Of course coming up with growth forecasts is never easy, and in times of war and oil price turbulence even less so. But that doesn’t stop the World Bank, IMF and other international organizations trying. And their tendency to finalize oil price assumptions well in advance of publication leaves them hostage to fortune.

Oil prices, having already more than halved since mid-2014, fell by a further near-$20/B over the last two months. So when the IMF in a report on Iraq published 12 January (see box), had the oil-dependent and war-torn country’s economy growing by 10.6% in 2016 this caused a MEES double take. (CONTINUED - 1026 WORDS)