By John Lee.

King Abdullah II of Jordan arrives in Baghdad today on an official visit to Iraq for talks with President Barham Salih, and Prime Minister Adil Abd Al Mahdi and senior officials, with a view to strengthening bilateral relations and regional development.

According to a report from The Arab Weekly, the two countries are planning a border industrial zone with a possible 50,000 jobs. It would also facilitate exports of tax-exempted Jordanian goods to the Iraqi market.

In recent weeks, the two countries have agreed a series of measures to increase cooperation between the two countries, including a plan to finalize the framework agreement for the Iraqi-Jordanian pipeline which will run from Basra through Haditha to Aqaba in the first quarter of 2019.

They have also agreed to upgrade the al-Karamah – Terbil Border Crossing.

(Sources: Govt of Iraq, The Arab Weekly)

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World Bank report: Iraq will be the highest Arab economic growth by 2019

January 11, 2019

World Bank report: Iraq will be the highest Arab economic growth by 2019 The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries are expected to witness a rise in economic growth to 1.9 percent in 2019, according to a World Bank report. The show report recently released titled Figures (Global Economic Prospects: The Middle East and North Africa “bleak skies”) that growth in the GCC will rise to 2.6 percent , supported by the movement of an active investment at the level of the oil – exporting countries, the bank expects that growth declines in Algeria To 2.3 percent due to slower government spending than in 2018. Egypt will see a growth rate of 5.6 percent in 2019, boosted by investments and reforms in the expected business climate. The growth rate in Morocco and Tunisia will reach 2.9 percent in 2019 if tourism indicators improve and political reforms continue.

Although Iraq recorded modest growth in 2018 at 1.9 percent, reconstruction projects, according to the report, will be an important driver for the growth of its economy and neighboring economies, with an expected 6.2 percent, the highest in the Arab world. Growth in Jordan is likely to see a slight improvement of 2.3 percent. 2018 The 2018 estimates showed an improvement in growth to 1.7 percent amid improved economic activity in oil exporting and importing countries. Algeria registered a growth rate of 2.5 percent last year, Egypt with 5.3 percent, Morocco with 3.2 percent and Tunisia with 2.6 percent.

The World Bank has warned of the dangers facing the region, which can discourage growth, as conflicts can escalate and lead to greater damage to income and economic activity, not to mention health and social well-being.

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By John Lee.

Oil production at Majnoon oilfield is reportedly planned to increase from 240,000 barrels per day (bpd) currently to 290,000 bpd by the end of 2019 and 450,000 bpd by the end of 2021.

State-owned Basra Oil Company (BOC) took over the field from Shell and Petronas at the end of June 2018, with operations and maintenance contracted to Chinese company Anton Oilfield Services Group (Antonoil) and the US company KBR.

More here.

(Source: Reuters)

By John Lee.

Turkey has reportedly appointed a special envoy to Iraq to resolve the water sharing issues between the two countries.

According to Daily Sabah, former Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu (pictured), who will take up the post, pointed to the “inefficient” use of water resources in Iraq, saying “Turkey will share its experience and know-how in the efficient management of water with the Iraqis.

He added that Turkey will try to ensure an equitable share of water from the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers.

More here.

(Source: Daily Sabah)

Russia’s Lukoil has successfully completed testing of the fourth well as part of Eridu field (Block 10) appraisal phase in the south of Iraq.

The testing resulted in the commercial flow of dry crude oil that proves the current geological model of Eridu field as effective. ​

Lukoil continues geological exploration at Block 10. For instance, the company plans to drill and test several appraisal wells and to complete 3D and 2D seismic surveys for Eridu field and the block’s southern and central parts, respectively.

Block 10, covering 5.8 thousand square kilometers, is located 150 kilometers west of Basra, 120 kilometers away from West Qurna-2 field.

Interests in the project: Lukoil – 60% (operator), Inpex Corporation (Japan) – 40%. The Iraqi party to the agreement is represented by the state-owned Dhi Qar Oil Company (DQOC).

(Source: Lukoil)

Advertising Feature

Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 10th January 2019).

Please click here to download a table of listed companies and their associated ticker codes.

