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  1. Iraq has $70bn in reserves to keep economy afloat for 6 months to a year: MP 3 hours ago Zhelwan Z. Wali Central Bank of Iraq headquarters in Baghdad. File photo: Government of Iraq ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Baghdad can weather the economic impact of coronavirus and the collapse of world oil prices for six months to a year by dipping into foreign reserves worth $70 billion, a member of the Iraqi parliament’s finance committee told Rudaw. Even if the ongoing political deadlock in Baghdad is resolved and MPs pass the delayed 2020 budget, Iraq’s coffers are steadily being emptied by the coronavirus lockdown and a plunge in the price of oil – the government’s primary source of income. Sherwan Mirza, a Kurdish lawmaker and a member of the Iraqi parliament’s finance committee, told Rudaw on Saturday the country will weather the storm by dipping into its substantial foreign reserves. “In cases of emergency, Iraq will resort to its reserves available at the Central Bank amounting to $70 billion,” Mirza said. World oil prices fell below $30 per barrel last week as a result of a standoff between rival producers Saudi Arabia and Russia. At least 90 percent of Iraq’s federal funds come from oil sales. Analysts warn the ongoing political deadlock in Baghdad is anchoring Iraq to the spot when it ought to be preparing for rough economic seas ahead. “Iraq is able to bear the situation for around six months to one year to pay its civil servants and fund other sectors,” Mirza said. “Iraq is experiencing a bad economic situation. And if the situation continues, it will get worse. Around 93 percent of Iraq’s revenues come from oil sales.” Borrowing might be Iraq’s best chance of navigating these challenges, Mirza said. “Borrow money internally and externally to prepare to respond to the coronavirus threat on one hand, the fight against extremist groups such as Daesh [the Islamic State], which still maintains a presence, on the other, if the oil price continue to drop,” he said. Although the Islamic State group (ISIS) lost all of its urban strongholds in Iraq in late 2017 and in Syria in early 2019, ISIS remnants and sleeper cells continue to launch attacks against military and civilian targets in the disputed territories between federal Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. The massive reconstruction and stabilization effort Iraq requires has now been set back by the need to contain the coronavirus. As of Friday, the total number of confirmed cases nationwide has reached 458. Forty people have died and 122 have recovered since the outbreak began. Businesses have been forced to close and free movement curtailed, leaving many out of work and without a steady income. No budget Already three months into the year, parliament is yet to approve a budget plan for 2020. Mirza expects the terms of the 2019 budget will be carried over. Public sector workers in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region are concerned they will not be paid owing to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 lockdown and political disarray. “According to the 2019 budget law the Kurdistan Region’s employees will not face any problems as Baghdad sent the full 12-month salary of the KRG civil servants last year,” Mirza said. Another lawmaker has also predicted a 2020 budget won’t materialize given the collapse of world oil prices. “If the current crisis of oil continues, the Iraqi parliament will be unable to approve the 2020 budget plan,” Haitham al-Jiboury, head of the Iraqi parliament’s finance committee, told Rudaw English in a recent telephone interview. The KRG needs 894 billion dinars ($755.5 million) each month to pay its employees. More than half of the money, 453 billion dinars ($382.8 million), is paid by Baghdad. There have been frequent delays to employee salaries in recent years due to the ISIS conflict, repeated financial crises, and federal budget cuts. Deadlock Iraq has not had a fully-functioning government since last December, when caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi resigned in the face of mass protests over unemployment, corruption, and the lack of basic services. His replacement, Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, also resigned in early March after he failed to win parliamentary approval for his cabinet. The task has now fallen to former Najaf governor Adnan al-Zurfi – an unpopular choice among Iraq’s powerful Shiite blocs and anti-government protesters. The deadlock has hobbled Baghdad’s response to protester demands and post-war reconstruction. Conflict and insecurity continue to blight the country.
  2. OIL 26 Mar 2020 | 11:58 UTC Amman | Jordan Iraq asks IOCs to cut budgets by 30%, postpone payments due to oil price crash HIGHLIGHTS Letters sent to BP, ExxonMobil, Lukoil, Eni Basrah Oil wants payments cut in Q1, Q2 Iraq's crude prices have dropped to about $25/b Amman, Jordan — Iraq's state-run Basrah Oil Co. asked four international oil companies operating in OPEC's second-biggest crude producer to cut budgets by 30% and postpone payments to subcontractors due to the oil price crash. Register Now The March 22 letter from Ihsan Ismaeel, Basrah Oil's director general, was sent to BP, lead operator of the Rumaila oil field, Italy's Eni, which works at the Zubair field, ExxonMobil, operator of West Qurna 1, and Russia's Lukoil, which works at West Qurna 2. The fields have a total production capacity of about 3 million b/d, well above more than half of the country's total output. The letter seen by S&P Global Platts requests IOCs to reconsider work programs and reduce budgets by 30%. inform BOC of their ability to postpone or reduce payments by half in Q1 and Q2 and amend contracts with subcontractors to include "deferred payment plans." A spokesman for Basra Oil couldn't be reached for comment. Other state-run companies are likely to send similar requests to IOCs working in their jurisdictions. Oil sales Oil income makes up around 90% of the Iraq's federal government budget revenue. Last year, Iraq -- excluding the Kurdish region in the north -- earned an average $6.794 billion/month from 3.527 million b/d sales on an oil price of $61.13/b. In January and February, it earned $5.608 billion/month from average exports of 3.360 million b/d on an oil price of $55.80/b. Brent crude has since tumbled, causing Iraqi crude prices to fall to around $25/b, signaling monthly revenue could be only $2.55 billion. Federal Iraq has to pay IOCs the crude oil equivalent of $1 billion/month to cover their costs and remunerations, according to the 2019 budget. On that basis, and if the low prices continue, it would leave the 2020 budget at about $1.55 billion/month, which is barely enough to cover wages and salaries. Kurdish shortfall The semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq is also suffering from low oil revenue and has been unable to pay IOCs operating there, the latest being the late Ross Perot's HKN Energy. "HKN has overdue receivables from the KRG of over $55 million related to oil sales for October, November and December of 2019," it said in a statement on Thursday. "Our last payment was received in January. The KRG has not provided any recent assurance on the timing of payments. There has been some discussion that the KRG is considering partial payments for oil sales receivables, but we do not know any specifics on timing or amounts." HKN joins Norway's DNO and UK's Genel Energy in warning that their ability to spend and operate in Kurdistan may be limited by delayed payments and the coronavirus outbreak. Payments for crude production in October and November 2019, which were due in January and February 2020, have not been received, Genel said earlier this month. The London-based company said drilling activity at the Tawke license have been scaled back and the Qara Dagh-2 well spud set for Q2 is likely to be delayed. DNO, Genel's partner in Tawke with a 75% stake, said it had last gotten paid in January, covering September 2019 exports. As it faces delayed payments from the KRG, DNO said its operations in the region are also being curtailed by the virus, which will lead to a drop in production from several fields. The KRG is unable to pay IOCs because $1 billion of its cash is stuck in a Lebanese bank suffering from a liquidity crunch, sources have told Platts.
  3. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-51342053 Iraq protests: Mohammed Allawi named prime minister 1 hour ago Share this with Facebook Share this with Messenger Share this with Twitter Share this with Email Share Related Topics Iraq protests Image copyrightREUTERS Image captionPresident Barham Salih (R) instructs new Prime Minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi Iraq has named a new prime minister after four months of protests. Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, a former communications minister, was appointed by President Barham Salih. His predecessor Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned in November, amid mass anti-government demonstrations. Hundreds of protesters have been killed. Mr Allawi now has a month to form a new government, which he will lead until early elections. He immediately expressed support for the protests. Earlier this week, local media reported that President Saleh had given parliament an ultimatum to decide on a new prime minister before he took the decision himself, after previous candidates were rejected by protesters. The Iraq protests explained in 100 and 500 words Media captionWatch as protesters block roads in the city of Najaf In a video released on his social media accounts on Saturday, Mr Allawi announced that he had been nominated and called on Iraqis to continue protesting until their demands were met. "If not for your sacrifices and your bravery, there would have been no change in the country," he said. "I believe in you, and for this reason I will ask you to continue protesting." He promised to hold those responsible for the killing of protesters accountable and to combat corruption. Mr Allawi, who is Shia, studied and worked in Lebanon and the UK before entering Iraqi politics following the 2003 invasion. He served as minister of communications twice. Media captionThe BBC's Jeremy Bowen asks why people have been taking to the streets in Lebanon, Iran and Iraq Related T
  4. http://www.tradearabia.com/news/CONS_363522.html Iraq to build new oil refinery, rail line in Kurdistan BAGHDAD, 4 hours, 42 minutes ago Iraq has announced plans to build an oil refinery in the northern autonomous region of Kurdistan besides a rail network that stretches all the way to the southern part of the country using a joint fund with China, said a report. These projects are part of a massive construction plan to be executed by Chinese companies in line with their oil-for-project agreement signed between Iraq and China in Sept 2019, reported Iraqi news network Aliqtisad. As per the agreement with China, many strategic projects will be undertaken in the country in the coming period and Kurdistan will have a share of these projects, it stated, citing a senior official. These include an oil refinery, a rail linking Zakho city in the autonomous region with the southern port of Basra, an oil pipeline, schools and hospitals, it added.
