Samon: US Advises Against attending Baghdad Int’l Fair

8th November, 2018

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has received a report that unspecified militia leaders have discussed plans for kidnapping U.S. citizens attending the 45th Baghdad International Fair, scheduled for November 10-19, 2018.

The militia leaders’ discussion included concealment techniques and ways of connecting the kidnappings to other entities with whom the militias possibly disagree with politically.  The Embassy has no further information regarding the timing, target, or method of any planned actions.

The Embassy goes on the advise people to avoid the Baghdad International Fair.

(Source: U.S. Embassy in Baghdad)   LINK


Don961:  Under the pretense of currency manipulation .. World banks before the judiciary

– 12 Hours Ago

A group of major investment institutions, including BlackRock and Pacific Investment Management of Allianz, are suing 16 banks for allegedly manipulating prices in the $ 5.1 trillion foreign exchange market.

The suit was filed Wednesday before the US Criminal Court in Manhattan, and the plaintiffs themselves decided to withdraw from a similar case that resulted in $ 2.31 billion in settlements with 15 of the 16 banks.

The adjustments came after investigations by regulatory bodies around the world led to fines of more than $ 10 billion on several banks, convictions of some dealers or charges.

The target banks are Bank of America, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Mitsubishi UFJ of Japan, Royal Bank of Canada, Royal Bank of Scotland, Societe Generale, Standard Chartered, , And “UBS”.

Prosecutors in the lawsuit accused banks of violating the US antitrust law by conspiring from 2003 to 2013 to manipulate currency indices, including closing prices for their own interests by sharing secret orders and trading centers.

The Norwegian Central Bank and the Grand Pension Fund of the California Teachers’ Retirement Commission are among a number of other plaintiffs.

The complaint said many plaintiffs planned to launch a similar suit in London against several banks for trading in Europe.

Citigroup’s $ 402 million settlement was the largest in the previous litigation, and Credit Suisse has yet to settle the case and there has been no comment so far on the new lawsuit on Wednesday.

The island     link


Don961:  Kuwait imports Iraqi gas

Economy ,  2018/11/09 10:12


Kuwait announced that the talks with the Iraqi side on the import of gas have reached the final stages, and that there is a project to raise the efficiency of refineries to produce high-value derivatives instead of heavy fuel.

“Talks with brothers in Iraq on the import of gas in the final stages,” Kuwait’s Al-Rai newspaper quoted Kuwaiti Oil, Electricity and Water Minister Bakheet Al-Rashidi as saying.
“The readiness of the Ministry of Electricity and Water in all its sectors, especially the maintenance sector, which is spread throughout the country to maintain the continuity of electricity under any circumstances.”

The Kuwaiti minister denied what was raised about the loss incurred by the refinery, because there is no coordination between the ministries concerned in relation to the operation of power plants, stressing that “this is not true at all, as the approach to gas in the interest of the Ministry of Electricity in the first place, In the second class. ”

Al-Rashidi said that “the Ministry of Electricity and Water’s approach to gas instead of fuel will be followed by the modernization or addition of new conversion units to Al-Zour refinery. These units will be very profitable compared to the production of heavy fuel.”

The Kuwaiti oil minister announced in February 2017 the agreement with Iraq on the import of 50 million cubic feet per day of natural gas as a first stage, among the former Iraqi oil minister Jabbar al-Allaibi, the date of signing the contract is linked to some logistics and prices.

The Iraqi government announced in August 2017, negotiating with Kuwait to supply gas instead of paying money to them as part of the compensation imposed on Baghdad.    link

Don961:  Refineries and geopolitical concerns could raise oil to $ 100

– 12 Hours Ago

Oil prices are expected to rise for the rest of the coming weeks, possibly to $ 80 a barrel, for reasons of oil refinery demand and geopolitical concerns, Citigroup said in a report on Tuesday.

The group said that high oil prices will occur due to the strong demand from refineries in November and December, despite the exemptions granted by America for a period of 6 months to eight of the nine countries importing Iranian oil, and Among these countries are India, Japan and Turkey.

Citigroup sees this period as usually ahead of winter, when demand for heating oil is rising in the United States, the EU, Japan and China, the most energy-consuming countries and affecting oil prices.

The US banking group believes that $ 80 per barrel on average is a reasonable price in the fourth quarter of this year, but has not ruled out a jump to $ 90 or $ 100 a barrel in the event of geopolitical turmoil in the main production areas in the Arab region or Venezuela, American missile on Iran’s oil more than is currently happening.

But the prospect of tightening Iran seems unlikely as the Democratic Party controls the House of Representatives. Oil traders now focus on the course of trade relations between Beijing and Washington, and whether there will be a settlement of the trade war between them, rather than on the Iranian ban, which has so far produced about 1 million bpd from the market.

So far, US sanctions have not affected Iran in oil prices as previously expected, as prices have fallen instead of rising. According to the British Financial Times, Iran’s exports reached 2.9 million bpd in April.The newspaper expects exports to have fallen by about one million barrels a day.

