% (2017 est.)

9.1% (2016 est.)

note: official Iranian estimate

country comparison to the world: 210

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1,027,238,000,000 (2019 est.)

$1.102 trillion (2018 est.)

$1,172,665,000,000 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 24

GDP (official exchange rate)

$581.252 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$12,389 (2019 est.)

$13,472 (2018 est.)

$14,536 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 129

Gross national saving

37.9% of GDP (2017 est.)

37.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

35.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 16

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 9.6% (2016 est.)

industry: 35.3% (2016 est.)

services: 55% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 49.7% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 14% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 20.6% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 14.5% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 26% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -24.9% (2017 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 58.5 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 67.8 (2020)

Trading score: 66.2 (2020)

Enforcement score: 58.2 (2020)

Agricultural products

wheat, sugar cane, milk, sugar beet, tomatoes, barley, potatoes, oranges, poultry, apples

Industries

petroleum, 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 rate

3% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 103

Labor force

30.5 million (2017 est.)

note: shortage of skilled labor

country comparison to the world: 18

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 16.3%

industry: 35.1%

services: 48.6% (2013 est.)

Unemployment rate

11.8% (2017 est.)

12.4% (2016 est.)

note: data are Iranian Government numbers

country comparison to the world: 162

Population below poverty line

18.7% (2007 est.)

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

40.8 (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 56

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.6%

highest 10%: 29.6% (2005)

Budget

revenues: 74.4 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 84.45 billion (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

17.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 170

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-2.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 110

Public debt

39.5% of GDP (2017 est.)

47.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: includes publicly guaranteed debt

country comparison to the world: 132

Fiscal year

21 March - 20 March

Current account balance

$9.491 billion (2017 est.)

$16.28 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 25

Exports

$101.4 billion (2017 est.)

$83.98 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 47

Exports - partners

China 48%, India 12%, South Korea 8%, Turkey 6%, United Arab Emirates 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, polymers, industrial alcohols, iron, pistachios (2019)

Imports

$76.39 billion (2017 est.)

$63.14 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 53

Imports - partners

China 28%, United Arab Emirates 20%, India 11%, Turkey 7%, Brazil 6%, Germany 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

rice, corn, broadcasting equipment, soybean products, beef (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$120.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$133.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 21

Debt - external

$7.995 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$8.196 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 122

Exchange rates

Iranian 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.)

NOTE: The information regarding Iran on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Iran 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Iran 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.