TNT – “Tidbits From TNT” Sunday 12-31-2023

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Tishwash:  Iran announces the start of settling its country’s exports to Iraq in its national currency, the riyal

The Governor of the Central Bank of Iran confirmed the start of a project to settle the country’s exports abroad in the national currency, the riyal. On the sidelines of the meeting of the Government and Private Sector Council in Khorasan Razavi Province (northeastern Iran), Muhammad Reza Farzin explained that the issue of settling Iranian exports via the riyal currency outside the borders has been studied by the Central Bank for several months, and that its entry into force will address the requirements of exporters to Iraq and Afghanistan.

He added, “This issue is one of the demands of Mashhad’s merchants for export to Afghanistan, and through the implementation of the ‘Rial Offshore’ project (riyals outside the borders), merchants will be able to benefit from it instead of foreign currency.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Iran pointed out that “the regulations for the cross-border rial project have been formulated by the Central Bank, and in practice two banks have started this project, and soon it will be circulated to all the country’s banks.” It is noteworthy that the Federal Reserve Bank, the US central bank, imposed procedures and restrictions on external financial transfers from Iraq, to ensure that they do not reach Tehran.

A report issued by the International Center for Development Studies, headquartered in the British capital, London, previously warned that “the attempts of the Central Bank of Iraq to prevent the smuggling of the dollar have failed, as the price of the Iraqi dinar continues to decline against the dollar, which exacerbates the suffering of Iraqis and raises the prices of goods.” The report pointed out that “the Iraqi banking system, instead of contributing to the development of the Iraqi economy, has become a major obstacle to growth or attracting investments, in addition to becoming an essential accessory to money smuggling and money laundering networks.

There are a large number of banks that belong to figures close to politicians, parties and factions.” Armed forces contribute significantly to dollar smuggling and financing foreign trade operations with neighboring countries in exchange for receiving commissions and political support.” The report estimates that two-thirds of the Central Bank of Iraq’s sales in what is known as the “currency selling window”, which ranges at levels of $250 million per day, did not benefit the Iraqi market over the past two decades, which led to the country losing sums of money of no less than $400 billion. The British report did not rule out that dollar smuggling operations would lead to the isolation and ban of more Iraqi banks because some of them contribute to violating international sanctions, noting that “the recent US Treasury decisions to impose a ban on a number of Iraqi banks and oblige the rest to comply with the platform for monitoring the movement of electronic funds is what… “It is only the beginning of more difficult, deeper and more painful steps.”  link

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Tishwash:  Iran and Iraq discuss using the Isomer platform to finance the two countries’ trade 

 Iraq and Iran have reached an agreement to finance private sector trade, by adopting a new platform called Isomer, away from using the dollar. 

The Governor of the Central Bank of Iran, Mohammad Reza Farzin, said, “The issue of settling Iranian exports via the rial currency outside the borders has been studied by the Central Bank for several months, and that its entry into force will address the requirements of exporters to Iraq and Afghanistan.” 

He added, “This issue is one of the demands of Mashhad’s merchants for export to Afghanistan, and through the implementation of the Riyal Offshore Project (riyals outside the borders), merchants will be able to benefit from it instead of foreign currency.” 

The Governor of the Central Bank of Iran pointed out that “the regulations for the cross-border riyal project have been formulated by the Central Bank, and in practice two banks have started this project, and soon it will be circulated to all the country’s banks.” 

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Muhammad Shia’ al-Sudani revealed that the Iranian side suggested that Iraq deal in currencies other than The dollar, including the Chinese yuan, is used in commercial transactions between the two countries, due to the Western economic sanctions that Tehran faces.  
Trade between Iraq and Iran was damaged, after the rise in the exchange rate of the dollar in the parallel market, as traders in the private sector depend on buying the dollar from the parallel market to finance their imports from Iran.  

On the other hand, an informed source revealed to Al-Iqtisad News that Iraq and Iran held discussions about financing private sector trade away from the dollar, through the Asian Clearing Union, which is headed by Iran and includes the countries of China, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and others.  

He added that The settlement will be in the currencies of the Indian rupee or the Chinese yuan, indicating that the Iraqi merchant will pay and receive in dinars and the Iranian merchant will pay and receive in Iranian riyals.