  5. BUSINESS NEWS JANUARY 21, 2020 / 11:43 AM / UPDATED 22 MINUTES AGO Exclusive: BP pulls out of Iraq's Kirkuk field as expansion plans stall Dmitry Zhdannikov, Ahmed Rasheed 4 MIN READ LONDON/BAGHDAD (Reuters) - BP (BP.L) has pulled out of Iraq’s giant Kirkuk oilfield after its $100 million exploration contract expired with no agreement on the field’s expansion, dealing a fresh blow to Iraq’s hopes to increase its oil output, three sources told Reuters. The move comes as Western energy companies reassess their operations in Iraq amid political turmoil following months of anti-government protests and a flare-up in tensions between the United States and Iran in the country. BP informed Iraqi authorities last month that it was pulling its staff out of the oilfield in the north of the country after its 2013 service contract expired at the end of 2019, the sources familiar with the matter said. A senior source at Iraq’s North Oil Company (NOC), which overseas the Kirkuk operations, confirmed BP’s withdrawal. “The results of its field study for Kirkuk oilfield development have been handed over to the North Oil Company and unfortunately it was below expectations ... at least for us,” the official said. “It’s very obvious study results were not encouraging for BP to extend its operations,” he added. The Iraqi government did not reply to a request for comment. BP confirmed it had completed the field work and studies and said it had handed its recommendations for the development of the field to the NOC. The London-based company did not comment on staff movements. “In 2013, BP signed a letter of intent (LOI) with the North Oil Company of the Iraq Ministry of Oil to support field activity studies in Kirkuk. As planned, in December 2019 BP completed field work, studies and recommendations,” it said. According to another senior NOC engineer, BP staff left their laptops with the NOC after completing the survey and technical study of the field. Iraq was hoping BP would help it triple output from the field to one million barrels per day (bpd) - more than a fifth of Iraq’s current production and one percent of global output. But BP’s contract was put on hold in 2014 when the Iraqi army collapsed in the face of Islamic State’s sweeping advance in northern and western Iraq, allowing the Kurdish regional government (KRG) to take control of the Kirkuk region. Baghdad regained full control of the deposit from the regional government in 2017 after a failed Kurdish independence referendum, at which point BP resumed its studies on the field. Kirkuk was discovered in 1927 and marks the birthplace of Iraq’s oil industry. BP and Iraq’s oil ministry signed in 2013 the letter of intent to study the development of the field with a planned spending of $100 million. BP’s work included a three-dimensional seismic study of the field’s reservoir to expand on the existing 2D data Kirkuk is estimated to contain about nine billion barrels of recoverable oil, according to BP. Most of Iraq’s crude is produced from areas managed by the central government of Baghdad, in the south, and exported from southern ports on the Gulf. The KRG exports about 300,000 bpd of crude from northern Iraq through a pipeline across Turkey.
