Iraqi News Friday Morning Iraq Economic News Highlights

Friday Morning Iraq Economic News Highlights 2-24-23


Sudanese Calls For The House Of Representatives To Resolve The Budget Law


Baghdad – Iraq today:  The Prime Minister, Muhammad Shia’a Al-Sudani, stressed the need for the House of Representatives to expedite the approval of the budget law.


A statement by the National Approach Alliance office stated, “The Secretary-General of the National Approach Alliance, Abdul Sada al-Fariji, received Prime Minister Muhammad Shia’ al-Sudani to discuss the latest developments in the country.”


The statement added, “The meeting witnessed, after the exchange of congratulations on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan, the discussion of the results achieved from the Prime Minister’s recent visit to Turkey, especially the files of border security and water, and the initiation of serious steps to activate the vital development road project.”


Al-Sudani and Al-Fariji stressed, “The need for the House of Representatives to expedite the approval of the general budget law to achieve the aspirations of citizens, implement projects, and raise the level of services in all governorates of the country.”


During the meeting, Al-Fariji renewed the National Approach Alliance’s support for “the government in implementing the paragraphs of the government program, which leads to stabilizing the pillars of stability at all levels, especially political, economic and security, and continuing the war against corruption corruption.   LINK


Starting Today… Baghdad Is In Front Of The “Biggest” Ramadan Cultural And Popular Event


After Iftar every day, starting from Friday, the largest popular cultural event in Baghdad will be held in Al-Qishla Building on Al-Mutanabbi Street.


The events will include cultural sessions, bazaars of a heritage nature, intellectual games, a small book fair, and exhibitions of several institutions to provide their services to the public.


This event is organized by the Revival of Civilization Organization for Heritage and Culture with the support of Tamkeen Fund, the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Culture and the Baghdad Municipality.


The Iraq Stock Exchange Ends The Week’s Trading On The Rise, Trading Two Billion Dinars


Market   Economy News-Baghdad  The Iraqi Stock Exchange announced, on Thursday, the weekly trading indicators, indicating a circulation of more than two billion dinars.


The market stated in a statement that “the number of shares traded during this week amounted to more than one billion shares, with a value of more than two billion dinars.”


And the trading index in the market closed for the first session of the week at “(637.06) points, while the index closed at the end of the week at (643.50) points, achieving an increase of (1.00%) from its closing at the beginning of the session.”


During the week, “more than (1,800) buying and selling contracts were executed on the shares of companies listed in the market.”


The market indicated that the past week witnessed the organization of only 4 sessions, as the trading session was not organized for Tuesday, March 21, 2023, as it is considered an official holiday.


Economist: Inflation In Iraq Has Risen To The Highest Level In Years


Time: 03/24/2023 Read: 338 times  {Economic: Al Furat News} An economist expected an increase in the annual inflation rate for the month of January 2023 to reach more than 8.2%, “returning to it” the highest rise in Iraq in years.


“The annual inflation rate in the food sector amounted to 10.4%, while the annual inflation rate in the transportation sector amounted to 13.9%,” Manar Al-Obeidi said in a statement, which Al-Furat News received a copy of.


“As for the highest increase in inflation rates, it was in the electricity and water supply sector, as it increased by 34% compared to the previous year, while inflation rates in rents only increased by 1.6%,” he added.


Al-Obaidi pointed out, “The only two sectors that witnessed a decrease in inflation rates are the telecommunications sector, which decreased by 11%, and the maintenance services sector, which decreased by 1.4%.”    LINK


Ammar Al-Hakim: The Size Of Our Budget Is The Largest In The History Of The Country And The Third In The Arab World


Policy  |Yesterday, Baghdad today – Baghdad  Today, Thursday, the leader of the Wisdom Movement, Ammar al-Hakim, considered that Iraq is witnessing unprecedented security stability, and the size of its budget is the largest in the country’s history and the third in the Arab world.


Al-Hakim said in a televised statement followed by “Baghdad Today”, that “we are witnessing unprecedented security stability,” noting that “the current budget is the largest budget in the history of Iraq and the third in the Arab world.”


He added that “the previous election law seemed unfair and deprived two-thirds of the voters from voting,” noting that “the religious authority said look for a fair election law.”  Al-Hakim considered that “the new election law encourages the merger of large forces with small ones.”   LINK


“The Crisis Is Reeling.” The Iraqi Government’s Moves Collide With The Wall Of The Dollar


Economy  |Yesterday, Baghdad today – Baghdad  On the seventh of last month, the Iraqi authorities decided to raise the value of the official exchange rate of the dinar against the dollar by 10 percent, from about 1470 dinars to 1300 dinars per dollar, but after weeks of the decision, the exchange rate in the local market is still very high and far from official price.


The exchange rate in what is known as the parallel market (private exchanges and currency dealers) currently exceeds the barrier of 1550 dinars to one dollar, which made many question the Iraqi authorities’ measures to control the market.


The Iraqi currency crisis began last November when the Federal Reserve (US Central Bank) in New York approved stricter controls on international transactions in dollars for Iraqi commercial banks.


