Iraq Economic News and Points to Ponder Sunday Afternoon 5-5-24


Iraq Economic News and Points to Ponder Sunday Afternoon 5-5-24

A New Decline In The Exchange Rate.. The Dinar Slaps The Dollar

Economy |  05/05/2024  Mawazine News – Baghdad   The prices of the US dollar closed lower against the Iraqi dinar, today, Sunday, in Baghdad.

Dollar prices recorded a decline with the closure of the main Kifah and Harthiya stock exchanges in Baghdad, recording 145,250 Iraqi dinars per 100 dollars, while dollar prices this morning recorded 145,650 Iraqi dinars per 100 dollars.

Selling prices in the field of banking in the local markets in Baghdad decreased, as the selling price reached 146,250 Iraqi dinars per 100 dollars, while the purchase price reached 144,250 Iraqi dinars per 100 dollars.

Al-Hakim To Plasschaert: The Current State Of Stability In Iraq Must Be Exploited

Political | – 05/05/2024  Mawazine News – Baghdad  The head of the Al-Hikma Movement, Ammar Al-Hakim, stressed today, Sunday, the necessity of investing in the current state of stability in Iraq, while noting that the country is proposing development projects throughout the region and seeks to engage common interests.

Al-Hakim said in a statement received by Mawazine News, “Today we received the representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Iraq, Jeanine Plasschaert, near the end of her mission in Baghdad, where we praised the efforts of the United Nations organization in the past stage, and made clear that the current state of stability that the country is witnessing must be invested in a manner that “It enhances the interests of Iraq and the interests of its partners in the region.”

He added, “The world has begun to change in its approach to the Iraqi issue, and we said that the previous reading was disturbing stability in the region, while the current reading is that the security of the region is the security of Iraq,” calling for “reading history and standing at its decisive points.”

He stressed, “Iraq proposes development projects for the entire region and seeks to intertwine interests and transform conflict into networking, cooperation and collaboration,” pointing out that “the path of development is the best witness to Iraq’s development vision for itself and for the region.”

World Bank: Reliance On Oil Will Expose Iraq To Macroeconomic Fluctuations

Economy  Saturday, May 4, 2024 9:21 AM  Follow-up/National News Center

The Iraqi economy is expected to return to growth in 2024 at a rate of 1.4%, compared to a contraction of 2.2% in 2023, with the growth rate next year jumping to 5.3%, according to data from the latest IMF report on global economic prospects issued this month.

The contraction in Iraq’s GDP last year comes despite a strong return to growth in the non-oil sector, recording 6%, with inflation receding, according to Fund estimates.

According to the statement of the IMF mission to conduct Article IV consultations, last March, the Fund expects that overall growth will rise again in 2024, with the momentum of non-oil growth continuing during the year, while risks tend towards an increase amid increasing uncertainty.

This comes while the Fund expects, in the medium term, that non-oil growth will stabilize at around 2.5% due to the obstacles that limit the development of the private sector.

Iraq is one of the countries most dependent on oil in the world, and oil revenues accounted for more than 99% of its exports, 85% of its government budget, and 42% of its gross domestic product over the past decade, according to World Bank data.

The World Bank believes that this excessive dependence on oil exposes the country to macroeconomic fluctuations, while budgetary rigidities restrict the available spending space in public finances, and limit any opportunity to develop policies to counter cyclical fluctuations.

The balance of public finances went from a surplus of 10.8% of GDP in 2022, to a deficit of 1.3% in 2023.

This is due to a decrease in oil revenues and an increase in spending by 8% of GDP, which contributed to the increase in salaries. Contractual pensions are 5%, according to the IMF.

The Fund expects the public finance deficit to reach 7.6% of GDP in 2024, in the absence of new policy measures, and to expand further after that with the expected gradual decline in oil prices in the medium term.

The increase in the public finance deficit will result in a nearly doubling of public debt from 44% of GDP in 2023 to 86% of GDP by 2029, according to Fund estimates.

Expectations that the current account will turn into a deficit

The IMF estimates the current account surplus at 2.6% of GDP at the end of last year, expecting it to turn into a deficit by 3.6% during 2024, and for this deficit to expand to 5.1%.

Indicators have improved:

Overall inflation declined from 7.5% in January 2023 to 4% by the end of last year, according to IMF estimates, which reflected the decline in food and energy prices at the international level, and the impact of the currency revaluation process. Iraq in February 2023.

The International Monetary Fund expects the inflation rate to stabilize at 4%, whether as an average for the year or as a level by the end of the year during the years 2024 and 2025.

The Fund also estimates that international reserves will rise to 112 billion US dollars by the end of 2023, compared to about 97 billion dollars at the end of 2022.