  6. BREAKING: Iraqi President Barham Salih to designate Mohammed Allawi as Prime Minister this evening — Rudaw reporter.
  7. I am hedging a bet that Trump will not respond, he will talk about de escalation in the coming hours / day's.
  8. Baghdad lauds KRG cooperation as oil-for-budget deal talks reach conclusion 1 hour ago Fazel Hawramy An oil worker inspects gas flares at a field in Iraq. File photo: AFP ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) delegation in Baghdad negotiating its share of next year’s federal budget showed an unprecedented willingness to strike a deal, members of Iraqi parliament’s finance committee have told Rudaw, as the budget’s details continue to be fleshed out in delegation meetings. Federal government representatives met in Baghdad with a Kurdish delegation made up some three dozen officials from the finance, oil, planning, accounting and government on Monday. A six-hour meeting with the Kurdish delegation on Monday concluded with the agreement of a 2020 national budget share of 12.67 percent for the KRG. In return, 250,000 barrels of oil per day from the Kurdistan Region’s oil fields is to be handed over to Baghdad and exported from the Turkish port of Ceyhan. The deal between the Kurds and Baghdad was accepted by the Council of Ministers, and is expected to reach the parliament floor on Sunday for final approval. The KRG on Tuesday released a statement on the concluded agreement, expressing hope for its implementation as is. “The delegation said that the Kurdistan Regional Government has concluded an agreement on the 2020 budget bill with Iraqi ministry of finance. This is the first time the Kurdistan Regional Government has taken part in the first phase of preparing Iraqi federal budget draft,” it read. “The Kurdistan Regional Government hopes that the deal is implemented as it is, and we call on Kurdistani blocs and other blocs at Iraqi parliament to help ensure and protect Kurdistan Region’s financial rights in the next phase of the budget draft.” Tuesday’s talks also sought to hammer out the budget deal’s finer details. Sherwan Mirza, a Kurdish member of Iraqi parliament’s finance committee, told Rudaw on Tuesday that Baghdad would pay the transportation fee for the 250,000 bpd the KRG hands over. “The delegation said that the Kurdistan Regional Government has concluded an agreement on the 2020 budget bill with Iraqi ministry of finance. This is the first time the Kurdistan Regional Government has taken part in the first phase of preparing the draft Iraqi federal budget,” it read. “The Kurdistan Regional Government hopes that the deal is implemented as it is, and we call on Kurdistani blocs and other blocs in the Iraqi parliament to help ensure and protect the Kurdistan Region’s financial rights in the next phase of the budget draft.” The federal government in Baghdad and regional government in Erbil have been at loggerheads for years over national budget allocation and oil revenue. The KRG has faced fierce criticism from opposition parties such as the Change Movement (Gorran), and the two main Islamic parties in the Kurdistan Region over the lack of transparency in its oil sector. This changed when the Region’s two ruling parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), reached an agreement with Gorran and other smaller parties in July to form a unity government. Gorran officials said upon joining the government they had received strong commitments from Prime Minister Masrour Barzani that he would usher in an era of transparency. Since then, Barzani has proactively emphasized the importance of fighting government corruption. Ahmad Haji Rashid is a Kurdish member of Iraqi parliament from the Kurdistan Islamic Group, known as Komal in Kurdish. He believes the KRG has shown a shift towards greater transparency about oil revenue. “The Kurds have agreed to hand over their oil contracts to the federal government, the KRG has agreed for Iraq to pass on its accounts to an [international] auditing company so they understand how much it costs for a barrel of oil to be extracted from the ground,” Haji Rashid told Rudaw’s Hiwa Jamal. Despite the near-two month delay on the bill’s introduction to parliament, Haji Rashid is optimistic the bill will pass next week without any serious challenges. “The [KRG] negotiators expressed full readiness to provide anything in pursuit of transparency whether we request it or the federal government requests,” Ahmad Haji Rashid told Rudaw on Monday night, having been briefed in Baghdad earlier that day by the KRG delegation. “This is heartwarming , this is the first time the [KRG] finance ministry and the KRG have expressed such a readiness to discuss the issue…and we said as long as the [Kurdish] side is transparent we will defend the Kurdish position fully but we will not defend an issue that is not transparent.” Budget allocation for Peshmerga salaries is set to increase, and their payment will be decentralized. “The Peshmerga share will increase to much more than 68 billion dinars and will no longer be paid as part of the Iraqi defense ministry but as part of the salaries of civil servants,” Mirza said. Total budget figures have yet to be set in stone, but the estimate for the 2020 budget currently stands at 162 trillion dinars ($135 billion), according to Ahmad Haji Rashid of the parliament finance committee in Baghdad. “Out of this, 112 to 114 trillion is made up of revenue, and we have a 48 trillion shortfall,” Haji Rashid told Rudaw on Monday night. Although Iraq’s main source of revenue is oil, a fraction comes from taxing the imports that pour into the country from around a dozen land border crossings with its neighbors. The deal’s finer details at provincial level have yet to be hammered out. Among those details is the percentage of revenue that border provinces would receive from customs duties, and how much petrodollar would be allocated to provinces where oilfields are located. According to Mirza, the Kurdistan Region provinces are to receive a “good share” from the budget.
