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Zig’s Place Chat and News Thursday AM 3-11-21

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Butterfly    Former Iraqi MP: the government must benefit from the high oil prices

butterfly  2021-03-11 06:59   Shafaq News / Former MP Sabah Al-Tamimi called on the Iraqi government to benefit from high oil prices and establish a sovereign emergency fund.

Al-Tamimi, a specialist in economic affairs, said in a statement, “the current prices of crude oil are heading towards an increase due to the recent data from the World Health Organization about the end of COVID-19 in June 2021, in addition to Saudi Arabia’s reduction of its daily production by one million barrels in the next two months, as well as the improvement in the profit margin of refiners”, noting,” the Iraqi government must take advantage of the US value’s decline against other major currencies.”

She stressed, “The need for the Iraqi government to take advantage of the high oil prices now to establish a sovereign emergency fund.”

Iraq relies by up to 95%, according to government estimates, on oil revenues.

Iraq’s oil exports in February reached more than 82 million barrels, at a daily production rate of 2 million and 960 thousand barrels per day, with initial financial incomes amounting to 5 billion dollars at a price rate of 60 dollars per barrel, according to the SOMO.   https://shafaq.com/en/Economy/Former-Iraqi-MP-the-government-must-benefit-from-the-high-oil-prices

butterfly  https://shafaq.com/en/Economy/Gold-prices-in-the-Iraqi-local-markets-today-5

Gold prices in the Iraqi local markets today Gold prices in the Iraqi local markets today

butterfly  2021-03-11 02:58  Shafaq News / gold prices in the Iraqi wholesale and retail markets for today, Thursday (March 11, 2021)  The prices in Al-Nahr Street wholesale markets in Baghdad (in Dinars)

Sale Purchase  one Mithqal (5 grams) of 21k of Gulf, Turkish and European gold 346,500 341,500

one Mithqal (5 grams) of 21k of Iraqi Gold 316,500 311,500

The prices in Baghdad goldsmiths’ shops (retail) (in Dinars)

Sale  one Mithqal (5 grams) of 21k of Gulf gold 350,000 – 360,000

one Mithqal (5 grams) of 21k of Iraqi Gold 320,000-330,000

butterfly  https://shafaq.com/en/Economy/Gold-scales-one-week-peak-as-dollar-US-yields-ease       Gold scales one-week peak as dollar, US yields ease

butterfly  2021-03-11 02:36   Shafaq News/ old prices rose on Thursday to their highest level in more than a week, after softer U.S. inflation data halted an advance in Treasury yields and the dollar.

Spot gold gained 0.4% to $1,733.46 per ounce by 0546 GMT, after hitting its highest since March 3 at $1,734.55 earlier. U.S. gold futures climbed 0.6% to $1,732.20.

“We got a little bit of a shot in the arm for gold, when the CPI (consumer price index) number came in a little bit softer the dollar surge abated and yields stopped climbing, that’s been a positive driver for gold,” said IG Market analyst Kyle Rodda.

Benchmark U.S. yields remained subdued, while the dollar eased after the CPI data on Wednesday did not change expectations that inflation will exceed the Federal Reserve’s 2% target.

Recent surge in yields has threatened gold’s status as a hedge against inflation, since it translates into higher opportunity cost of holding bullion, which pays no return

“Gold’s trend is still to the downside. We continue to see real yields pushing higher, driven by the optimism around economic recovery, as well as expectations that at some point…central banks will have to unwind policy support,” Rodda cautioned.

Investors are now awaiting a European Central Bank policy meeting later in the day to see if policymakers will take any action to reign in rising yields.

The $1.9 trillion U.S. COVID-19 relief bill was finally approved on Wednesday and is expected to supercharge the economic recovery.

“Sentiment for gold is still being driven by debt markets, in particular the 10-year U.S. yields,” said Michael Langford, director at corporate advisory AirGuide, adding there was greater upside in other assets like copper and small-cap equities than in gold in the short term.