The  Asian Clearing Union (ACU) confirmed the adoption of the currencies of the yuan, ruble and rupee and the development of an electronic platform to carry out commercial transactions between member states independently of the dollar and the “SWIFT” Association. “

In an interview with the Iranian “Jam Jam” TV channel, the Secretary General of the Asian Clearing Union (ACU), Farhad Morsali, indicated that the ACU meeting in Tehran recently adopted 12 decisions, as officials of the Indian and Pakistani central banks confirmed that these decisions are in the interest of Iran and the country’s merchants in comparison. With the rest of the members. 

Morsali stated that one of the most important decisions taken is the exchange between Iranian merchants and the rest of the member states’ merchants via the rupee currency, so that Iranian merchants can open accounts in rupees in specific banks, noting that the decision will come into effect next month. 
 
He added that Iranian merchants will be able to obtain financing in the currencies of the rupee, yuan and ruble, in addition to other national currencies of member states, and get rid of the ban on the dollar and the SWIFT platform. 

He stated that a new platform will be launched called “Esomer”, which is similar to the local “SPAM” platform for electronic financial transactions.  link

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Tishwash:  The Council of Ministers and the Central Bank are the first institutions in 2023 to achieve financial and banking reform

Samir Al-Nusair

 Since the beginning of 2023, the new government’s measures have coincided in accordance with its governmental platform in its twenty-three axes, more than half of which was allocated to the detailed road map to address the lack of methodology and the dispersion of policies in the economic sectors and the chaos in managing the economy and to address the imbalance in the lack of coordination between the financial and monetary policies and the lack of clarity in the financial policy and these diagnoses.

The solutions were accompanied by the Central Bank reconsidering the tools and applications of monetary policy, cooperation, harmony and continuous coordination between the government and the Central Bank. Therefore, there was a unification of visions and setting of the interim goals for the year 2023 and the strategy for the coming years.

With permanent cooperation and continued support from the Prime Minister for the procedures of the Central Bank and a focus on supporting its plans in achieving the priorities that are based on achieving financial and banking reform first and thus reforming the other rings of the real economy, of which the banking sector occupies the first basic link in the economy, therefore the steps of cooperation and coordination and issuing reform decisions have yielded results.

 Joint efforts to enable the economy to advance at good growth rates were confirmed by international organizations, especially the reports of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and their acknowledgment that the Iraqi economy in 2023 left its fragility to a gradual recovery and achieved an inflation rate at an annual rate of 3.7%, which is the lowest comparative rate of 7% in January 2023, which is The rate is the lowest compared to the rates of Arab and regional countries for the same period, and this is one of the goals of monetary policy by reducing inflation and maintaining the general level of prices despite the fluctuation in the exchange rate. In addition, there is an expectation to achieve growth in non-oil GDP by 5%.

Also organizing the financing of foreign trade and moving banks to build trust relations with global correspondent banks and obtaining their approval to open up to 40 accounts with our banks for the first time in years and allowing commercial and banking dealings with them directly and gradually leaving the electronic platform and introducing new foreign currencies into dealing and trading for the purposes of foreign trade. With China, the Emirates, Turkey and India, in addition to the US dollar, which will help gradually stabilize the exchange rate in the parallel market, as well as the serious direction of the government and the central bank to move and transform from a cash economy to a digital economy and focus on developing electronic payment systems and securing the infrastructure for this by establishing a national company for payment systems and reconsidering the structure.

Banking financing and preparing to launch the national lending strategy, establishing a leadership bank to finance small and medium enterprises, and reconsidering the structural, supervisory and supervisory functions of the bank’s specialized departments. The important and basic priority that the Central Bank is working on is preparing to launch the financial inclusion strategy, as the number of accounts opened in banks has grown by 14% and has reached more than 10 million accounts. The number of credit cards issued reached more than 18 million cards.

All of these reform measures were completed under difficult and complex circumstances during 2023 and with continuous support, harmony, cooperation and support between Mr. Prime Minister Muhammad Shiaa Al-Sudani and Mr. Governor of the Central Bank Ali Mohsen Al-Alaq, which confirms the entitlement of the Council of Ministers and the Central Bank to be called the first institutions in 2023 for their leadership, supervisory and executive role. In pursuit of financial and banking reform in 2023 as a first stage in achieving successful economic reform. link