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Vietnamese Banks Lowering Interest Rates to Stimulate Credit Growth

by admin ~ January 29th, 2013

While the majority of foreigners already enjoy outstanding Vietnamese currencyconversion rates, things could get better for those – particularly who take on loans from Vietnam moneylending institutions for the financing of certain projects – who regularly transact with local banks while visiting the country.

Banks are currently struggling with the tough task of increasing credit growth for 2013. In addition, the implementation of looser monetary policies has made achieving such a goal even harder. Despite being pinned against the odds, the State Bank of Viet Nam intends to boost credit growth in several priority industries – including production and export – by lowering interest rates.

According to industry insiders, the interest rate is predicted to fluctuate anywhere from 11 to 13 percent.

Regardless of the banking institution’s optimistic approach, not everyone shares the same views, or believes that significant credit growth can even be achieved for this year. Nguyen Hoa Binh, chairman of Vietcombank’s Board of Directors, says that the State Bank of Viet Nam’s move is unlikely to have any impacts on lending.

In a statement to Dau Tu newspaper, Binh claims that commercial establishments still hesitate to utilize bank loans for expanding their business operations in the context of low consumption and high inventory. And since consumption is currently kept at the spectrum’s lower end, firms are unlikely to resort to using loans.

Pham Thien Long, the deputy general director of HD Bank, agrees with Binh, stating that credit growth would fail to increase despite the decrease of interest rates placed on loaning services.

Other banks have also resorted to cutting back on lending rates given to solvent buyers. At Eximbank, the interest rate placed on loans was reduced to 8-9 percent per annum for solvent debtors engaging the production and export industries. Regardless of the move, Eximbank admits that it’s still having difficulty in finding clients to take on these specialized loans.

According to a representative of SBV, the company has recently affirmed its intention to refrain from setting ceiling lending interest rates for all borrowers; but rather, it plans to set the ceiling rate to 12 percent for several priority industries.

Representatives from a couple of Vietnam moneylenders – who requested not to be named – say that they’re taking on a different approach to stimulating credit growth for this year. Amongst their various strategies, one shared in common was their move to focus on dealing with rising bad debts.

16-Year Ban on Commercial Flights from US to Iraq Lifted

by admin ~ January 25th, 2013

Commercial flights going to Iraq from the US were banned since 1996 due to safety reasons. Sixteen years later, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has finally decided to lift the ban on commercial U.S. carriers going to two airports located within Kurdish northern Iraq, raising hopes that it will soon be easier to buy dinar and visit the country.

The barring of plane trips going into the Middle Eastern country was largely due to mayhem now-executed Saddam Hussein caused during his rule as President. Moreover, the dictator reportedly “urged his air defense forces to ignore both the southern and northern no-fly zones and to attack ‘any air target of the aggressors.”

FAA officials say they are currently allowing people to buy dinar and land at Erbil and Sulaymaniyah airports. The fact that other commercial operators have utilized these airports over the past years without incident is proof that stability within the region has indeed reached notably higher levels over the past decade.

“The FAA has determined that flights by U.S. operators may now be conducted safely to these two airports under certain conditions,” said a representative of the agency.

Today, U.S. civilian flights have permission to fly over Iraq at altitudes above 20,000 feet. Moreover, the FAA has allowed some commercial flights into the country under contract by certain agencies or the military itself.

The notion to remove this ban will become effective starting January 7, 2013. However, approval by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for U.S. carrier operations in Iraq is required before the removal is implemented.

Hussein’s downfall has gradually cultivated the reestablishment of Iraq’s commercial relations with other countries (aside from the U.S.) Various airlines such as Austrian, Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines and Gulf Air to re-launch their services going to Iraq. Meanwhile, several hotel groups – including Starwood and Hilton – have recently announced their intentions to erect new properties within the country.

When it comes to the oil industry, several giant companies have elected to work with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over the leaders of Baghdad. Reasons for this are tied to the fact that oil contracts offered by the KRG are more lucrative as compared to that offered by Iraq’s capital.

Regardless of the recent strengthening of relations between the US and Iraq, reports on problems – such as Iraq granting permission to Iran for the shipment of weapons to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces through Iraqi airspace — pertaining to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s central government are still in circulation.

Iraq Oil Exports Decrease to 2.62mn bpd in November

by admin ~ January 23rd, 2013

While several new oil contracts were struck between Iraq and various major oil companies looking to buy Iraqi dinar earlier this year – which subsequently led to improved oil production – reports released by the ministry indicate a minor decrease in the number of barrels exported per day.

Iraq’s oil exports dropped to 2.62 million bpd in November from the 2.622 million bpd of October. The average selling price for Iraqi crude oil for the month was $104.35 per barrel.