Silver rose 0.5% to $26.30 an ounce. Palladium eased 0.1% to $2,303.11, while platinum gained 1.1% to $1,216.32.    Source: Reuters

butterfly  Basra Light Crude recorded about 68 US dollars


11 Mar 21, 08:47 AM butterfly  2021-03-11 02:23 Shafaq News/ Basra light crude witnessed an increase on Thursday to about 68 dollars per barrel, while heavy crude prices dropped.

Al Basra light crude exports to Asia fell to 67.14 dollars, in time the heavy crude witnessed a decrease to 63.50.

Saudi light crude reached 65.85 dollars per barrel, while the Emirati Merban amounted to 65.84 dollars, and the Algerian Saharan for 66.54 dollars, and the Nigerian Bonny light oil amounted to 67.04 dollars.

Global oil prices rose today, Brent crude oil amounted to 68.32 dollars and West Texas Brent crude reached 64.88 dollars.

butterfly  Dollar exchange rates in Iraq


butterfly  2021-03-11 01:47  Shafaq News / The dollar exchange rates jumped in the Iraqi market today, Thursday (March 11, 2021).

  • The Kifah Stock Exchange recorded 145,500 dinars, for $ 100.
  • The Al-Harthiya Stock Exchange recorded 145,500 dinars for 100 dollars.

In Baghdad  Selling prices in the banking stores in the local markets

  • Sale price: 146,000 dinars for $ 100  • Purchase price: 145,000 dinars for $ 100

In Erbil  Selling prices in the banking stores in the local markets

  • Sale price: 145,800 dinars for $ 100  • Purchase price: 145,400 dinars for $ 100

butterfly  Russia’s LUKOIL to increase oil and gas production in 2021


butterfly  2021-03-11 00:44  Shafaq News/ Russia’s PJSC LUKOIL released on Thursday its audited consolidated financial statements for 2020.

The Russian Company LUKOIL has been affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic on different levels including crude oil production cut at the Company’s fields in Russia and certain international projects due to the new OPEC+ agreement; gas production cut in Uzbekistan due to temporarily lower demand for Uzbek gas from China; reduction of refinery throughput volumes due to lower refining margins owing to lower demand for refined products; and lower sales volumes of motor fuels through filling stations because of lower demand.

The main impact of the pandemic on the Company’s financial performance in 2020 is attributed to decline in prices for oil and refined products as well as lower production volumes.

According to the 2020 report, due to OPEC members and Russia’s agreement that aims to reduce the collective crude oil output by 9.7 million barrels per day starting from May 1, 2020 with subsequent gradual increase, the Company cut its crude oil production in Russia by approximately 310 thousand barrels per day as compared to the average daily production in the first quarter of 2020. By the end of 2020, the Company has gradually increased crude oil production in Russia by approximately 100 thousand barrels per day as compared to the level of May, 2020.

butterfly  Crude oil production was also reduced at certain international projects. In particular, production at the West Qurna-2 project in Iraq as at the end of 2020 was 90 thousand barrels per day lower than the project capacity.

“In the fourth quarter of 2020, profit attributable to shareholders amounted to RUB 29.4 bln, which is 41.6% lower quarter-on-quarter.

As a result, in 2020, the Company booked a profit in “the amount of RUB 15.2 bln compared to RUB 640.2 bln profit in 2019. Besides lower EBITDA, the profit was negatively influenced by non-cash assets impairment and foreign exchange losses.” The report said.

“Liquid hydrocarbons production excluding the West Qurna-2 project was 1,539 thousand barrels per day in the fourth quarter of 2020, which is 2.3% higher quarter-on-quarter.”

“As a result, in 2020 liquid hydrocarbons production totaled 1,598 thousand barrels per day, which is 10.5% lower year-on-year.”

According to the report, in 2020 gas production was 29.0 billion cubic meters, which is 17.2% lower year-on-year. Production decline was due to temporary decline in demand from China for gas produced in Uzbekistan amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

On refined products, in 2020 production of refined products in Russia was 38.1 million tonnes, which is 8.9% lower year-on-year due to scheduled maintenance works and throughput optimization at refineries.

butterfly  The company concluded in its financial report for 2020 that it aims to increase its oil and gas production by 2% in 2021 excepted in the West Qurna 2 project, taking into account the restrictions imposed on crude oil as part of Russia’s agreement with OPEC.

