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Iraq Economic News and Points to Ponder Thursday Afternoon 2-29-24

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The Central Bank Sends A Warning To Exchange Companies
Economy News – Baghdad  The Central Bank issued a warning to exchange companies about some people impersonating people to pressure some employees to obtain dollars for travelers.

The bank said in the directive, “We would like to inform you that individuals and networks have been detected carrying out fraudulent operations claiming that they work in this bank or that they have a certain influence on officials or employees of this bank and are trying to impersonate them to put pressure on some institutions in order to obtain the dollar for travelers or others.” Conducting money transfers or other activities.

He added, “In this regard, the Central Bank of Iraq confirms that all allegations made by these parties are false and baseless and must be reported immediately through available means, regardless of the status of the person or group, and that the bank’s management and employees at all levels do not represent them, represent them, or mediate on their behalf by any person.”

Regardless of their connection to it, this bank does not bear responsibility towards those who are subjected to fraudulent and fraudulent operations, as they are essentially illegal, in addition to the caution, caution, and investigation of the validity of the allegations and documents.”
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207 Trillion Dinars.. How Can The Assets Of The Central Bank Of Iraq Be Preserved And What Are The Risks?

Economy  02-29-2024 1,011 views   Al-Sumaria News – Economy   After the assets of the Central Bank of Iraq rose to 207 trillion Iraqi dinars, questions arose about how to preserve them and whether the political positions of the Iraqi state are related.

The assets of the Central Bank of Iraq rose to 207 trillion Iraqi dinars, according to new economic statistics seen by Al-Sumaria News.

According to the head of the Future Iraq Foundation for Economic Research and Consultation, Manar Al-Obaidi, the mechanism of formation of these assets must be known, as the first process carried out by the Central Bank of Iraq is the issuance of cash currency, which it usually sells to various government and private agencies, “if any.”

Al-Obaidi added, “The largest buyer of the exported cash currency is the Iraqi government, which needs the local monetary mass as a result of a major dilemma that it has not been able to solve for years, which is that most of the state’s revenues are in US dollars as a result of the state’s revenues being dependent on oil, while most of the state’s expenditures are in Iraqi dinars.”

Therefore, the Central Bank buys foreign currency from the Iraqi government and converts it into assets in exchange for giving the exported cash currency to the Iraqi government to spend according to the sections set in the budget, according to Al-Obaidi, who confirmed that this money is in foreign currency, and the Central Bank resells it through banks for foreign commercial transactions and to collect the dinar. From banks.

Al-Obaidi stated that if there is a surplus of foreign currency at the Central Bank, it invests it in a way that ensures, first, the absence of any kind of risk, and second, investing it in institutions that provide the greatest amount of benefits and returns.

Therefore, according to its established policy, the Central Bank cannot invest this money except in guaranteed international bodies and institutions, or it can invest it in precious and stable metals, specifically gold, since the origin of all monetary currencies is gold, according to Al-Obaidi.

The division of the bank’s assets according to their investment locations represents the strength of the central bank and therefore the strength of the issued monetary currency, according to Al-Obaidi, who revealed that it is not possible in any way to put all the money in one basket, such as buying gold, although buying gold is the safest reserve, but the fluctuation of gold prices against the dollar It may lead to not creating a significant interest from the investment, so the bank resorts to distributing its assets into gold reserves, deposits in foreign banks with very high credit ratings, deposits in foreign central banks of countries with very high credit ratings, bonds and securities, and deposits with various financial institutions.

Al-Obaidi explained, “The most dangerous section of the bank’s assets currently in terms of non-recovery are the obligations of the Ministry of Finance amounting to 44 trillion dinars. In previous years, as a result of the state’s weak revenues from oil due to its low prices and the high government expenditure bill, the Iraqi government was forced to borrow from the Central Bank of Iraq to cover its expenses, and with improvement.” Oil prices and increased government revenues.

The government has not reduced its obligations to the Central Bank, and in the event of a return to a decline in oil prices, it may be very difficult to return this money,” indicating that the rest of the other investments, such as bonds and deposits in foreign banks, are the safest and there are no major risks. economically”.

Risks may result from the presence of an emergency political circumstance that causes the central banks of the countries in which these funds and deposits are located to reserve and freeze these reserves, as happened to Iraq in the nineties and also what happened to Iran and Russia, according to Al-Obaidi, and he adds that preserving the components of the central bank, which includes a large part of it. Its reserves depend on the political position of the state and the political dealings of the state before it is economic.

In response to the question that is always asked why the Central Bank of Iraq does not invest its assets in institutions outside American control, such as Chinese or Asian institutions, Al-Obaidi explained that the answer, as I mentioned, depends on the credit strength of these institutions and countries, and there are also some investments in financial institutions in Singapore, Malaysia, and China. But not all investments can be placed and withdrawn from Western banks because of their impact on Iraqi-Western relations.