With roughly 76.8 million barrels exported for the month, revenues for November dropped to $8.2 billion, down from the $8.578 billion made during October, wherein the per unit price was tagged slightly higher at $105.51. This shortfall is likely to harm the treasury’s ability to buy Iraqi dinar.

According to oil ministry spokesman Asim Jihad, various oil fields were tapped in order to reach the daily output rate of November, wherein the biggest source was traced to the southern oil hub Basra, which rendered approximately 2.194 million bpd. Northern fields around Kirkuk contributed 426,000 bpd, which included 10,000 barrels trucked to Jordan.

As of today, this Arab nation is still recovering from the blows dealt by conflict, sour relations (which are in the process of healing) with other countries and staggering sanctions. Nevertheless, since Iraq’s economic future is highly dependent on its oil industry, the Middle Eastern country is looking to substantially boost its export productivity and sales as soon as possible.

Iraq is yet to tap its true potential in oil export productivity, as the nation boasts 143.1 billion barrels of oil and 3.2 trillion cubic meters of gas – both of which are amongst the biggest across the globe. Its current number of infrastructural developments, manpower, and investors pales in comparison to other nations with significantly smaller sources of oil and gas.

Within the next three years, Iraq is planning to double its oil production levels. So far, the country has managed to surpass the 3 million bpd production level for the first time in three decades, which technically makes it OPEC’s second largest oil producer.

Iraq to Produce 6.1M bpd over the next Seven Years

by admin ~ January 21st, 2013

The U.S. may be aiming to become the world’s largest oil producer by 2017, but several industry experts believe that the Land of Liberty could have a tough time doing so as Iraq – the best place to buy Dinar and the world’s third largest oil exporter and OPEC’s second biggest oil producer – could very well snag the top spot.

Recent reports made by the International Energy Administration (IEA) state that oil production within the Middle Eastern country is set to double to 6.1 million barrels per day (bpd) over the next seven years, making the country a very lucrative place to buy Dinar. These figures will comprise roughly 45 percent of the predicted growth for global oil output through 2020.

Despite the fact that U.S. troops have already been pulled out, massive opportunities presented by the significantly underdeveloped sector of Iraq are far too great for international oil and gas companies – including Chevron, Exxon, Lukoil and TPAO – to simply back off.

However, due to the giant profitability for Iraq and investors to gain from the production and exportation of this product, internal conflict amongst governing bodies has developed as well. “Iraq’s massive 143 billion barrels in oil reserves has sparked a power struggle between Baghdad and the semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG),” explained Matthew Carr, commodities specialist at Investment U, earlier this year.

“The central Iraq government and KRG are competing for companies to come in and develop resources. But there’s tension brewing as Baghdad doesn’t formally recognize contracts international oil companies ink with the KRG Ministry of Natural Resources.”

The central government at Baghdad has threatened various oil companies dealing in Kurdistan, saying that they’d bar them from participating in other oil deals outside of the region. Regardless, a handful of major industry players still chose to stick with the KRG, mainly because of the more lucrative contracts they were capable of offering.

While the central governing body pays foreign organizations a service fee for every barrel produced, the KRG gives these companies a percentage of the profits rendered from oil sold within Kurdistan.

After months of threatening, it seems that the central government has finally decided to put an end to their onslaught, stating that it’ll “start making payments to international oil companies hoping to buy Dinar in the northern Kurdish region.”

Smaller companies — like Genel Energy and DNO International — with big, or even the biggest, stakes with the KRG are now placed in a better position for profit. They can now either expand their territories in Kurdistan more freely, or sell it for killer prices to big players dealing with the central government.

Iraq and Kuwait Leaders to Settle Outstanding Files in Baghdad

by admin ~ January 19th, 2013

History has shown a flurry of major issues taking place between Iraq and Kuwait, which gradually prompted the former to invade the latter. This invasion has claimed the lives of countless war personnel and innocent civilians, as well as causing collateral damage amounting to billions of dollars for those who like to buy dinar.

Despite the tragedies that has occurred between the two countries, and the sour relationship the two have been sharing over the succeeding years, leaders of both nations have decided to put an end to these issues, and work towards rebuilding each other’s economies so they can buy dinar for a better and brighter future.

During a recent press conference held earlier this month, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki stated that a joint Iraqi-Kuwaiti effort – which aims to end all outstanding issues between the two countries – has been formed. He also spoke about his Kuwaiti counterpart’s upcoming trip to Baghdad, and how it “will contribute to the resolution of many outstanding issues between them.”

Throughout the duration of the conference, al-Maliki made several references signifying the strengthening of the relationship between Iraq and Kuwait. The most recent sign of both nations exerting efforts to strengthen ties revolves around their mutual agreement to resolve the file on Kuwait Airways.

