Central_Bank_of_Iraq_LogoBaghdad (IraqiNews.com) The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) currency auction on April 30 registered $174,367,874 in sales, a -17.35% volume decline from the US $210,966,911 sold by Iraqi Dinar, credit and transfer at the previous auction held on April 29.

The latest auction was attended by 45 banks and 9 remittance companies. The same institutions attended the auction held on April 30 compared to the previous auction.

Data for the April 30 auction was made public by CBI Announcement Number 3689.

Dollar sales in the in the period January 1, 2018 to April 30, 2018 saw an increase of -1% compared to the sales of US $11.64 billion in the same period in 2017. The total amount of US currency sold by CBI in the calendar year 2017 was US $15.7 billion.

An analysis of the monthly dollar sales by CBI since January 2016 reveals highly fluctuating volumes. During the period from January 2016 to April 2018, sales of US dollars averaged US $1.9 billion per month. Peak volumes were reached in May this year when sales touched US $2.3 billion.

Year Month US dollar sales in billions Increase/(decrease) compared to the previous month
2017 January 2.2
2017 February 2 -9%
2017 March 2.1 5%
2017 April 1.8 -14%
2017 May 2.3 28%
2017 June 0.6 -74%
2017 July 2.2 267%
2017 August 2.1 -5%
2017 September 1 -52%
2017 October 2.2 120%
2017 November 1.9 -14%
2017 December 1.9 0%
2018 January 2.2 16%
2018 February 2 -9%
2018 March 1.9 -5%
2018 April 2 5%

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Iraq Targets Terrorism Financing with Blacklist

By Wassim Bassem for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News

The UN’s committee overseeing sanctions on the Islamic State and al-Qaeda has approved an Iraqi request to include Al-Kawthar Money Exchange and its owner Umar al-Kubaysi, as well as Salem Mustafa Mohammed al-Mansour, aka Salem al-Afri, on the UN sanctions list.

On April 17, 2017, the Central Bank of Iraq announced the inclusion of Al-Kawthar Money Exchange and its owner in its blacklist as a result of their support for terrorist groups.

Parliament member Majida al-Tamimi, who serves in the finance committee, told Al-Monitor that Iraq is pursuing the inclusion of “other individuals and companies in the list of UN sanctions upon proof of their funding of IS.”

She said, “I have a lot of documents that confirm the involvement of figures, organizations and banking companies in the support of terrorism.” She declined to name them but confirmed that the government is looking closely at money transfer services, saying, “Funds are sent by parties in Turkey and the Gulf countries and end up in the hands of IS leaders.”

She went on, “Money transfers are done through legal channels because those involved carry official identity cards with clear names and documented information, and they use official methods for transferring the money. Also, contacts are made through new and cheap technologies that enable them to carry out money transfers quickly and easily.”

She revealed that around 45 lawsuits have been filed against money transfer services “in the wake of accusations that were reinforced by Iraqi intelligence.”

While Tamimi predicted that “Iraq will succeed in drying up the sources of terrorism,” Wathiq Jabri, adviser for the Iraqi Center for Media Development, told Al-Monitor that the information in his possession indicates that the Iraqi state is working on names to include in the domestic and UN sanctions list.

He added, “The inclusion of these companies has a decisive impact on the Iraqi and global arenas in terms of cutting off the funds going to IS, especially as the money transfer companies and the financing means are transboundary and multinational.”

“The inclusion of companies on the list of UN sanctions is perceived as progress by Iraqi diplomacy in persuading the international community to fight terrorism,” he noted.

The role of small exchange offices associated with IS seems to have been critical in securing funding, especially in 2014 and 2015, allowing IS to take part in currency auctions organized by the Central Bank of Iraq. IS earned hundreds of millions of dollars in profits this way. According to the French authorities, more than 200 exchange offices in Lebanon and Turkey finance IS’ activities.

Furat al-Tamimi, parliamentarian for the province of Diyala, said in a 2017 press statement, “After its defeat in Iraq, IS is resorting to kidnappings to fund the activities of its dormant cells, and that the ransoms it obtains from the kidnappings amounted to about $45 million in 2017 alone.”

Meanwhile, Iskandar Watout, a member of the parliamentary security committee, told Al-Monitor, “IS has increased its kidnappings in the past couple of months through external roads, the outskirts of cities in the north of Baghdad and areas adjacent to the Kurdistan region, and these currently serve as the main source of funding for the organization.”

He went on, “The security services have monitored antiquities smuggling and trafficking operations carried out by traders who finance IS and smuggle antiquities in the desert far from security control in Mosul and Anbar.”

He pointed to another source of terrorist financing: drug trafficking. He stressed, “Iraqi intelligence agencies have accurate intelligence on the parties and figures that fund IS,” but refused to name any, citing ongoing legal proceedings in Iraq and abroad.

Al-Qadaa newspaper reported April 9, “The terrorist organizations have close links with organized criminal gangs that specialize in money transfers and laundering and the smuggling of people across countries.”

IS seems to be financially hanging on. The Economist reported Feb. 23 that IS still had a lot of money after managing to smuggle $400 million into Turkey and other countries after its defeat in Iraq and Syria. Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Mohammed Shayyah al-Sudani revealed March 24, “A ministry official in Mosul served as a minister within IS,” and noted, “There are employees at the ministry who worked for IS during its control of the city.”

(Picture: Iraqi dinars, from Wollertz/Shutterstock)


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Central_Bank_of_Iraq_LogoBaghdad (IraqiNews.com) The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) currency auction on April 29 registered $210,966,911 in sales, a 6.84% volume increase from the US $197,457,640 sold by Iraqi Dinar, credit and transfer at the previous auction held on April 26.

The latest auction was attended by 45 banks and 9 remittance companies. The same institutions attended the auction held on April 29 compared to the previous auction.

Data for the April 29 auction was made public by CBI Announcement Number 3687.

Dollar sales in the in the period January 1, 2018 to April 29, 2018 saw an increase of -1% compared to the sales of US $11.5 billion in the same period in 2017. The total amount of US currency sold by CBI in the calendar year 2017 was US $15.7 billion.

An analysis of the monthly dollar sales by CBI since January 2016 reveals highly fluctuating volumes. During the period from January 2016 to April 2018, sales of US dollars averaged US $1.89 billion per month. Peak volumes were reached in May this year when sales touched US $2.3 billion.

Year Month US dollar sales in billions Increase/(decrease) compared to the previous month
2017 January 2.2
2017 February 2 -9%
2017 March 2.1 5%
2017 April 1.8 -14%
2017 May 2.3 28%
2017 June 0.6 -74%
2017 July 2.2 267%
2017 August 2.1 -5%
2017 September 1 -52%
2017 October 2.2 120%
2017 November 1.9 -14%
2017 December 1.9 0%
2018 January 2.2 16%
2018 February 2 -9%
2018 March 1.9 -5%
2018 April 1.9 0%

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IBBC Spring Conference a Huge Success

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) held its annual Spring Conference at the Mansion House in London and a newly formatted second day forum for Iraqi and UK SMEs to discuss business opportunities at the Royal Overseas League on the 24th and 25th of April.

The event proved to be a huge success, with record attendances and expert speaker contribution fully captivating the positive and progressive forecast for Iraq in 2018. The Conference was chaired by Rasmi Al Jabri, Deputy Chairman and Iraq representative of IBBC, who’s significant standing in Iraq was fundamental to the success of the event.

The first day of the conference, entitled ‘Iraq: Building a diversified and modern economy’ was held at the Mansion House, home of the Lord Mayor of London and featured numerous Iraqi and UK politicians, industry experts, academics, government advisers and more. The day featured the newly incorporated roundtable discussions, which facilitated greater face time with industry experts and politicians and more in-depth discussions.

The main panel sessions focused on a wide range of sectors and industries to fully address the investment opportunities, need for diversification of the economy and progress of Iraq over the last year:

SESSION 1: FinanceMajor projects – the criteria for and process of obtaining finance for projects in Iraq

SESSION 2: TechnologyDeveloping Iraq’s digital economy’

SESSION 3: Energy and IndustryThe need for locally available products and services – how two sectors can help diversify Iraq’s Economy’

SESSION 4: Education and TrainingDeveloping human capital in Iraq’

A high-level delegation from the Government of Iraq was present, including H.E. Mohammed Shyaa Al-Sudani, Minister of Social Affairs & Acting Minister of Industry and Minerals, Mr Khadhem Al Hassani, Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister of Iraq and H.E. Dr Salih Husain Ali Al Tamimi, the Iraqi Ambassador to the UK, who were all invited to give opening addresses to IBBC Members and guests at the conference.

