Tag Archive | "forex"

US Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Dinar Sales


By John Lee.

An American man has pleaded guilty to operating an illegal business selling Iraqi dinar.

ArgusLeader reports that 60-year-old David Olmsted, also known as Dale Cooper Jr., received daily Federal Express packages with shrink-wrapped piles of dinar bills that had been smuggled out of Iraq and into Jordan.

The man, from South Dakota, was charged in federal court with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, failure to report on exporting and importing monetary instruments, and unlawful structure of transactions to evade reporting requirements.

He remains free on bond until a sentencing hearing in September. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

(Source: ArgusLeader)

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Calls to Address Dinar Rate Fluctuation


By John Lee.

The First Deputy Chairman of the parliament has reportedly demanded that the Central Bank of Iraq address the fluctuating exchange rate of the Iraqi dinar against the US dollar, and disclose the reasons.

Shafaaq News says that Qusay al-Suhai chaired a meeting of the Finance Committee, in the presence of central bank governor Abdul Basit Turki, in which he stressed the need to identify procedures taken by the management of the central bank to deal with the fluctuation of the exchange rate.

He said it was important to know the real reasons that led to this instability, “which will negatively affect the lives of the Iraqi individual”.

On Sunday, the Presidency of the parliament announced its full support for the actions that the central bank intends to take to ensure the stability of the Iraqi currency, following what it describes as its decline to the lowest level in two years.

The value of the Iraqi dinar has declined gradually over the past weeks to reach the per dollar price to about 1129 dinars after it was stable at 1120, which is the highest rate the exchange rate reaches during the past two years.

(Source: Shafaaq)

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Questions About Practices of Private Iraqi Banks


By Omar al-Shaher, for Al-MonitorAny opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Privately held Iraqi banks have almost entirely relinquished their traditional functions — such as giving out loans, lending credit and issuing letters of credit — due to default risks. Instead, they are resorting to profit making through participation in the currency auction regularly held by the Iraqi Central Bank.

Iraqi banks demand exaggerated guarantees for the granting of any loans to local investors, for fear of defaults on payments. According to banking experts, the value of some loans does not cover more than 40% of the guarantees the privately held banks are demanding, leading to a decrease in the number of loan operations conducted by these banks to a bare minimum.

A lack of local confidence in privately held banks has contributed to their reluctance to enter the market. According to banking expert Dr. Ahmad Brayhi, “Members of the public are depositing their money in government owned banks because they feel that they will honor their commitments towards them.” He also added, “The public does not have much confidence in local banks, which is why it does not trust them with its money.”

Bank brokers affirm that most privately held banks have either closed — or chosen not to open — branches in Iraqi provinces and restrict their activities to their main branches in Baghdad, due to a reluctance to engage in real banking transactions.

Out of a total of 23 privately held banks operating in Iraq, only two are located in the city of Erbil and one in Mosul, whereas 20 are located in Baghdad.

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What’s the Real Reason for Shabibi’s Dismissal?


Perhaps the biggest story of recent days was the shock dismissal of the Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), Sinan al-Shabibi, and the issuing of arrest warrants for him and many of his staff.

The nature of the allegations against Mr Shabibi are not entirely clear, but appear to center around manipulation of the exchange rate between the Iraqi dinar (IQD) and the US dollar.

Considering the fact that the exchange rate has been managed within a relatively tight range for quite some time, this accusation looks a little strange.

But there has been tension between the Central Bank and the government for years. In January of last year, Nouri al-Maliki secured a court ruling placing the Central Bank under the control of the cabinet, rather than the parliament, much to the displeasure of al-Shabibi.

The latest charges have been brought by Iraq’s Commission on Integrity, whose former head resigned last year, alleging political interference in his inquiries.

Suspicions abound that the Central Bank affair is an attempt by al-Maliki to increase his control of the bank. While we wait for more details to emerge, the international business community will be watching developments closely.

Iraq is a complicated environment, and Upper Quartile and AAIB are the ideal partners to guide your business through the complexities of Iraqi life. For more information please contact Gavin Jones or Adrian Shaw.

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Iraqi Dinar Exchange Rate Manipulated?


By John Lee.

Investigators in Iraq have opened an inquiry into alleged manipulation of the exchange rate between the Iraqi dinar (IQD) and the US dollar, and arrest warrants have reportedly been issued for several officials including the head of the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI).