The Iraqi government reduced external debt from 19.729 billion dollars in 2022 to 15.976 billion dollars in 2023, according to what was reported by the official Iraqi News Agency. According to Iraqi government spokesman Bassem Al-Awadi, this April.

Al-Awadi said that the government took a series of executive measures and adopted a package of financial decisions, which resulted in reducing the external public debt by more than 50%, bringing the debt down from $19.729 billion at the end of 2022, to $15.976 billion in 2023, reaching $19.729 billion in late 2022. Approximately $8.9 billion this year.

Other steps for a greater role for the non-oil sector

The IMF believes that reducing the level of dependence on oil, and ensuring financial sustainability, while at the same time working to protect the very important social and investment spending, will require a major adjustment to public financial conditions, based on controlling the public finance bill. Public sector wages and increased non-oil revenues.

In parallel, the situation will require achieving high economic growth to absorb the rapidly growing workforce, boost non-oil exports, and expand the tax base.

The IMF believes that there is a need to implement an ambitious adjustment to public financial conditions, to help stabilize debt in the medium term, and rebuild protective safety margins for public finances, while maintaining necessary capital spending.

Most aspects of controlling public finances come from reducing current spending, especially controlling the wage bill by reducing mandatory appointments, and from working to gradually implement the rule of natural attrition for workers in the public sector.

The Fund indicated the need to increase non-oil revenues by expanding the income tax base on individuals, making it more progressive, reviewing the customs tariff structure, and considering imposing new taxes on luxury items.

The Fund also believes that there is a need to undertake broad structural reforms to enhance private sector development and economic diversification.

He explained that Iraq needs to raise growth rates in the non-oil sector in a sustainable manner to accommodate the rapidly increasing workforce, and to increase non-oil exports and government revenues, in addition to reducing the economy’s exposure to oil price shocks.

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani, said last January that his country had set a goal in a three-year budget to reduce dependence on oil revenues from 95% to 80%, in a discussion session at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The Central Bank Sold More Than A Quarter Of A Billion Dollars In The Currency Auction Today

Sunday 05, May 2024 15:54 | Economical Number of readings: 108  Baghdad / NINA / The Central Bank of Iraq’s dollar sales amounted to more than 276 million dollars on Sunday at the currency auction.

A statement from him explained that the bank sold in its auction today 276 million and 568 thousand and 264 dollars, which it covered at a base exchange rate of 1,305 dinars per dollar for documentary credits and international settlements for electronic cards, at a price of 1,310 dinars per dollar for external transfers, and at a price of 1,310 dinars per dollar in cash.

He added that most of the dollar sales went to strengthen balances abroad in the form of transfers and credits, which amounted to 264 million 748 thousand and 264 dollars, an increase of 94% over cash sales amounting to 11 million and 820 thousand dollars.

He explained that the number of banks that purchased cash dollars reached 4 banks, while the number of banks that responded to requests to enhance balances abroad reached 17 banks, and the total number of exchange and brokerage companies participating in the auction was 30 companies./

Within A Week…More Than One Billion Dollars In Sales From The Central Bank Of Iraq

Economy | 04/05/2024   Mawazine News – Baghdad  The Central Bank of Iraq’s total sales of hard currency for the US dollar amounted to more than one billion dollars during the period in which the auction was opened last week.

During the past week and for the week-day period in which the auction was opened, the Central Bank sold 1 billion 348 million 235 thousand 509 dollars, at a daily rate of 276 million 847 million 19 dollars, lower than what it recorded last week, which amounted to 1 billion 354 million 297 thousand 9 dollars.

The highest dollar sales were on Wednesday, when sales amounted to 282 million, 624 thousand and 465 dollars, while the lowest sales were on Sunday, when sales amounted to 270 million, 897 thousand and 422 dollars.

It is noteworthy that sales of foreign remittances during the past week amounted to 1 billion, 317 million and 475 thousand dollars, an increase of 95% compared to cash sales, which amounted to 66 million and 760 thousand dollars.

The sales went in the form of cash and transfers abroad to finance foreign trade, while the selling price of documentary credits and international settlements for electronic cards reached 1,305 dinars per dollar, while the selling price of transfers abroad and the cash selling price reached 1,310 dinars per dollar.

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Provoking Thoughts and Points to Ponder on Wealth

Australia is so kind that, just tickle her with a hoe, and she laughs with a harvest. – Douglas Jerrold

It is better to live rich than to die rich.  – Samuel Johnson

We can have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.  – Louis D. Brandeis

I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.  – Mark Twain

Sleep, riches and health to be truly enjoyed must be interrupted.  – Jean Paul Richter

The wealth of a nation consists not in its mass of material things, but in its system. The natural resources of South America are not inferior to those of the United States, but the wealth of the two regions is vastly different. The land of India is far richer than that of Japan, but the comparative wealth of the two nations is reversed.  – George Brockway