• Iran is expected to spend $118bn on energy subsidies over 2015
  • Libya is second on IMF list, with subsidies worth 17.7 per cent of GDP
  • Estimates include direct subsidies as well as cost of environmental damage

Iran is the biggest spender on energy subsidies in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, relative to the size of its economy, according to the Washington-based IMF.

The fund has revealed that in 2013 Tehran spent $118bn on energy subsidies over 2015, the equivalent of 32 per cent of its GDP.

Libya is second on the IMF’s list, with subsidies worth 17.7 per cent of GDP.

Mena energy subsidies 2013
  Nominal GDP ($bn) Percentage of GDP Nominal total post-tax subsidies ($bn)
Iran 367.1 32.2 118.2
Libya 65.5 17.7 11.6
Saudi Arabia 748.4 17.2 128.9
Egypt 271.4 16.6 45.2
Algeria 212.5 13.8 29.3
Bahrain 32.8 13.6 4.5
Oman 77.1 12.3 9.5
Kuwait 175.8 11.9 20.9
Lebanon 45.0 11.2 5.1
Jordan 33.9 10.5 3.6
UAE 402.3 8.6 34.6
Qatar 202.5 7.9 16.0
Yemen 40.4 7.2 2.9
Tunisia 47.0 6.2 2.9
Morocco 103.8 4.5 4.6
Sudan 66.7 2.5 1.7
Iraq 229.3 0.8 1.8
Source: IMF

The North African nation is closely followed by Saudi Arabia, with subsidies worth 17.2 per cent of GDP, and Egypt, with subsidies worth 16.6 per cent of GDP.

In comparison, the UK and the US spent the equivalent of 1.5 and 3.6 per cent of their GDP on energy subsidies respectively.

In 2015 Iran is expected to remain the region’s biggest energy subsidiser, with subsidies estimated to be worth 26.0 per cent of GDP.

Saudi Arabia is expected to be the second-biggest spender, relative to its economy, spending a sum equal to 13.2 per cent of its GDP.

The IMF has estimated that global energy subsidies in 2015 will be worth $5.3bn.

In 2015 China is expected to be the top subsidiser in dollar terms, Ukraine as a percentage of its GDP and Qatar in per capita subsidies.

The IMF’s estimates for energy subsidies include direct subsidies that lower the price of fuel for consumers as well as the cost of environmental damage, such as air pollution.

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