The Iraqi Prime Minister believes that the resolution with the issue placed on the airlines could very well serve as the stepping stone for fixing all other issues and tensions existing between the two.

“Frankly we want to finish all outstanding files, keeping in mind that it was not us who invaded Kuwait, but that adventurer who had brought conflict to our two countries and slaughtered so many people,” said al-Maliki.

The “adventurer” he’s referring to in the statement above is none other than Saddam Hussein. Nevertheless, the extensive damage dealt during the tyrant’s deposed regime is going to be addressed, and has been made a priority. The Iraqi leader explained that his country is committed to pay Kuwait hefty compensations amounting to $13 billion. He says that they’re also obligated to the maintenance of border signs, as well as to close the file regarding Kuwaitis who’ve gone missing within Iraq territory.

News of the joint-effort to resolve issues and foster a healthier relationship – which could possibly lead to stronger trade and joint-projects essential for boosting both countries’ economies – has gotten many observers excited about what the future has in store for all Iraqis and Kuwaitis.

Deadline Postponed for Nasiriya Integrated Project

by admin ~ January 18th, 2013

Iraq’s Petroleum Contracts & Licensing Directorate (PCLD), part of the Ministry of Oil, has announced that following requests received from interested companies the deadline for submitting qualification information for the Nasiriya Integrated Project has been postponed to 28th February 2013.

Documents sent by DHL are accepted provided that they have been sent before the deadline.

The PCLD will announce and inform all qualified companies of subsequent steps in due course.

 

http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2013/01/16/deadline-postponed-for-nasiriya-integrated-project/

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Iraq’s Anti-Measles Campaign Reaching out to 4.5 million Children

by admin ~ January 18th, 2013

Earlier this month, Iraq launched an anti-measles campaign in an attempt to buy Iraqi dinar to control the disease, which was considered a pandemic over the past few years. This special program designed to help the youth extended to all of the Middle Eastern’s provinces to ensure instances of developing the disorder are kept as low as possible.

“Our primary health centres, scattered across Iraq, are continually working to buy Iraqi dinar so they can protect children against measles, in addition to sending vaccination teams on field visits to homes to follow up on those who may have missed immunization,” says Dr. Hassan Hadi Baqer, current general director of public health for the ministry.

Baqer explains that officials conducting the campaign won’t just aim to control the ailment, but to eradicate it as well. “The ministry has stockpiled large quantities of measles vaccines to meet the needs of the campaign period and afterwards,” says Baqer.

To ensure the success of this anti-measles movement, the Ministry imported all vaccines from reputable and well-known international suppliers. On top of this, these vaccines were immediately subjected to thorough testing at the Ministry’s laboratories.

Baqer says the Ministry has taken extensive measures to make sure the shots are given out to as many individuals as possible by mobilizing “numerous immunisation teams, including fixed groups within health centres, as well as mobile ones that carry the vaccination to children under the age of five in their homes or at schools.”

According to the ministry, roughly 5,000 fixed and mobile health teams were deployed to give the Iraqis their vaccines. Some teams had to take vehicles to reach those residing within residential areas far from the centres, while others traveled by foot to places that were close-by.

Kids aging between six month and one year will given a single-type measles vaccines, while those between the ages one and five are to be administered mixed vaccines. In total, the campaign aims to service 4.5 million children

“The vaccines are safe and potent, and proved successful in tests carried out by the ministry’s centre for monitoring and drugs research, and they are certified by the World Health Organisation,” says Dr. Moatez Mohammed al-Jubury, current director of the ministry’s vaccinations programme.

He also added: “During the campaign, children will be given, in addition to these vaccines, doses of vitamin A to reinforce their immune systems.”

In Search of Confluence Points in Iraq

by admin ~ January 16th, 2013

It is strange but true. There are actually people who spend much time, resources, and efforts just to find and visit confluence points rather than buy Iraqi dinar, which are the integer degree intersections of the earth’s longitude and latitude. Approximately, the earth’s degree confluences total about 64,000, with some 21,000 on land, 38,000 on water, and 4,000 on the polar ice caps. Roughly 10,000 of these confluence points purportedly remain to be located.

Iraq is said to have 40 confluence points and only 14 of these have been visited or “discovered.” Hence, the country has drawn considerable attention from confluence-hunters who want to locate what to them are priceless points of interest. What these searchers are actually doing is involvement in an Internet-based, all-volunteer project which its proponents say is an organized world sampling. Called the Degree of Confluence Project, this endeavor seeks to have people visit the earth’s latitude–longitude intersections and have pictures and stories of the visit uploaded or posted in the project’s website.