H.E. Dr Abdul Kariem Al Faisal, Chairman of the PM’s Advisory Commission and Mr Abbas Nasser, Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Transport and H.E. Nawzad Hadi, Governor of Erbil also attended the first day of the conference and held RoundTable discussions with IBBC Member representatives.

Several UK Government officials participated, including Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, The Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iraq, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and IBBC President, Jonathan Wilks CMG, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Republic of Iraq and Baroness Fairhead CBE, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, Department for International Trade, which demonstrates the continuing trend of increased bilateral trade and relations over the last few years between the UK & Iraq.

(Source: IBBC)


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Central_Bank_of_Iraq_LogoBaghdad (IraqiNews.com) The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) currency auction on April 26 registered $197,457,640 in sales, a 21.58% volume increase from the US $162,405,813 sold by Iraqi Dinar, credit and transfer at the previous auction held on April 25.

The latest auction was attended by 45 banks and 9 remittance companies. The same institutions attended the auction held on April 26 compared to the previous auction.

Data for the April 26 auction was made public by CBI Announcement Number 3686.

Dollar sales in the in the period January 1, 2018 to April 26, 2018 saw an increase of -1% compared to the sales of US $11.36 billion in the same period in 2017. The total amount of US currency sold by CBI in the calendar year 2017 was US $15.7 billion.

An analysis of the monthly dollar sales by CBI since January 2016 reveals highly fluctuating volumes. During the period from January 2016 to April 2018, sales of US dollars averaged US $1.89 billion per month. Peak volumes were reached in May this year when sales touched US $2.3 billion.

Year Month US dollar sales in billions Increase/(decrease) compared to the previous month
2017 January 2.2
2017 February 2 -9%
2017 March 2.1 5%
2017 April 1.8 -14%
2017 May 2.3 28%
2017 June 0.6 -74%
2017 July 2.2 267%
2017 August 2.1 -5%
2017 September 1 -52%
2017 October 2.2 120%
2017 November 1.9 -14%
2017 December 1.9 0%
2018 January 2.2 16%
2018 February 2 -9%
2018 March 1.9 -5%
2018 April 1.8 -5%

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Positive Indicators at IBBC Conference

By Padraig O’Hannelly.

At a major Iraqi business event in London on Tuesday, there was a strong sense that Iraq’s perceived risk profile is improving, and that this is an excellent time to do business in the country.

Nearly 300 delegates attended the Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC)s Spring Conference at the Mansion House, which focused on “building a diversified and modern economy“, with many of those flying in from Iraq specially for the occasion.

This record attendance was just one of the positive indicators in evidence at the event, with speakers pointing to improved security, better relations between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the central government in Baghdad, and a growing trend towards up-skilling and capacity building in the local population; here at Iraq Business News, we’ve seen a positive indicator of our own, with a 15 percent increase in our website traffic over the past year.

Closing the conference’s first day, IBBC Managing Director Christophe Michels also drew attention to the growing number of companies joining his organisation, and a much more relaxed atmosphere in Iraq’s major cities.

The second day of the conference also saw a full house at the Royal Overseas League to discuss business opportunities for Iraqi and British small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

(Picture: Baroness Fairhead CBE, UK Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion, addressing the conference.)


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Central_Bank_of_Iraq_LogoBaghdad (IraqiNews.com) The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) currency auction on April 25 registered $162,405,813 in sales, a -5.05% volume decline from the US $171,046,500 sold by Iraqi Dinar, credit and transfer at the previous auction held on April 24.

The latest auction was attended by 45 banks and 9 remittance companies. The same institutions attended the auction held on April 25 compared to the previous auction.

Data for the April 25 auction was made public by CBI Announcement Number 3685.

Dollar sales in the in the period January 1, 2018 to April 25, 2018 saw an increase of -1% compared to the sales of US $11.21 billion in the same period in 2017. The total amount of US currency sold by CBI in the calendar year 2017 was US $15.7 billion.

An analysis of the monthly dollar sales by CBI since January 2016 reveals highly fluctuating volumes. During the period from January 2016 to April 2018, sales of US dollars averaged US $1.88 billion per month. Peak volumes were reached in May this year when sales touched US $2.3 billion.

Year Month US dollar sales in billions Increase/(decrease) compared to the previous month
2017 January 2.2
2017 February 2 -9%
2017 March 2.1 5%
2017 April 1.8 -14%
2017 May 2.3 28%
2017 June 0.6 -74%
2017 July 2.2 267%
2017 August 2.1 -5%
2017 September 1 -52%
2017 October 2.2 120%
2017 November 1.9 -14%
2017 December 1.9 0%
2018 January 2.2 16%
2018 February 2 -9%
2018 March 1.9 -5%
2018 April 1.7 -11%

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Central_Bank_of_Iraq_LogoBaghdad (IraqiNews.com) The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) currency auction on April 24 registered $171,046,500 in sales, a -9.73% volume decline from the US $189,478,345 sold by Iraqi Dinar, credit and transfer at the previous auction held on April 23.

The latest auction was attended by 45 banks and 9 remittance companies. The same institutions attended the auction held on April 24 compared to the previous auction.

Data for the April 24 auction was made public by CBI Announcement Number 3684.

Dollar sales in the in the period January 1, 2018 to April 24, 2018 saw an increase of -1% compared to the sales of US $11.05 billion in the same period in 2017. The total amount of US currency sold by CBI in the calendar year 2017 was US $15.7 billion.

An analysis of the monthly dollar sales by CBI since January 2016 reveals highly fluctuating volumes. During the period from January 2016 to April 2018, sales of US dollars averaged US $1.87 billion per month. Peak volumes were reached in May this year when sales touched US $2.3 billion.

Year Month US dollar sales in billions Increase/(decrease) compared to the previous month
2017 January 2.2
2017 February 2 -9%
2017 March 2.1 5%
2017 April 1.8 -14%
2017 May 2.3 28%
2017 June 0.6 -74%
2017 July 2.2 267%
2017 August 2.1 -5%
2017 September 1 -52%
2017 October 2.2 120%
2017 November 1.9 -14%
2017 December 1.9 0%
2018 January 2.2 16%
2018 February 2 -9%
2018 March 1.9 -5%
2018 April 1.6 -16%

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Iraq’s Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi talks to journalists during a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, Austria, November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraq has retracted on buying Morocco’s only oil refinery, citing a non-encouraging technical report on the project, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

London-based The New Arab newspaper, quoting “informed sources” said Iraqi pulled back on a deal to take over Morocco’s SAMIR refinery, saying that the commercial court in Casa Blanca gave the receiver three more months to sell the group managing the refinery, explaining that this was the eighth time a moratorium was given for the measure.

It added that BP Energy and another European firm were still willing to make an offer for the refinery after Iraq’s withdrawal which the newspaper, quoting official Iraqi sources, attributed to a “non-encouraging technical assessment that highlighted the halt in the refinery’s operations since 2015.
Morocco’s authorities condition, for SAMIR’s sale, the reactivation of the refinery and maintaining the employment of 825 workers. The government sets a price of USD2.6 billion for the sale.

SAMIR has been under judicial receivership after its debts stood at USD4.3 billion.
Saudi Coral Petroleum had bought the group as part of a privatization scheme for USD450 million.

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Central_Bank_of_Iraq_LogoBaghdad (IraqiNews.com) The Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) currency auction on April 23 registered $189,478,345 in sales, a 1.59% volume increase from the US $186,511,150 sold by Iraqi Dinar, credit and transfer at the previous auction held on April 22.

The latest auction was attended by 45 banks and 9 remittance companies. The same institutions attended the auction held on April 23 compared to the previous auction.

Data for the April 23 auction was made public by CBI Announcement Number 3683.

Dollar sales in the in the period January 1, 2018 to April 23, 2018 saw an increase of -1% compared to the sales of US $11.05 billion in the same period in 2017. The total amount of US currency sold by CBI in the calendar year 2017 was US $15.7 billion.

An analysis of the monthly dollar sales by CBI since January 2016 reveals highly fluctuating volumes. During the period from January 2016 to April 2018, sales of US dollars averaged US $1.87 billion per month. Peak volumes were reached in May this year when sales touched US $2.3 billion.

Year Month US dollar sales in billions Increase/(decrease) compared to the previous month
2017 January 2.2
2017 February 2 -9%
2017 March 2.1 5%
2017 April 1.8 -14%
2017 May 2.3 28%
2017 June 0.6 -74%
2017 July 2.2 267%
2017 August 2.1 -5%
2017 September 1 -52%
2017 October 2.2 120%
2017 November 1.9 -14%
2017 December 1.9 0%
2018 January 2.2 16%
2018 February 2 -9%
2018 March 1.9 -5%
2018 April 1.5 -21%

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