From Rudaw. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Baghdad ruling deals blow to Kurdistan Region’s gold trade

The Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority‘s decision to ban the import and export of gold to and from the Kurdistan Region last month has triggered anger among goldsmiths and government officials.

According to a copy of the decision seen by Rudaw English, the import and export of gold is now only authorized at Baghdad and Najaf airports.

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The post Baghdad ruling deals Blow to Kurdistan’s Gold Trade first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By John Lee.

The Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) has announced that Salem Chalabi [Salem Jawad Abdul Hadi Al-Jalabi] has taken over as the company’s Chairman and President with immediate effect.

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi appointed the Yale graduate to succeed Faisal Al Haimus, who has been named as head of the Iraq Securities Commission (ISC).

Mr Chalabi has most recently served as an adviser to the Prime Minister on international legal and financial affairs. He is a partner at the international law firm Stephenson Harwood, and has previously worked for DLA Piper, Clifford Chance, and Morgan Lewis.

(Sources: TBI, Zawya)

The post Trade Bank of Iraq names New Chairman first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By John Lee.

Jordan’s Capital Bank has said that it has signed a letter of intent to acquire assets and liabilities of Lebanon’s Bank Audi.

It’s Chairman told Reuters that the bank has already begun due diligence on buying Bank Audi’s Iraqi units.

Click here to see the stock market annoucement.

Click here to read Reuters interview

(Sources: Amman Stock Exchange, Reuters)

The post Capital Bank to buy Lebanon’s Bank Audi first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By John Lee.

Genel Energy has engaged Pareto Securities to organise a roadshow with international credit investors. The Company may, subject to market conditions and acceptable terms on the new issue, raise a new five-year bond of up to $300 million to replace the Company’s existing bond maturing in December 2022.

Genel had cash in excess of $350 million at 30 August 2020, and net cash of $55 million. Acdording to a company statesment, it “maintains a positive outlook, a strategy of maintaining a robust balance sheet through cycles, and is proactively managing its liquidity runway and debt maturity profile“.

(Source: Genel Energy)

The post Genel Energy considers new Bond Issue first appeared on Iraq Business News.

By Ahmed Tabaqchali, CIO of Asia Frontier Capital (AFC) Iraq Fund, for the London School of Economics (LSE) Middle East Centre.

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

The Accounts that Didn’t Bark: Iraq’s Hidden State Balances

Iraq’s new prime minister, soon after being elected, wrote in an article to Iraqis that ‘when I assumed my duties, I found nothing but an almost empty treasury and an unenviable situation after 17 years of change.

The PM was referring to the accounts he would have been introduced to upon taking office – the Ministry of Finance’s (MoF) accounts with the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), which at the end of May had net balances of 2.4 trillion (trn) Iraqi Dinars (IQD), made up of deposits of IQD 4.2 trn and debt of IQD 1.8 trn (see Figure 1).

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By Elizabeth Hagedorn for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

US squeezes Islamic State’s cash flow with new sanctions

The United States and six other countries imposed fresh sanctions today on half a dozen targets accused of helping fund the operations of the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), including by funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to the group’s leaders in Iraq and Syria.

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Foreign Minister Calls on his German Counterpart to Support the Removal of Iraq from List of High-risk Countries in Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mr. Fuad Hussein received a phone call from German Foreign Minister Mr. Heiko Maas. The two Ministers discussed bilateral relations between the two countries, and the prospects for promoting them to meet the aspirations of the two friendly peoples.

Minister Fuad Hussein affirmed his keenness to enhance ways of bilateral cooperation with Berlin in various fields.

Minister Fuad Hussein congratulated his German counterpart on his assumption of the presidency of the European Union, expressing his aspiration for the relations between Iraq and Europe to witness a development that contributes to achieving the aspirations of the two sides, and called for Mr. Heiko Maas to intensify his efforts to remove Iraq from the list of high-risk countries in money laundering and terrorist financing.

The German Foreign Minister affirmed that he would chair the ministerial meeting of the EU next week, and he would use his efforts to address this issue upon the request of Iraq.

The two sides discussed the economic file and activating the mechanisms of bilateral cooperation in a way that benefits Iraq and Germany.

The Minister affirmed that the doors of the Iraqi market are open to German companies for its long history of working in Iraq and the Ministry will work as far as it is concerned to communicate with the concerned authorities and ministries to address the difficulties that face Siemens.

The German Foreign Minister revealed the strong desire of German companies to work in Iraq.

The regional and international issues and their repercussions on Iraq had a share in the discussions between the two ministers. Minister Fuad Hussein called on Germany to use its political and economic influence with regional countries to prevent interference in Iraq’s internal affairs, pointing out that Iraq’s new foreign policy depends on the equation of finding balanced relations with all neighboring countries based on the principle of good neighborliness, achieving common interests, solving problems by peaceful means, and distancing Iraq and its people from international and regional tensions.

On his part, Mr. Maas considered that Iraq’s policy in establishing its relationship represents the right path for relations with regional countries, noting that Germany will work hard to protect Iraqi sovereignty, confirming Germany’s continued support to Iraq in various fields.

Thr two Ministers also touched on the Syrian situation, and Minister Fuad Hussein affirmed that the complex security and political situation and fighting in Syria are negatively affecting the Iraqi security situation.

Mr. Heiko Maas confirmed that his government is a member of the Global coalition in the fight against Da’esh and is ready to continue to support in this field, explaining that Da’esh is a threat to all.

(Source: Iraqi Foreign Ministry)

By John Lee.

Turkey’s official export credit agency has reportedy agreed to provide $79.2 million in reinsurance support to its U.K. counterpart’s energy projects in Iraq.

According to Daily Sabah, Türk Eximbank will provide UK Export Finance (UKEF) with cash in proportion to the value of Turkish exports and services that will be used in the first phase of the power projects in Iraq.

More here.

(Source: Daily Sabah)

By John Lee.

The Iraqi parliament has reportedly authorised borrowing of up to $5 billion (Dh18bn) from abroad after the fall in oil prices caused a financial crunch.

According to The National, the vote came a few days rating agency Fitch forecast the economy to shrink 9 per cent this year and debt to skyrocket.

More here.

(Source: The National)

By John Lee.

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Trade Bank of Iraq’s (TBI) Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘B-‘ with Negative Outlook. A full list of rating actions is below.

The Negative Outlook mirrors that on the sovereign. This reflects the impact of oil price slump on Iraq’s fiscal and external finances, near-term uncertainty over the sovereign’s financing plan and limitations on policymakers’ ability to respond to the fiscal crisis.

The Iraqi economy is undiversified and highly dependent on oil, which accounts for 50% of its GDP and close to 90% of fiscal revenues. Fitch forecasts the budget deficit to widen to 19% of GDP in 2020 and government debt/GDP to increase to an average of 80% in 2020-2021 from 47% in 2019.

Larger budget deficits will severely constrain government capital spending and banks’ credit growth. Fitch expects real GDP to shrink 9% in 2020.

More here.

(Source: Fitch)