Some American and British soldiers stationed in Iraq are among those who have had the distinction of having visited some confluence points in the country. However, many of the other “discoveries” of Iraqi confluences are feathers to the cap of a civilian, Ruba Husari, webmaster for iraqoilforum.com. She had actually chalked up six of such confluence visits.

In one of her trips, the search took Husari near the small village of Qalaat Muzeibleh, a place where visitors can buy Iraqi dinar, which is close to the Badra oil field just less than ten kilometers away from Iraq’s border with Iran. Though unremarkable by tourist standards, she was nonetheless exultant upon standing and taking a digital a self-portrait at that exact confluence point between latitude 33 degrees north and longitude 46 degrees east as revealed by her Garmin GPS receiver.

Husari describes her hobby as an often risky but exciting and worthy adventure as it takes her to many places and provides activities that are uncommon elsewhere. She was encouraged into confluence hunting by her friends from Dubai who are into this activity and whose haunts include the Emirati desert. There they roam in off-road vehicles and camp during weekends in search of that latitude-longitude convergence.

Security concerns and the instability in Iraq in recent years have deterred documentation of many of the country’s confluence points, in much the same way that Iraqi tourism growth has been hindered by the same factors. For Husari, nonetheless, confluence hunting has provided lots of adventures such as rowing a small canoe in the southern Iraqi marshes and driving through the Najaf province desert.

Iraq Reserves Right to Sue over Oil Exports

by admin ~ January 15th, 2013

raq’s State Oil Marketing Organization (SOMO) has issued a statement suggesting it will take legal action against companies exporting crude oil without dealing with the central government, including the confiscation of cargoes and the filing of lawsuits against sellers, buyers and transporters.

The statement reads as follows:

In accordance with the provisions of Laws No. 101 of 1976 and 272 of 1987, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil announces that the Oil Marketing Company (SOMO) is the sole legally authorised entity that has the exclusive right to export and import crude oil, gas and oil products from/to Iraq.

“Consequently, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil and SOMO, as its affiliate, shall reserve the right to take all legal actions against any company or entity that may deal with bodies other than SOMO, in addition to the confiscation of cargoes smuggled across borders as well as suing sellers, purchasers and transporters of such cargoes inside and outside Iraq.

Earlier this month, Genel Energy started exporting crude oil by truck directly into Turkey from its Taq Taq oil field in Iraqi Kurdistan, after official exports from the region were halted until the federal authorities pay the 350 billion dinars ($300 million) dues owed to international companies working in the Kurdish area.

(Sources: SOMO, Reuters, Associated Press)

 

http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/2013/01/13/iraq-reserves-right-to-sue-over-oil-exports/

Kurdistan Better than the Rest of Iraq?

by admin ~ January 12th, 2013

When the Kurds had enough of the ruthless persecution they were going through, they finally decided to kick Saddam out. From that point onwards, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) seemed to have gained an invigorated sense of independence from the rest of Iraq – something that the locals apparently enjoyed as well.

The KRG’s people also began acting independently after gaining more freedom. The former is now taking on oil contracts with international companies that know where to buy dinar, without the consent from government officials at Baghdad. Locals are looking up to the Kurdish flag (instead of the Iraqi flag) and singing their own national anthem.

Erbil, the region’s capital, is booming – new infrastructures are being erected everywhere, luxury shops selling designer items with hefty price tags are on display, the dinar exchange rate is up, and auto dealers are set up everywhere. Fancy restaurants, electronic stores, and cafes filled with locals sipping coffee (instead of hiding in their houses in fear of a random attack) flood the streets.

Their booming oil and gas industry has managed to stimulate Kurdistan’s economic growth, which has kept locals feeling optimistic and relaxed. Poverty rate has recently witnessed a significant drop, and is currently lower than any other place in Iraq.

Even the region’s tourism industry is starting to grow at a noticeable dinar exchange rate. As a matter of fact, the number of western tourists coming to Kurdistan to look where to buy dinar has grown to a point where most Kurds are no longer “intrigued” at the sight of foreign folks.

Those who’ve been various places within Iraq before say that Kurdish salesmen selling carpets and other products aren’t as stalking as those from Cairo or Istanbul. Other than an abundance of friendly folks, visitors also enjoy the fact that there are plenty of places to visit during their stay, which includes a diversity of ancient sites, functioning cities, clean malls, rugged mountains, and more.

Regardless of the fact that Kurdistan could very well be better than the rest of Iraq, the region still has its fare share of problems which require resolution as well. Although poverty rates are down, the percentage is still big enough to make observers believe that the government could still do better to alleviate these problems. There are also ethnic minorities ranting about the KRG not giving their “fair cut.”

 

Nonetheless, the oil and gas sector is undeniably booming, which is why many factions are working extra hard to cap violence so they can make more money.

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