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US Official: Iraq's 2007 Economic Growth to Exceed Six Percent


A senior U.S. official says Iraq's economy is likely to grow more than six percent this year thanks to improving security in the country.

But U.S. diplomat Charles Ries also says the Iraqi economy is underperforming because of an inadequate supply of electricity, and weakness in the oil sector.

Ries was speaking Wednesday in Baghdad, where he is serving as the U.S. coordinator for Iraq's economic transition.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a report last month that Iraq has struggled to raise oil production above the current two million barrels a day.

Ries says Iraqi oil production will increase once the parliament passes legislation to share oil revenues between Iraq's Shi'ites, Sunni Arabs and Kurds.

He says such a law will enable foreign energy companies to help find new oil and gas deposits in Iraq.

Iraq has the world's third largest proven oil reserves, with much of the country still unexplored.

The IMF has predicted Iraq's economy will grow 6.3 percent this year, slightly up from 6.2 percent in 2006.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.