  9. I was referring to the global stage politically, not a immigration subject of which you have totally made a false claim that the UK is a shambles caused by overseas" thugs". You are a newshound, a good one at that and you must have a financial interest in Iraq, providing news and information to assist yours and everyone else who uses this site interests. Iraq as we all is a tinpot country with huge problems where ever you look, but looking beyond this mayhem there are gains and rewards to be made even in the darkest days, that's why we are all here, at the end of the day it's a gamble. The problem with Trumps actions in Syria is it causes uncertainty and instability within the region, Iraq can not afford more security problems, it just delays new investment to help the devastated economy, the very area that helps all of our financial investments. Trump has also made it quite clear he wants a low Oil Price, only for his own US interest, unfortunately this has a wide global negative effect on countries who are oil dependant, such as Iraq, the lower the price the less capital for maintaining economy or speeding up progress. Support your Trump on home grown issues by all means, but don't be blinded to his negative actions abroad, if you are, then don;t complain about your financial woes investing in a country like Iraq and stick with your safer US investments.
  10. From a overseas onlooker i can only say that your president Trump has lost any credibility he had left. My countries politics are a shambles at the moment, but it does not have the same effect on a global scale as Trumps actions. China, European union, Russia, North Korea, Iran and now Turkey, see Trump as weak and indecisiveness on policy decisions. Turkey has wanted to wage war at the syrian Kurds for months, yes the very ones male and female who with help of the US, UK, France, got rid the most evil barbaric terrorist group that threatened the M/E and the world. Trumps actions and pathetic reasoned tweets are shameful and a disgrace, i welcome the outrage from many US politicians and media. Get Rid.
  11. Saudi Arabia oil facilities ablaze after drone strikes 1 hour ago Share this with Facebook Share this with Messenger Share this with Twitter Share this with EmDrone attacks have set alight two major oil facilities run by the state-owned company Aramco in Saudi Arabia, state media say. Footage showed flames and huge palls of smoke over Abqaiq, site of Aramco's largest oil processing plant. A second drone attack also started fires in the Khurais oilfield to the west. The fires are now under control at both facilities, state media said. Iran-aligned Houthi fighters in Yemen have been blamed for previous attacks. However, the Saudi media reports did not say who could be behind the latest attacks. "At 04:00 (0100 GMT), the industrial security teams of Aramco started dealing with fires at two of its facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais as a result of... drones," the official Saudi Press Agency reported. "The two fires have been controlled." Abqaiq is about 60km (37 miles) south-west of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, while Khurais, some 200km further south-west, has the country's second largest oilfield. Saudi security forces foiled an attempt by al-Qaeda to attack the Abqaiq facility with suicide bombers in 2006. Who could be behind the attacks? Houthi fighters were blamed for drone attacks on the Shaybah natural gas liquefaction facility last month and on other oil facilities in May. The Iran-aligned rebel movement is fighting the Yemeni government and a Saudi-led coalition. Yemen has been at war since 2015, when President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was forced to flee the capital Sanaa by the Houthis. Saudi Arabia backs President Hadi, and has led a coalition of regional countries against the rebels. Yemen conflict explained in 400 words Why is there a war in Yemen? Yemen war: Has anything been achieved? The coalition launches air strikes almost every day, while the Houthis often fire missiles into Saudi Arabia. However, there are other sources of tension in the region, often stemming from the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Saudi Arabia and the US both blamed Iran for attacks in the Gulf on two oil tankers in June and July, allegations Tehran denied. Gulf of Oman tanker attacks: What we know Iran-US tensions: What's going on? In May, four tankers, two of them Saudi-flagged, were damaged by explosions within the UAE's territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman. Saudi Arabia and then US National Security Adviser John Bolton blamed Iran. Tehran said the accusations were "ridiculous". Tension in the vital shipping lanes worsened when Iran shot down a US surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz in June, leading a month later to the Pentagon announcing the deployment of US troops to Saudi Arabia.
  12. Baghdad's talks over unifying oil exports with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region were in "advanced stages". (Reporting by Raya Jalabi; editing by John Stonestreet) https://www.lse.co.uk/news/oil-minister-thamer-ghadhban-says-iraq-will-cut-oil-output-from-october-idbxwy3xadruf2d.html
  13. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/readout-vice-president-mike-pences-call-iraqi-kurdistan-region-president-nechirvan-barzani/ STATEMENTS & RELEASES Readout of Vice President Mike Pence’s Call with Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani FOREIGN POLICY Issued on: August 27, 2019 Vice President Mike Pence spoke by phone today with Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani. President Barzani and Vice President Pence discussed the security situation in northern Iraq, including the importance of enhancing efforts to bring stability to the disputed territories and allowing for the return of Iraqis, including religious and ethnic minority communities, displaced by conflict. Vice President Pence commended President Barzani and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for providing refuge for displaced civilians and for leading Iraq’s efforts to protect those impacted by conflict in recent years. The two leaders noted the fifth anniversary earlier this month of ISIS’s horrific assault on the Yazidi community in Sinjar and pledged to cooperate to prevent any resurgence of ISIS activity. Vice President Pence emphasized the United States’ concern that Iran-backed militias continue to undermine Iraq’s security and sovereignty and that the U.S. Government will consider additional steps to degrade such groups’ influence. He noted the United States’ July 18 “Global Magnitsky” designation of militia leaders responsible for human rights abuses in northern Iraq. President Barzani and Vice President Pence discussed recent progress made in talks between KRG and Government of Iraq officials and the Vice President said the United States supports timely resolution of outstanding issues, including budget allocations and oil sales. The leaders also discussed opportunities to deepen the U.S. partnership with the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, including in the economic and security spheres.