The move was aimed at stemming the illegal flow of dollars into Iran and putting more pressure, along with US sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear program and other disputes, making it more difficult for Tehran to obtain dollars.


Under the new restrictions, Iraqi banks must use an online platform to disclose their transactions and details about the sender and recipients.


US officials can intercept suspicious transfer requests.


Financial experts and officials confirm that these measures created a gap, as banks, which were reluctant to register on the electronic platform, resorted to free markets in Baghdad to buy dollars, which created a deficit and exceeded demand for supply.


Economic expert and academic Abdul Rahman Al-Mashhadani says, “There are two main problems that caused the continuation of the crisis. The first is to punish some private banks and remove them from the currency window, and the second is to implement the electronic platform in which an audit takes place in several stages.”


Al-Mashhadani adds, “The unwillingness of Iraqi private banks to work according to the electronic platform or to deal with the requirements of the Federal Reserve has caused many foreign transfers to be rejected.”


And he continues, “At one stage, the rejection rate, whether by the Federal Reserve Bank or the Central Bank of Iraq, reached about 80 percent of the transfers required to finance foreign trade.”


Al-Mashhadani points out that “the exchange rate of the dinar will not stabilize soon, given that the government’s measures are far from resolving the crisis and were not serious,” describing them as the closest thing to a “patchwork” and aimed at solving the problem “temporarily and not radically.”


In late December, the Central Bank of Iraq approved a package of measures to control the stability of the exchange rate against the dollar, including facilitating the financing of private sector trade in dollars through Iraqi banks, and opening outlets for selling foreign currency in government banks to the public for travel purposes.


The bank called on merchants at the time to deal “with banks directly and not to resort to brokers and speculators to avoid charging their imports with undue commissions and expenses.”


And Iraqi government officials confirmed on more than one occasion that achieving stability in the exchange rate will not last long.


In subsequent statements, the Advisor to the Prime Minister for Financial Affairs, Mazhar Muhammad Salih, confirmed that “the central bank’s packages will speed up the levels of meeting the demand for foreign currency,” explaining that the rise in prices in the parallel market is “artificial and based on false information that is called colored noise and does not match the strength of the situation.” financial”.


But Al-Mashhadani believes that “the estimates of the Central Bank of Iraq were wrong when it talked about the return of the exchange rate and its regularity within a month of applying the new rate.” He predicted that “Iraq will need at least three to four months to achieve this.”


Last Tuesday, the governor of the Central Bank of Iraq, Ali Al-Alaq, said that “a decrease in the exchange rate of the parallel dollar will occur during the coming period.”


Al-Alaq stated that “the Central Bank launched several packages of measures, and that the packages that were launched are being dealt with seriously to control the parallel dollar exchange rate.”


However, a member of the Parliamentary Finance Committee, Jamal Cougar, has a different opinion, as he believes that “government measures are not sufficient to reduce the gap between the market price and the official price.”


Cougar says, “The disparity is very large, and the government’s steps did not have much impact on the value of the dinar, and it is useless so far.”


He adds that “the Iraqi government has not been able to overcome the obstacles faced by merchants in order to ensure the speedy arrival of their remittances to the final beneficiary.”


He pointed out the existence of “significant corruption operations in private banks, which began to deal with owners of large capitals in order to divide the profits generated from the difference between the two prices, the official and the parallel.”


The Central Bank of Iraq allowed banks and private exchange companies to buy dollars at the official rate and sell them to merchants who meet the conditions at a small profit margin.


However, what is happening on the ground is that some banks buy millions of dollars from the Central Bank in cooperation with some merchants, and then sell it in the local market at a profit margin of more than two hundred and fifty dinars per dollar, according to Cougar.


Cougar also referred to “the continuation of dollar smuggling, with the complicity of large investors, merchants, and some banks.”


Cougar said, “Members of the Finance Committee sat down with the governor of the Central Bank and other officials, and we told them about these concerns, but they have not been resolved until today.”


Cougar believes that “the exchange rate crisis will continue to fluctuate between advancing one step and retreating two steps back,” stressing that the country “needs strong and deterrent government measures to control borders to prevent smuggling.”


Cougar accused “influential political parties of standing behind currency smuggling operations in cooperation with large banks that represent fronts for political parties and figures.”  LINK


Fears Of An Oversupply Of Oil Will Plummet… Prices Stand At $75


Economy   |Today, 09:24  Baghdad today – follow-up   Oil prices fell today, Friday, extending the losses of the previous day, due to fears of a possible oversupply, after US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said that it may take years to replenish the US strategic oil reserves .


And by 0039 GMT, Brent crude futures fell 48 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $ 75.43 a barrel, and West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 52 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $ 69.44 a barrel .


And the two raw materials are still on the way to record weekly gains ranging between three and four percent, to recover from the largest weekly decline in months last week due to the banking sector crisis and fears of a possible recession .


Granholm told members of the House of Representatives on Thursday that it will be difficult to take advantage of lower oil prices this year. Sales under President Joe Biden’s direction last year pushed oil stocks to their lowest since 1983 .


The White House announced in October that it would buy back oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve when prices were in the range of $67-$72 a barrel or lower.   LINK