By Ahmed Tabaqchali, CIO of Asia Frontier Capital (AFC) Iraq Fund.

Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The market’s action in July was so quiet that it turned activities like watching paint dry into spectator sports, as the start of the peak summer and holiday season depressed trading volumes.

Nonetheless, the average daily turnover’s decline of −15% month-on-month did not erase the turnover gains made in the prior two months, small as they were.

For the month, the market, as measured by the Rabee Securities RSISX USD Index (RSISUSD), was down −4.40% and down −3.97% for the year.

Please click here to download Ahmed Tabaqchali’s full report.

Mr Tabaqchali (@AMTabaqchali) is the CIO of the AFC Iraq Fund, and is an experienced capital markets professional with over 25 years’ experience in US and MENA markets. He is a non-resident Fellow at the Institute of Regional and International Studies (IRIS) at the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani (AUIS), and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at AUIS. He is a board member of the Credit Bank of Iraq.

His comments, opinions and analyses are personal views and are intended to be for informational purposes and general interest only and should not be construed as individual investment advice or a recommendation or solicitation to buy, sell or hold any fund or security or to adopt any investment strategy. It does not constitute legal or tax or investment advice. The information provided in this material is compiled from sources that are believed to be reliable, but no guarantee is made of its correctness, is rendered as at publication date and may change without notice and it is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding Iraq, the region, market or investment.

GardaWorld, a global leader in comprehensive security and risk management, has made its weekly security report available to Iraq Business News readers.

Prepared by GardaWorld’s Risk Analysis Team in Iraq, this essential report includes short- and medium-term outlooks on the security situation, reports and commentary on recent significant events, and a detailed overview of developments across the country.

Please click here to download the latest report free of charge.

For more information on how GardaWorld’s services can support your business in Iraq, please contact Daniel Matthews, Senior Director Iraq, at daniel.matthews@garda.com

GardaWorld, a global leader in comprehensive security and risk management, has made its weekly security report available to Iraq Business News readers.

Prepared by GardaWorld’s Risk Analysis Team in Iraq, this essential report includes short- and medium-term outlooks on the security situation, reports and commentary on recent significant events, and a detailed overview of developments across the country.

Please click here to download the latest report free of charge.

For more information on how GardaWorld’s services can support your business in Iraq, please contact Daniel Matthews, Senior Director Iraq, at daniel.matthews@garda.com

The ISIL conflict displaced 6 million people in Iraq, disrupted the national economy and limited employment opportunities for citizens.

Sixty per cent of jobs in Iraq are in the private sector, within Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs); very large numbers of those businesses experienced loss as a result of the conflict and need support to rebuild.

In Fallujah, for example, an International Organization for Migration (IOM) market assessment found that 69 per cent of construction businesses and 66 per cent of food-related businesses saw their workshops looted or burned between 2014 and 2017. Mosul and numerous other areas also showed high levels of damage and limited access to finance—challenges that EDF is designed to help businesses overcome.

On Monday (05/08), IOM Iraq signed a memorandum of understanding with telecommunications company Asiacell to support innovation under the Enterprise Development Fund (EDF) — a livelihoods programme that contributes to economic recovery and private sector revitalization through tailored support to Small and Medium Enterprises.

The innovation component (EDFi) supports early-stage tech businesses and tech start-ups in Iraq that can contribute to the local economy and create jobs for young people in the tech sector.

“We strongly believe that the engagement of the private sector is a necessary condition for successful and sustainable economic recovery and job creation,” said IOM Chief of Mission Gerard Waite. “IOM Iraq looks forward to a long, productive collaboration with Asiacell, as we work to expand job creation and improve economic opportunities across Iraq.”

“Today marks the start of a strategic partnership between Asiacell and IOM that will bring the EDF-I into effect in Iraq,” added Asiacell CEO Amer Sunna. “Asiacell looks forward to contributing to the development of youth skills and capabilities, and setting the foundation for a powerful and sustainable economy.”

EDF aims to restore essential economic infrastructure by providing financial capital to SMEs in economic sectors that were successful prior to the conflict but suffered loss and damage and have a high demand for labour. By targeting key sectors and providing necessary funding, the EDF encourages rapid but also large-scale job creation. The fund has received hundreds of applications since the pilot phase was launched in September 2018, and 142 business grants have been approved to date.

“After the liberation of Mosul, I sold a small plot of land that I owned and tried my best to reopen my factory,” explained Moufaq Ahmed Mohamed, an EDF beneficiary and owner of an oxygen plant. “I started with only two workers. Later, I received a grant from IOM which enabled me to buy a generator which is crucial to my work.”

“[Before that] I frequently lost hours of work due to sudden power outages,” he continued. “This generator was a boon to my factory; I have been able to produce more, enabling me to hire more people and expand to 11 workers — which means feeding 11 families. This makes me very happy; this kind of support for the private sector contributes to the revival and rebuilding of Mosul.”
EDF forms part of IOM’s work in support of the people and Government of Iraq (GOI) to promote sustainable recovery across the country.