It’s noteworthy that West Qurna-2 field is located in the southern part of Iraq, 65 kilometers north-west of Basra, a major seaport city, and is one of the world’s largest fields. The field’s initial recoverable reserves come to around 14 billion barrels. More than 90% of the reserves are concentrated in Mishrif and Yamama accumulations.

butterfly  Oil prices rise on economic outlook, drawdown in fuel stocks


butterfly  2021-03-11 00:31  Shafaq News/ Crude oil prices rose on Thursday as vaccine rollouts bolstered the economic outlook and U.S. fuel stocks fell sharply, although gains were capped by a surge in crude oil inventories after last month’s Texas storm.

Brent crude oil futures for May rose 57 cents, or 0.84%, to $68.50 a barrel by 0505 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for April was up 54 cents, or 0.82%, at $64.98.

“Gasoline stocks fell… (which) provided the bullish offset and eventually sent oil prices higher on the strong demand for end products, hence an economic recovery,” said Stephen Innes, Chief Global Markets Strategist at Axi.

“Given the powerful signals from the U.S. re-opening narrative, it still suggests that the path of least resistance for oil prices is higher.”

U.S. gasoline stocks fell by 11.9 million barrels in the week to March 5 to 231.6 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said, compared with expectations for a 3.5 million-barrel drop.

Crude inventories, however, rose by 13.8 million barrels in the week to March 5 to 498.4 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for an 816,000-barrel rise, as the nation’s oil industry continued to feel the effects of a winter storm mid-February that stalled refining and forced production shut-ins in Texas.

Globally, stocks also remain ample with crude oil in storage at major land and sea hubs rising last week, according to analysts and ship trackers.

Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives gave final approval on Wednesday to one of the largest economic stimulus measures in American history, a sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that gives President Joe Biden his first major victory in office.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Wednesday said the kingdom would take deterrent action to protect its oil facilities, following attacks by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement on energy sites.

butterfly  https://shafaq.com/en/Iraq-News/Parliament-to-eliminate-the-Major-Obstacle-ahead-of-the-elections-MP-says    Parliament to eliminate the Major Obstacle ahead of the elections, MP says

butterfly  2021-03-11 07:04   Shafaq News/ The First Deputy Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, Hassan Karim Al-Kaabi, said that the Parliament has proceeded with the final steps to legislate the Federal Supreme Court law paving the way to the early elections.

Al-Kaabi’s office said in a statement received by Shafaq News Agency, “the latter received in his office the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Iraq, Jeanine Hennis Plasschaert, in the presence of Representative Enas Al-Maksousi. In the meeting, they discussed the cooperation between Iraq, the United Nations, and the electoral team in the mission in the file of the parliamentary elections.

Al-Kaabi added, “the Council of Representatives, in the coming days, will proceed to vote on the remaining articles of the Federal Supreme Court bill to eliminate the main obstacle withholding the early elections in the country, especially since the constitution limits the right to validate election results to the Federal Supreme Court.”

“Early elections must be held on the scheduled date, as it is a popular demand. The majority of the political blocs agreed to complete all preparations and requirements related to conducting them on the date set by the government on October 10 of this year.”

The deputy speaker called on the UN mission and all political forces to “cooperate with the members of the commission (High Electoral Commission) and provide all possible facilities to it away from political conflicts.”

For her part, Plasschaert expressed “the mission’s readiness to fully coordinate with the legislative and executive authorities and the committees in charge of the election file, and harness all capabilities that would lead to the success of all stages of the electoral process.”.

butterfly  https://shafaq.com/en/Iraq-News/Majority-voting-on-the-Budget-bill-complicates-the-political-scene-MP-says      Majority voting on the Budget bill complicates the political scene, MP says

butterfly  2021-03-11 04:19   Shafaq News/ The Head of Bayareq al-Khair bloc, Muhammad al-Khalidi, ruled out voting on the Budget bill by majority instead of acting by consensus, indicating that such step complicates the political scene.

Al-Khalidi said in a statement to Shafaq News Agency, “disputes related to Kurdistan Region’s share of the Federal Budget are not resolved yet, despite the continuing talks and negotiations.”

“Talking about a majority voting in Monday’s session can have serious implications and will complicate the political scene, in the parliament particularly.”

Al-Khalidi said, “the voting must consider the interests of all the communities in Iraq,” ruling out settling the issue in the next session on Monday.

butterfly  https://shafaq.com/en/Kurdistan/Kurdistan-s-Barzani-to-work-together-for-a-better-future  Kurdistan’s Barzani: to work together for a better future

butterfly  2021-03-11 01:28  Shafaq News / Kurdistan’s President Nechirvan Barzani said, on Thursday, that Iraqi–Kurdish Autonomy Agreement of 1970 is the first official Kurdish document in modern history, which forced the Iraqi government to grant autonomy to Kurdistan.

Barzani added in a statement, “Today we salute and honor the 51st anniversary of 1970 March Agreement, which was the outcome of the great September revolution and the continuous struggle and high will of the people of Kurdistan led by the immortal Barzani.”

“Using force and withdrawing from the March 11 agreement by the Iraqi government has increased the wars, destruction and disasters in Iraq, so let us take lessons from history when commemorating this memory and adhere to the constitution, partnership and cooperation between us to solve all problems, restore security, stability, development and ensure a better future.” He stressed.

Iraqi–Kurdish Autonomy Agreement of 1970 (or the Iraqi–Kurdish peace talks or the 1970 Peace Accord) was an agreement, which the Iraqi government and the Kurds reached March 11, 1970, in the aftermath of the First Iraqi–Kurdish War, for the creation of an Autonomous Region, consisting of the three Kurdish governorates and other adjacent districts that have been determined by census to have a Kurdish majority.

The plan also gave Kurds representation in government bodies, to be implemented in four years. For its time it was the most serious attempt to resolve the long-running Iraqi–Kurdish conflict.

butterfly  https://shafaq.com/en/Kurdistan/Kurdistan-Barzani-invites-Armenian-companies-to-Invest-in-Iraq-and-the-Region    Kurdistan ’Barzani invites Armenian companies to Invest in Iraq and the Region

butterfly  2020-11-03 03:45 Shafaq News / Nechirvan Barzani, President of Kurdistan Region met on Tuesday the Armenian Consul General in Erbil Arshak Manoukian, a statement by the Presidency said.

“Kurdistan invites Armenian capital and companies to invest in Iraq and the Region.” The statement quoted Barzani as saying.

Relations between Erbil and Baghdad, the terrorism, and the latest developments in the region were discussed between the two sided.

Barzani also expressed his wishes to deal peacefully with outstanding issues and disagreement so stability would return to the region.

Butterfly  https://ekurd.net/gasoline-prices-soar-iraqi-2021-03-11     Gasoline prices soar in Iraqi Kurdistan for second month in a row

Posted on March 11, 2021 Iraqi Kurdistan region,— Fuel prices rise across Iraqi Kurdistan Region for the second month in a row in response to Iraqi dinar devaluation and import tax, according to Kurdish officials.

Sulaimani Governor Haval Abubakir said on Thursday that rising gasoline prices are caused by the devaluation of the Iraqi dinar and the amount of tax placed by the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Natural Resources on fuel imports.

Abubakir said in a press conference that in terms of qualities, types, and prices of gasoline, Sulaimani is in a very good level compared to the other governorates in the Kurdistan Region.

Last month, the gasoline prices for all qualities rose 100 Iraqi dinars ($0.07) per liter.

The increase has angered local residents, who are under significant financial pressure as a result of deteriorating economic conditions and the KRG decisions to delay and cut public sector salary payments.

The price of propane gas, which is widely used for heating and cooking in Iraqi Kurdistan, has already gone up as a result of devaluation.