Al-Obaidi said, “The problem is not how investments are distributed and the attempt to withdraw them from Western banks.

The problem is American hegemony over the world, which makes the first country economically, namely China, invest more than $800 billion in American treasury bonds and is considered the second holder of these bonds after Japan, despite… All economic conflict cannot completely abandon the dominance of the US dollar,” he added, “Whenever major and giant countries are able to get rid of American hegemony, then let us think about getting rid of this hegemony as well if it conflicts with the interests of Iraq.”

He stated, “Demanding that Iraq, which is politically, economically and security-fragile as a unit, detach itself from American hegemony and the dominance of the dollar, without a global trend to create another economic pole, is a type of economic and political suicide currently. So let us wait what the results of BRICS will be, as it is the only initiative today to find an alternative to the dollar.

Will this be able to do so?” Countries can break away from the dominance of the dollar, and then a direction and strategy can be developed for Iraq to distribute its investments among various countries. Is it really in Iraq’s interest to break away from the American dollar?

Earlier, the head of the Future Iraq Foundation for Economic Research and Consultation, Manar Al-Obaidi, revealed the assets of the Central Bank of Iraq and said, they were as follows:

* Securities and bonds 71 trillion Iraqi dinars

* Debts to the Ministry of Finance 45 trillion Iraqi dinars

* Balances with external banks 26 trillion Iraqi dinars

* Balances with external central banks 24 trillion Iraqi dinars

* Loans granted within the Small and Medium Enterprises Initiative 12.6 trillion dinars

* Existing gold reserves 12 trillion dinars

* Accounts with international organizations 12 trillion Iraqi dinars

* Foreign exchange reserves in bank vaults 443 billion dinars

* Balances with banks Local 153 billion dinars

*Total assets 207 trillion Iraqi dinars.   LINK

The International Monetary Fund Promises To Support Digital Transformation In Iraq

Money  and business  Today, Thursday, the Iraqi delegation, headed by Finance Minister Taif Sami, concluded its discussions with the Article IV mission of International Monetary Fund experts in Amman.

The Ministry of Finance said in a press statement, “During the discussions, the implementation of the economic reform program and the improvements achieved by the Iraqi government in the field of development infrastructure, financial sustainability, and maximizing non-oil revenues were reviewed.”

The Iraqi delegation confirmed, according to the statement, that “the Fund promised to support development programs to advance public financial management, digital transformation, banking, retirement, and customs sectors, and to enhance private sector participation efforts through investment incentives, infrastructure, and reconstruction,” indicating “its intention to continue discussions and consultations during the Fund’s periodic annual meetings.” ”

The Fund’s mission praised “the achievement of good progress in many financial and monetary aspects and in the areas of transparency, control, provision of financial statements and rationalization of expenditures, in addition to the strong return of growth in the non-oil sector during 2023 with a noticeable decline in inflation rates, and this is reflected in the decline in food and energy prices.”

The mission noted “the positive developments in the return of trade financing operations to their normal path and the stability of the foreign exchange market following the implementation of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing controls on cross-border payments,”

welcoming “government plans aimed at strengthening public financial management, including welcoming “With the steps taken by the government towards establishing a unified treasury account, improving cash flow management and increasing the tax base, as well as reviewing the customs tariff structure and achieving more targeting in social support and care.”

The mission also expressed its optimism about “the level of understanding and progress achieved with the Iraqi government and the coordination steps and joint consultations that will be completed in the near term that will contribute to addressing the financial problems imposed by the circumstances of international conflicts and their accompanying economic impacts,” explaining that “purposeful structural reforms are continuing to stimulate economic diversification.” “Creating job opportunities led by the private sector is a pivotal factor in achieving sustainable and inclusive growth.”

According to the statement, priorities at this level include creating equal opportunities for the private sector by implementing reforms in banking and the electricity sector, reducing distortions in the labor market, and continuing to make efforts to strengthen governance and limit the spread of corruption.

It is noteworthy that Article IV consultations are bilateral meetings held annually between the International Monetary Fund and member states, after which a team of Fund experts meets the member country and conducts formal consultations with its officials.

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Provoking Points to Ponder on Decisions

Men and women everywhere must exercise deliberate selection to live wisely. – Robert Grant

Decision and determination are the engineer and fireman of our train to opportunity and success. – Burt Lawlor

The last of the human freedoms: to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.  – Viktor Frankl

Choice of attention … is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer. In both cases, a man is responsible for his choice and must accept the consequences, whatever they may be. – W. H. Auden

You are the one who must choose your place.  – James Lane Allen

Man does not simply exist, but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment.  – Viktor Frankl