Analysts say that the Iranian oil embargo will not be effective in the short term on oil prices, because the Iranian regime has accumulated experience in resisting the embargo, and therefore prepared in advance the preparation of the US embargo through the establishment of a trade network in many countries.

According to a previous report to Reuters, Iranians may repeat purchases of passports in small countries, as in the past when a number of Iranian businessmen bought passports from the Comoros and registered companies and opened bank accounts and began to trade oil for the Iranian government before the US government to stop Such operations and the revocation of passports.

Although Iran has not yet completely banned the use of the SWIFT network, the Treasury has partially banned some of its institutions.

To deal with the total ban on Tehran, which prevents it from using the dollar in trade transactions, Iran has worked since last year to build a network of transactions with several countries to deal with the swap and equivalent deals not using the dollar, but local currencies. Among these countries are India, Russia, China and EU countries.

Iran has also made advance agreements with several countries in terms of oil sales, forcing the Trump administration to grant exemptions to countries that originally refused to apply sanctions. A process described by analysts as more like a face-saving and nothing more.

After the US sanctions came into force, the United States granted temporary exemptions to eight countries for the import of Iranian oil without any sanctions. These countries are China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey.

China imports more than 500,000 barrels per day, and India imports 501.982 barrels of oil per day, as well as Turkey, Italy and France, each of which imports more than 150,000 barrels per day.

Observers noted that the majority of countries that have been granted exemptions basically reject the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran, and some of them have agreements with Iran to deal with local currencies and beyond the dollar barrier.

The New Arab   link

Don961:  Russia plans to give up the dollar to face US sanction

– 16 Hours Ago

Moscow is stepping up efforts to halt its economy’s dependence on the dollar as Washington seeks more severe sanctions that would deprive Russia of access to foreign debt markets and cut off the greenback from its banks. Russian President Vladimir Putin has long condemned the dominance of the US currency on the world stage, but Russia’s previous efforts to stop its economy’s dependence on the dollar have so far failed.

Amid the fears of Russian business circles of a new round of US measures against Moscow, against the backdrop of annexation of the Crimea and the conflict in Ukraine, the Russian authorities have now taken concrete steps in the hope of achieving their old goal. The Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Russia are expected to shortly present to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev measures to increase the use of other currencies in international trade deliberations.

“We will definitely go in this direction, not because we want to undermine the dollar but because we want to ensure our security, because they are constantly imposing sanctions on us and simply depriving us of the opportunity to use the dollar,” Putin said last month.

Observers have warned that the mission to Russia is very ambitious, but an unpredictable US policy, new US sanctions on Iran, and Washington’s trade dispute with China can actually help Moscow. The French-based credit insurer Euler Hermes said in a recent report that “a large-scale dependence on the dollar would take an estimated 1.5-1.5 years.” Russia’s efforts to stop dependence on the dollar “may now be easier in a world of rising US protectionism,” she said.

“Russia’s dealings with the European Union and China, which account for about 60 percent of Russian foreign trade, can be transferred to the euro and the yuan, while transactions with the former Soviet Union can be conducted in rubles,” she said.

Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have repeatedly stressed their desire to increase the use of ruble and yuan in cross-border trade. In October, Russian authorities announced that they were preparing an agreement on the use of national currencies with China.

Sino-Russian trade in rubles and yuan has quadrupled in the past four years, although it still accounts for about 18 percent, according to Bank Ing.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said India would pay for Russia’s Russian S-400 surface-to-air missiles. In turn, the governor of the Russian Central Bank Elvira Nabiolina said that it wants to encourage banks to deal with the ruble.

Russia, which has been under US sanctions since 2014, has developed its own financial transaction system to protect itself from a possible ban on the use of Swift International’s secure messaging system.”More trade and dynamic trade between countries could strengthen the pattern of relinquishing the dollar, and a substantial and effective reduction of dollar payments has taken place over the years,” said Dmitry Bolivoy, chief economist at the sovereign wealth fund, the Russian direct investment fund.

“The Russian sovereign fund has pioneered the establishment of two funds with China to settle deals in the two national currencies. The first deal is due in 2019. Similar investment mechanisms can be established in other countries,” he told AFP. Central bank data showed that dollar payments for goods and services exports fell from 80 to 68 percent between 2013 and 2017. At the same time, the euro-denominated ratio rose from 9 to 16 percent, and the ruble ratio was 10 to 14 percent. The pattern is less obvious for imports, with dollar payments falling from 41 to 36 percent.

Russia will not be able to completely eliminate the dollar soon because its economy is still heavily dependent on oil, which is dollar-denominated, but has reduced US government debt assets by about $ 80 billion this year.

“Other measures may be to remove major Russian companies from foreign exchanges and increase gold and euro reserves,” Euler said. “There are still many obstacles to the use of national currencies. No one needs the Russian ruble in Croatia and the Croatian currency in Russia, but if there is an easy and effective mechanism to convert a currency directly into another currency,” said Oleg Cosmin, an economist at Renaissance Capital. It can then work in a good way. “   link