Iraqi Kurdistan produces an average of 450,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), according to the KRG PM Masrour Barzani, with 25,000 of this amount for local use.

butterfly  https://shafaq.com/en/Iraq-News/Iraq-paramilitaries-agree-to-stop-attacks-on-US-if-Al-Kadhimi-demands-withdrawal     Iraq paramilitaries agree to stop attacks on US if Al-Kadhimi demands withdrawal

butterfly   2021-03-11 13:02  Shafaq News/ After frantic meetings in Baghdad, Beirut and Tehran, Iranian-backed Iraqi paramilitaries have agreed to stop attacks against US forces in Iraq on the condition that Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Al-Kadhimi formally demands an American withdrawal, officials and faction commanders told Middle East Eye.

Al-Al-Kadhimi must tell Washington that the pullout has to be completed within 12 months, they added. Sources said it is likely that Al-Kadhimi will comply and make the formal request.

On 1 March, the armed factions announced the end of an unofficial armistice with US forces in Iraq that had largely held since October, despite a few violations.

Previously, attacks on US troops and their western allies in the anti-Islamic State (IS) group military coalition had been routine, as the paramilitaries sought to push the United States from Iraq.

However, a rocket attack on a military base in Erbil last month prompted the US to launch air strikes on a position just inside the Syrian border occupied by Kata’ib Hezbollah, the paramilitary group most hostile to Washington, and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, a smaller Shia faction.

Although the Iraqi armed factions declared that they had nothing to do with the Erbil attack, which killed a military contractor and wounded nine others, including a US soldier, the Pentagon pointed the finger of blame at Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada.

butterfly  The tit-for-tat attacks between the two sides resulted in a 3 March raid on Ain al-Assad, a base in western Anbar province that hosts the largest US presence, with at least 10 short-range BM-21 “Grad” missiles launched at the troops there.

The Iraqi military said the attack did not cause any casualties, but the Pentagon announced the next day that a US contractor had died after suffering a heart attack during the raid.

Al-Kadhimi’s embattled government, which has sought to limit the paramilitaries’ power and been targeted by them in return, has attempted to limit the fallout from such skirmishes and buy time for Washington and Tehran to begin negotiations to resume the 2015 nuclear deal, hoping they will calm the region.

This latest de-escalation agreement was made by a group of faction commanders known as the Coordinating Committee for the Resistance Factions, and the Iraqi government, sources said.

It stipulates that all attacks must cease and in return Al-Kadhimi will send a letter to the United Nations Security Council asking for the US-led coalition’s mission in Iraq to end, two of the parties that concluded the agreement told MEE.

Iranian and Lebanese parties, as well as an international organization operating in Iraq, helped bring the sides together, “one acting as a guarantor and another as a negotiator”, as an Iraqi official put it.

“Currently, all concerned parties [leaders of the Iranian-backed armed factions and the US forces] have agreed to calm,” one of the Iraqi negotiators told MEE.

“If any of these parties violates the agreement, then this means that it is a personal act and the perpetrator is considered outside the consensus, and it is dealt with on this basis.”

Middle East Eye has asked the US-led coalition for comment, but received no response by the time of publication.

butterfly  https://shafaq.com/en/Economy/OPEC-slashes-its-Q2-global-oil-demand-forecast     OPEC slashes its Q2 global oil demand forecast

butterfly  2021-03-11 10:42 Shafaq News / OPEC downgraded the outlook for demand for its crude over the next two quarters, in keeping with the group’s plans to keep a tight rein on supply.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries trimmed estimates for the amount of crude it will need to pump in the second quarter by 690,000 barrels a day, amid a weaker picture for demand and stronger growth in rival supply.

“Ongoing lockdown measures, voluntary social distancing and other pandemic-related developments” continue to weigh on economic activity, the group’s Vienna-based research department said in its monthly report. Conditions should improve in the second half of 2020, it added.

The wariness is consistent with last week’s decision by Saudi Arabia and its fellow producers across the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies. The coalition surprised traders and propelled prices to a 14-month high above $70 a barrel by largely refraining from restoring any more of the production halted during the coronavirus.