  14. https://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2019/07/26/pr19301-iraq-imf-executive-board-concludes-2019-article-iv-consultation-with-iraq IMF Executive Board Concludes 2019 Article IV Consultation with Iraq July 26, 2019 On July 19, 2019, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation [1] with Iraq. An improved security situation and the recovery in oil prices have improved near-term vulnerabilities. Large fiscal and current account surpluses—around 8 and 6 percent of GDP, respectively—were recorded in 2018, allowing the government to retire domestic debt and accumulate fiscal buffers. Gross international reserves reached $65 billion by end-2018. However, post-war reconstruction and economic recovery have been slow. Non-oil GDP rose by only 0.8 percent year-on-year in 2018 in a context of weak execution of reconstruction and other public investment. Overall GDP contracted by around 0.6 percent as oil production was cut to comply with the OPEC+ agreement. The 2019 budget implies a sizable fiscal loosening that will reverse the recent reduction in vulnerabilities. Current spending is expected to increase by 27 percent year-on-year, in part due to a higher public sector wage bill, while revenues will be dampened by the abolition of non-oil taxes. As a result, the budget is projected to shift to a deficit of 4 percent of GDP in 2019, and reserves are projected to decline. The fiscal and external positions are expected to continue to deteriorate over the medium term absent policy changes—with reserves falling below adequate levels and fiscal buffers eroded. Although the level of public debt will remain sustainable, gross fiscal financing needs will increase. Non-oil GDP growth is projected to reach 5½ in 2019 but subside over the medium term. In a context of highly volatile oil prices, the major risk to the outlook is a fall in oil prices which would lower exports and budgetary revenues, leading to an even sharper decline in reserves or higher public debt. Geopolitical tensions, the potential for social unrest in a context of weak public services and lack of progress in combatting corruption pose further risks. Executive Board Assessment [2] Executive Directors agreed with the thrust of the staff appraisal. They were encouraged by the recent strengthening of Iraq’s economy but recognized that the country continues to face daunting challenges. Social conditions remain harsh, post-war reconstruction progress is slow, development needs are large, and institutional weaknesses are significant. Volatile oil prices and a difficult regional and geopolitical environment pose additional difficulties. Directors encouraged the authorities to seize the opportunity presented by the improved security situation and higher oil prices to implement policies and structural reforms aimed at ensuring macroeconomic and financial stability, tackling long-standing social problems, and promoting sustainable and inclusive growth. Directors emphasized that building a robust fiscal framework is essential to maintain fiscal and macroeconomic stability and strengthen buffers. They encouraged the authorities to adopt a risk‑ and rules-based approach to fiscal policy as part of broader reforms to manage oil revenue more effectively, reduce tendencies for procyclicality, and shift to a more growth-friendly composition of expenditure. Directors supported scaling up reconstruction and development expenditure gradually in line with improving absorptive capacity. They underscored the need to strengthen public financial management to ensure public spending is appropriately monitored and to reduce vulnerabilities to corruption. In this context, Directors welcomed the newly adopted General Financial Management Law and encouraged its full implementation. Directors emphasized that gradual fiscal adjustment, including containing current primary spending and boosting non-oil revenues is essential for maintaining fiscal and debt sustainability. They recommended that spending measures should give priority to containing the growth in wage bill and lowering subsidies to the electricity sector. Directors emphasized that the poorest and the most vulnerable must be protected from the adjustment process. Directors underscored that an overhaul of the banking sector is necessary to maintain financial stability. They encouraged the authorities to restructure the large state-owned banks, enhance their supervision, and implement other reforms to increase financial intermediation. Directors highlighted the benefits of increasing financial inclusion, especially for the SME sector, which has a large potential to absorb entrants to the labor market. Directors agreed that building public institutions and enhancing governance is key for success, and highlighted the scope for Fund capacity development to support these efforts. They welcomed progress in developing an anti-corruption framework and called for further modifications to the legal regime for combatting corruption coupled with stronger coordination between the relevant government agencies, while continuing to strengthen the framework for Anti-money laundering and combatting the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). Directors also recommended strengthening Public Investment Management framework to ensure that spending is well directed and that donor funds targeting reconstruction are put to the most efficient use. Directors looked forward to continued close engagement between the authorities and the Fund in the context of post program monitoring. Iraq: Selected Economic and Financial Indicators, 2015–24 (Percent of GDP, except were indicated) Projections 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 Economic growth and prices Real GDP (percentage change) 2.5 15.2 -2.5 -0.6 4.6 5.3 2.6 2.3 2.1 2.1 Non-oil real GDP (percentage change) -14.4 1.3 -0.6 0.8 5.4 5.0 4.1 3.4 2.7 2.7 GDP deflator (percentage change) -26.1 -13.4 14.6 15.4 -4.5 2.3 2.6 2.8 3.1 3.3 GDP per capita (US$) 5,047 4,843 5,263 5,882 5,728 6,017 6,172 6,326 6,486 6,666 GDP (in ID trillion) 207.2 206.7 231.0 265.0 264.8 285.4 300.4 315.9 332.3 350.4 Non-oil GDP (in ID trillion) 137.3 138.3 140.8 145.6 158.1 173.2 188.1 202.8 217.1 232.6 GDP (in US$ billion) 177.7 175.2 195.5 224.2 224.1 241.5 254.1 267.3 281.1 296.5 Oil production (mbpd) 3.72 4.63 4.47 4.41 4.59 4.84 4.93 5.01 5.10 5.18 Oil exports (mbpd) 3.35 3.79 3.80 3.86 4.03 4.25 4.33 4.40 4.47 4.55 Iraq oil export prices (US$ pb) 1/ 45.9 35.6 48.7 65.2 56.0 55.8 54.9 54.4 54.4 54.8 Consumer price inflation (percentage change; end of period) 2.3 -1.5 0.2 -0.1 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 Consumer price inflation (percentage change; average) 1.4 0.5 0.1 0.4 0.8 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 National Accounts Gross domestic investment 24.9 20.8 16.7 12.9 18.8 16.7 16.0 15.6 15.6 15.4 Of which: public 15.6 11.5 8.3 5.3 10.6 8.4 7.5 7.0 6.8 6.6 Gross domestic consumption 81.2 87.0 80.8 79.1 84.5 85.4 86.8 87.9 88.6 89.6 Of which: public 22.6 22.6 21.8 21.2 26.5 26.3 26.4 26.2 26.2 26.3 Gross national savings 18.4 12.5 18.6 19.8 13.6 12.5 11.7 11.1 10.3 9.4 Of which: public 3.1 -2.0 7.0 13.4 6.5 5.2 4.1 3.2 1.8 0.8 Saving - Investment balance -6.5 -8.3 1.8 6.9 -5.2 -4.2 -4.3 -4.6 -5.3 -6.0 Public Finance Government revenue and grants 30.6 26.8 33.0 39.8 40.5 39.6 37.9 36.5 35.5 34.6 Government oil revenue 27.8 22.9 28.9 36.7 37.2 36.3 34.5 33.1 32.0 31.0 Government non-oil revenue 2.8 4.0 4.2 3.1 3.3 3.3 3.4 3.4 3.5 3.5 Expenditure, of which: 43.4 40.7 34.6 32.0 44.6 43.1 41.2 40.5 40.5 40.5 Current expenditure 27.8 29.3 26.4 26.7 33.9 34.7 33.6 33.5 33.7 33.9 Capital expenditure 15.6 11.5 8.3 5.3 10.6 8.4 7.5 7.0 6.8 6.6 Overall fiscal balance (including grants) -12.8 -13.9 -1.6 7.9 -4.1 -3.5 -3.3 -4.0 -5.0 -5.9 Non-oil primary fiscal balance, accrual basis (percent of non-oil GDP) -46.5 -43.3 -39.4 -42.4 -56.9 -52.1 -49.2 -47.1 -46.2 -45.3 Adjusted Non-oil primary fiscal balance, accrual basis (excl. KRG, percent of non-oil GDP) 2/ -44.7 -43.3 -39.4 -40.5 -50.1 -46.0 -43.6 -41.8 -41.0 -40.2 Adjusted non-oil primary expenditure (excl. KRG, percent of non-oil GDP) 3/ 48.9 49.2 46.3 46.2 55.6 51.5 49.1 47.2 46.3 45.5 Adjusted non-oil primary expenditure (excl. KRG, annual real growth, percent) 3/ -24.7 0.9 -4.5 2.8 29.9 -0.6 1.4 1.6 3.1 3.2 Memorandum items Total government debt (in percent of GDP) 4/ 56.2 64.2 58.9 49.3 51.4 50.5 50.6 51.5 53.6 56.4 Total government debt (in US$ billion) 4/ 99.9 112.5 115.2 110.4 115.3 121.9 128.5 137.5 150.7 167.3 External government debt (in percent of GDP) 37.2 37.1 35.6 30.6 32.2 31.5 30.5 28.4 26.8 24.9 External government debt (in US$ billion) 66.1 65.0 69.5 68.7 72.2 76.2 77.6 75.8 75.3 73.8 Monetary indicators Growth in reserve money -12.0 9.2 -4.4 6.7 2.5 5.4 4.7 4.9 5.1 4.6 Growth in broad money -9.1 7.1 2.6 2.7 2.5 6.2 5.4 6.0 5.9 5.3 External sector Current account -6.5 -8.3 1.8 6.9 -5.2 -4.2 -4.3 -4.6 -5.3 -6.0 Trade balance -0.1 -1.7 7.6 13.4 3.5 4.1 3.2 2.0 1.3 0.5 Exports of goods 31.8 28.6 34.8 41.2 37.0 36.2 34.4 33.1 32.0 31.2 Imports of goods -31.9 -30.3 -27.1 -27.8 -33.5 -32.0 -31.2 -31.1 -30.8 -30.7 Overall external balance -6.7 -3.7 2.5 6.3 -2.5 -1.1 -1.6 -3.5 -3.8 -4.7 Gross reserves (in US$ billion) 54.1 45.5 49.4 64.7 57.2 53.5 48.5 38.8 28.2 14.3 Total GIR (in months of imports of goods and services) 9.3 7.8 7.3 8.0 6.8 6.2 5.5 4.2 2.9 1.4 Exchange rate (dinar per US$; period average) 1,166 1,180 1,182 1,182 1,182 1,182 1,182 1,182 1,182 1,182 Real effective exchange rate (percent change, end of period) 5/ 6.5 1.8 -5.1 4.9 … … … … … … Sources: Iraqi authorities; and Fund staff estimates and projections. 1/ Negative price differential of about $3.6 per barrel compared to the average petroleum spot price (average of Brent, West Texas and Dubai oil prices) in 2018-23. 2/ Adjusted to exclude (i) full year estimates of federal government transfers to the Kurdistan Regional Government, and (ii) non-oil tax revenues from the KRG to the federal government. In 2014 and 2015, actual transfers were made for only 2 and 5 months, respectively. 3/ Adjusted to exclude full year estimate of federal government transfers to the Kurdistan Regional Government. In 2014 and 2015, actual transfers were made for only 2 and 5 months, respectively. 4/ Includes arrears. The debt stock includes legacy arrears to non-Paris Club creditors on which the authorities have requested (but not yet obtained) Paris-Club comparable relief. Implementing comparable terms will substantially reduce debt (e.g. by 15 percent of GDP in 2017). 5/ Positive means appreciation. [1] Under Article IV of the IMF's Articles of Agreement, the IMF holds bilateral discussions with members, usually every year. A staff team visits the country, collects economic and financial information, and discusses with officials the country's economic developments and policies. On return to headquarters, the staff prepares a report, which forms the basis for discussion by the Executive Board. [2] At the conclusion of the discussion, the Managing Director, as Chairman of the Board, summarizes the views of Executive Directors, and this summary is transmitted to the country's authorities. An explanation of any qualifiers used in summings up can be found here: http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/misc/qualifiers.htm . IMF Communications Department MEDIA RELATIONS PRESS OFFICER: WAFA AMR PHONE: +1 202 623-7100EMAIL: MEDIA@IMF.ORG
  15. I thought i would share this tweet today, short and brief, but in my opinion highly significant. Alan mohtadi is a reliable source and has often heard news before it breaks into main stream outlets. Alan Mohtadi 🛢‏ @tawaksham 6h6 hours ago More #KRG have begun to hand over a portion of crude exports from KRG to SOMO
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