Hassan Karim Aati, spokesman for the Commission on Integrity, said on Tuesday that the Commission is looking into the matter, and studying documents from a parliamentary committee investigating the corruption allegations.

The investigation focusses around 16 officials in the CBI.

While it’s understood that no charges have been brought, Baha al-Araji, the chairman of parliament’s integrity committee, said 30 arrest warrants had been issued, including for CBI governor Sinan al-Shabibi (pictured) and his deputy Mudher Saleh [Mudher Kasim, Mudher Saleh Kasim].

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Iraq Halts Plans to Drop 3 Zeros from Dinar


Iraq has decided to hold off on a plan to knock three zeros off the nominal value of bank notes of its currency because it does not believe the economic climate is suitable, reports Reuters.

The central bank said last August that it planned to redenominate the Iraqi dinar to simplify financial transactions in an economy that is still heavily centralised and dominated by oil, and where deals are often carried out in cash.

The proposal to restructure the dinar to bring more liquidity into the market has been awaiting parliamentary approval since last year.

On Thursday, a statement on the website of the cabinet secretary said the cabinet had decided to halt all procedures relating to the redenomination of the dinar “until further notice”.

“The economic committee discussed this issue and so did cabinet … There is a possibility that it could cause some problems in the economic situation. Besides that, this operation is so big that cabinet sees circumstances are not right to control this,” cabinet secretary Ali al-Alaq told Reuters.

“We have more than 30 trillion dinars in circulation. To withdraw this amount from the market and then to examine them and to dispose of them is a huge process. Even the technical and the monetary capabilities to control a process like this, we consider as insufficient and it is not seen as a priority currently,” Alaq said.

The central bank says Iraq’s large foreign reserves, which have risen to a record $60 billion on the back of high oil prices, will shield it from any damage to its financial system on the national level.

(Source: Reuters)

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Iraq Has Cash Reserves to Fight Dinar Depreciation


The finance committee in the Iraqi Council of Representatives warned on Wednesday about the deterioration of the Iraqi economy due to the low exchange rate of the dinar to the US dollar, assuring that proposals are underway to get the country back on its feet, reports AKnews.

According to AKnews, the Iraqi dinar hit its lowest exchange rate in three years against the US dollar, at a selling rate of 1290 dinars per dollar on Tuesday. On the othe hand, some online sources still show it trading in the range 1160 to 1165.

Committee member Shawrash Mustafa said the committee began to study the deterioration of the Iraqi dinar exchange rate and put in place several proposals to halt the crisis. He did not say what these proposals were, but that they will be delivered to the Ministry of Finance and Iraqi Central Bank (ICB).

The ICB has issued strict regulations on its sale of dollars, due to restrictions on trade with both Iran and Syria.

Azzaman reports that the dinar’s depreciation has prompted the Central Bank to intervene by increasing supply of dollars and withdrawing dinars from the market. The operation is supported by estimated foreign currency reserves of $62 billion, which Central Bank Deputy Governor Mudher Saleh said is sufficient to cover 120% of the value of local currency in circulation at current exchange rate.

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Central Bank Tightens Rules on Buying Dollars


The Financial Times reports that Iraq’s central bank has tightened its clampdown on its sales of dollars, amid fears that buyers are using them to launder money and skirt international sanctions on neighbouring Iran and Syria.

The bank unveiled new rules on Monday to force customers to prove their identities by supplying tax records and import licences. Its deputy governor, Mudher Salih Kasim, told the FT, “Iraq is liberal and the two countries next door are under sanctions. You can see the consequences are very bad: this is spillover.”

The Iranian rial is now trading at 16,000 to the dollar, versus 12,500 in December.

Demand for dollars is as high as $400m and $450m a day, more than double some estimates of the legitimate need, may be due to criminality and Iraqi middle men settling debts on behalf of clients in Iran and Syria.

The new rules will compel all commercial buyers of dollars at the central bank’s near-daily auctions to produce tax clearance certificates and, from 30th June, papers to prove they are allowed to import the goods they say they are using the money to buy.

In February, the central bank asked dealers to submit cheques rather than cash, in order to identify currency buyers, but this largely failed because purchasers were simply hiring third parties such as “porters from the street” to open bank accounts on their behalf.

One currency dealer told The National, “I don’t have the right to ask my client what he is going to do with the dollars when he takes it from my shop. It’s almost impossible to track where the money is going, because the currency has been taken to the street.”

(Sources: Financial Times, The National)

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