Crude traders had widely expected OPEC+ to agree to revive about 1.5 million barrels a day at last week’s meeting, and the shock move has divided observers on whether the alliance now risks over-heating global markets.

The report published on Thursday confirms that OPEC doesn’t share those concerns. The cartel reduced its overall forecasts for the volume of crude it will need to provide this year by 250,000 barrels a day, compared to last month’s report, to an average of 27.26 million a day.

butterfly  As the group is pumping considerably below this level, it should manage to deplete surplus oil inventories that accumulated during the pandemic.

Output from OPEC’s 13 members plunged by 647,000 barrels a day to 24.848 million a day last month, the report showed, as de facto leader Saudi Arabia implemented extra cutbacks to speed up the market’s rebalancing.

The kingdom said at the group’s last meeting on March 4 that, out of a sense of “caution,” these additional extra curbs will remain in place in April, and be reversed only gradually thereafter.

Still, OPEC expects the demand outlook to brighten in the second half of 2021. It boosted projections for global oil demand in the fourth quarter by 970,000 barrels a day, and requirements for its crude in that period by 400,000 a day.

“By the end of the first half, economic activity is expected to accelerate as the impact of the pandemic is expected to taper off,” the group wrote in its report. This momentum will be “supported by pent-up demand, especially in contact-intensive service sectors such as tourism and travel.”

That could allow OPEC to reverse some of the output restraints, which — including Riyadh’s additional cuts — now stand at about 8 million barrels a day, or roughly 8% of global supplies.

butterfly  https://shafaq.com/en/Iraq-News/Hussein-presents-a-briefing-on-NATO-s-mission-in-Iraq Hussein presents a briefing on NATO’s mission in Iraq

butterfly  2021-03-11 10:13  Shafaq News/ The Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fouad Hussein, outlined the aspects of the military and security cooperation between Iraq and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) before the latter’s council today, Thursday.

In a statement received by Shafaq News Agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein presented a hypothetical briefing via video conference technology to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), in which he focused on cooperation between NATO and Iraq and the mission of the NATO training mission in Iraq.”

The statement added, “NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg focused on discussions of the long-standing political and military dialogue between NATO and Iraqi officials, including his regular contacts with Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi and Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein.

Stoltenberg stressed, according to the statement, that the presence of NATO forces in Iraq is at the request of the Iraqi government in order to strengthen its institutions and security forces in order to be able to achieve stability in Iraq, fight terrorism and prevent the return of ISIS.

He pointed out that “the NATO mission in Iraq will continue to implement its activities in the field of advice, training and capacity building, and within full respect for the sovereignty of Iraq and territorial integrity and with the full approval of the Iraqi government and close coordination with other international actors, including the international coalition, the European Union and the United Nations.”

Secretary-General Stoltenberg congratulated Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein on the historic visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to Iraq, Noting that “the ambassadors of NATO member states and the partner countries participated in the meeting, namely Australia, Finland, and Sweden.”

butterfly  https://shafaq.com/en/Iraq-News/Political-blocs-suggest-holding-the-Parliamentary-and-the-provincial-elections-in-the-same-week Political blocs suggest holding the Parliamentary and the provincial elections in the same week

butterfly  2021-03-11 09:17  Shafaq News / The Iraqi Forces Bloc revealed that the political blocs tend to hold the Parliamentary and the provincial elections in the same week.

MP of the block, Raad Al-Dahlaki, told Shafaq News agency, “The provincial elections law is being discussed in the parliament.”

It is worth noting that the early parliamentary elections are scheduled for October 10.

Butterfly  https://ninanews.com/Website/News/Details?Key=893040

Al-Abadi in a televised statement: The crisis of confidence is not between the citizen and the political blocs only, but between the political blocs themselves  Thursday 11, March 2021 22:52

butterfly  Haider al-Abadi called for honesty with the citizen.

He said in a televised statement tonight that the trust crisis is not between the citizen and the political blocs only, but between the political blocs themselves. END/

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