As the majority of international sanctions have been lifted faster than expected and new historic data has been released, we have upwardly revised our construction industry growth forecast for Iran in 2016 from 3.2% to 4.5%. The lifting of sanctions will result in the gradual return of private investment as well as improv e Iran's access to funding for projects. As such, we expect the country's risk profile - particularly in the financing stage of the project life cycle - to continue to improv e .
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We forecast 4.5% y-o-y real construction industry growth in Iran in 2016 and an average of 6.1% over the next five years as a result of the lifting of international sanctions and strong demand for infrastructure.
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Persistently low oil prices - our Oil & Gas Team forecasts Brent to average USD42.5/bbl in 2016 - will reduce government revenue, limiting public spending in infrastructure.
As we expected, the lifting of sanctions is already having a positive impact on Iran's capability to finance infrastructure projects. Reflecting the reduced risk in the financing stage, Iran now scores 34 out of 100 in the Financing Risk pillar of our Project Risk Index (PRI), from a previous score of 18.8.
Greater competitiveness in Iran's labour market will be required to support growth in the construction industry. Although Iran's labour force is highly educated by regional standards, high labour costs will continue to pose a structural barrier to investment.
Despite an improving outlook for Iran's infrastructure sector, the country will continue to present challenges, including elevated political risk, macroeconomic weaknesses and corruption.
The lifting of international sanctions is having a positive impact on Iran's risks and rewards scores. Iran scores 42.3 out of 100 in our RRI for the Middle East this quarter, an improvement from last quarter's 41.0.
Iran scores 35.0 out of 100 for Industry Risks, reflecting the high barriers to entry and lack of competition in the infrastructure market. We expect Iran's competitive landscape to diversify considerably as the lifting of international sanctions allows foreign players to return.
Iran receives an improved score of 46.2 for Country Risks, but still below the regional average. The country suffers from endemic levels of corruption and although nominally independent, political interference in the judicial system is rife.
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"Iran Infrastructure Report Q2 2016" Published
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