IOM Iraq’s EDF is supported by the USA Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM); the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO); KfW, the German Development Bank; the Government of the Netherlands; and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

(Source: IOM)

The Protection Cluster in Iraq launched a new service mapping tool “Services Advisor Platform”, which is ready to use.

The tool displays 252 service locations across Iraq for over 50 NGOs and UN agencies providing General Protection, GBV, Child Protection, HLP and Mine Action services.

The main page of this tool can be accessed through the following link – https://iraq.servicesadvisor.org/#/. the services can be filtered by service, location, organization and type of referral (as explained in the this screenshot).

In the coming weeks, the Protection Cluster will conduct additional training sessions on how to upload and use the Platform in five governorates (Baghdad, Anbar, Salah Al-Din, Kerbala and Erbil). Partners who would like to participate and add their services are kindly requested to register to the sessions through the registration link as indicated in this invitation letter.

Partners interested can also reference to:

(Source: Protection Cluster)

By John Lee.

Iraq is reported to be close to reaching a deal with BP and Eni for an export pipeline project.

Al Jazeera quotes senior Iraqi oil officials as saying that the project was initially planned as part of a “megadeal” with ExxonMobil.

They said that under the proposed $400-million agreement, BP and Eni would build two seabed oil pipelines for Iraq’s southern exports through the Gulf.

(Source: Al Jazeera)

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Note: ISX will be closed starting from Aug. 11, 2019 to Aug. 15, 2019 due to the religious holiday of Eid Al-Adha. The next session will be held on Sunday (Aug. 18, 2019). 

Rabee Securities Iraq Stock Exchange (ISX) market report (week ending: 8th August 2019).

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

The RSISX index ended the week at IQD628 (-0.2%) / $675 (-0.2%) (weekly change) (-4.8% and -4.9% YTD change, respectively). The number of week traded shares was 7.9 bn and the weekly trading volume was IQD8.5 bn ($7.0 mn).

ISX Company Announcements

  • The Central Bank of Iraq announced the increase of the assets of banks during 2018 by 11% compared to 2017 to exceed IQD120 trln ($100 bn), indicating the increased confidence of depositors in banks, which reflects positively on the development of the performance of banks and its contribution to the development of the Iraqi economy. The Bank has made accounting adjustments for the total assets of commercial banks in accordance with International Accounting Standards (IAS) as of January 2012. (CBI)
  • Al-Bilad Islamic Bank for Investment & Finance (Al-Ataa Islamic Bank) (BLAD) will hold an AGM on Aug. 29, 2019 to discuss and approve 2016 and 2017 annual financial results. The bank has been suspended since May. 17, 2018 due to not disclosing 2017 financial results.
  • ISX will suspend trading of Al-Ahlyia for Agricultural Production (AAHP) starting Aug. 27, 2019 due to the AGM that will be held on Sep. 1, 2019 to discuss and approve the ending year Mar. 31, 2019.
  • ISX will suspend trading of International Islamic Bank (BINT) starting Aug. 22, 2019 due to the AGM that will be held on Aug. 27, 2019 to discuss and approve 2018 annual financial results.
  • ISX will suspend trading of Baghdad Hotel (HBAG) starting Aug. 21, 2019 due to the AGM that will be held on Aug. 26, 2019 to discuss and approve 2018 annual financial results.
  • ISX will suspend trading of Tourist Village of Mosul dam (HTVM) starting Aug. 20, 2019 due to the AGM that will be held on Aug. 24, 2019 to discuss and approve 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 annual financial results.
  • Al-Mansour Bank (BMNS) will hold a GA on Aug. 19, 2019 to assign a new auditor to the bank. The bank will not be suspended from trading.
  • Cross transactions: 2.95 bn shares of Al Taif Islamic Bank for Investment & Finance (BTIB) on Aug. 4 and Aug. 6, 2019, which represent 2.95% of BTIB’s capital.

By John Lee.

A Chinese company has reportedly signed a $1.39-billion construction contract in Iraq.

According to Xinhua, China Construction Third Engineering Bureau will implement civil engineering projects and infrastructure in southern Iraq, including low-cost housing, education, medical centres, and facilities projects in governorates of Najaf, Karbala and Basra.

(Source: Xinhua)

The Cabinet held its regular weekly meeting in Baghdad on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Mr. Adil Abd Al-Mahdi. It approved:

  • the recommendation of the Ministerial Energy Council on the service contract for Al-Mansuriyah oil field in Diyala province;
  • a draft law on public-private partnership to strengthen cooperation between government agencies and the private sector;
  • the draft agreement between the Republic of Iraq and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of tax evasion’
  • measures to meet the requirements of elections to provincial councils outside the Kurdistan Region of Iraq;
  • recommendations for development of the Safwan border crossing between Iraq and Kuwait in Basra province.

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

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)