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD672 (+2.2%) / $723 (+2.0%) (weekly change) (+2.0% and +1.8% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 3.5 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD1.3 bn ($1.1 mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • According to the ISX announcement, the opening price of the IQD5.0 mn class bonds (CB125) will be IQD5,314,321 on Sunday (Jan. 13, 2019). [Table: 1.9]
  • ISX will suspend trading of Ahliya for Insurance (NAHF) starting Jan. 16, 2019 due to the AGM* that will be held on Jan. 21, 2019 to discuss and approve 2017 annual financial results.
  • ISX will suspend trading of Bain Al-Nahrain Investment (VMES) starting Jan. 13, 2019 due to the AGM* that will be held on Jan. 16, 2019 to discuss and approve 2017 annual financial results.
  • ISX will suspend trading of the following companies on Jan. 13, 2019 due to not disclosing their 3M18 financial results: BASH, HISH, SKTA, HASH, IICM, ITLI, IELI, IMPI, IHFI, IMCM, IFCM, IKHC, SBAG, SIGT and VKHF.
  • Babylon Hotel (HBAY) invited its shareholders on Jan. 9, 2019 to receive their 2016 cash dividend. The company decided in its AGM on Nov. 19, 2017 to distribute 20% cash dividend (IQD0.20 dividend per share).
  • ISX suspended trading of Commercial Bank of Iraq (BCOI) starting Jan. 8, 2019 due to the AGM* that will be held on Jan. 13, 2019 to discuss and approve 2017 annual financial results.
  • Iraqi Agricultural Products and Marketing Meat (AIPM) resumed trading on Jan. 7, 2019 after discussing and approving 2017 annual financial results.
  • Dar Al-Salam for Insurance (NDSA) invited its shareholders to subscribe to 40% rights issue to reach IQD7 bn paid-in capital.

By John Lee.

Housing prices in Iraqi Kurdistan have reportedly increased by 20 percent in 2018, while rents has gone up by 15 percent.

Citing research from real estate company Baghi Khoshnawati, Rudaw says that demand for rental accommodation in the second half of 2018 has increased by 45 percent compared to the first half of 2018.

It adds that the rent for a house in the Italian Village in Erbil has increased from was $500 per month in May 2018 to $650 now, but “there are no houses available because of high demand“.

More here.

(Source: Rudaw)

(Picture credit: Jan Kurdistani21)

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By Veronica Cotdemiey, CEO of Citizenship Invest.

Moldova: the most cost-effective passport from Europe

Citizenship by Investment has become one of the most reliable ways to obtain a legal citizenship and passport for many nationalities around the world. Allowing the ability to travel easily and secure a better future for individuals. However, when we talk about obtaining a fast-track second passport or citizenship and without immigration requirements, many come at a hefty price.

The Republic of Cyprus has one of the world’s most famous citizenship by investment programs and it is the only country that can offer a European nationality without ever needing to immigrate or prove residence in the country to obtain it. However, the property investment required to obtain the Cypriot citizenship stands at 2 million EURO which it is not affordable to large number of potential applicants. Many consider Caribbean countries like Dominica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda and Grenada through which they can achieve a second citizenship with a considerably lower investment amount.

For many investors in the region, some Caribbean countries can pose some difficulties to obtain their citizenship. In some cases, certain nationalities are banned from applying and they could encounter issues to transfer funds to the Government’s accounts due to intermediary banks based in the United States.

Moldova recently launched its citizenship program, the country is located in Europe and investors can obtain its passport without any residency requirements. The program is cost effective and has a quick processing time where applicants can obtain their citizenship in approximately 3 months. Moldovan citizens have visa-free travel to major countries around the world, most notably, Schengen countries, Russia and Turkey. The Moldovan citizenship program requires an applicant to transfer an amount of EUR 100,000 to Moldova’s Public Investment Fund. The amount goes up to EUR 155,000 for an applicant with more than 4 dependents. Another positive feature in Moldova’s CBI program is the ability to transfer citizenship to future generations without restrictions.

Moldova is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe with a 4 million population. The country is famous for its world-class wine industry and picturesque landscapes. The service sector has grown to dominate Moldova’s economy and currently composes over 60% of the nation’s GDP. In 2017, total bilateral trade between the EU and Moldova increased by 18% to €4 billion. The European Union’s imports from Moldova increased by 23% in 2017, to the value of €1.6 billion.

Although Moldova is not yet part of the European Union, the EU is Moldova’s first trading partner and the first investor in the country, accounting for over 55% of total trade. The value of agricultural, machinery and transport EU imported products from Moldova also grew confirming the positive trend of growth in Moldovan exports to the EU.

Moldova is actively pursuing joining the European Union member states through the EU Eastern Partnership policy. As part of its effort, Moldova is working on integrating various sectors such as transport, Energy, Technology, Media and Telecom with the EU for the possibility to deepen its corporation with the EU and increase the chances of becoming a member state.

By John Lee.

The United Nations has advertised new positions in Iraq:

(Source: UN)

(Picture: Finger pressing a new career start button, from Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock)