Home Forex Unique-Iraq to finish all greenback money withdrawals by Jan. 1 2024

Unique-Iraq to finish all greenback money withdrawals by Jan. 1 2024

Unique-Iraq to finish all greenback money withdrawals by Jan. 1 2024


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A person counts U.S. {dollars} at a forex alternate store in Baghdad, Iraq, January 23, 2023. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad/File Picture

By Timour Azhari

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq will ban money withdrawals and transactions in U.S {dollars} as of Jan. 1 2024 within the newest push to curb the misuse of its laborious forex reserves in monetary crimes and the evasion of U.S. sanctions on Iran, a high Iraqi central financial institution official stated.

The transfer goals to stamp out the illicit use of some 50% of the $10 billion that Iraq imports in money from the New York Federal Reserve annually, Mazen Ahmed, director-general of funding and remittances on the Iraqi central financial institution (CBI), informed Reuters.

It is also a part of a broader push to de-dollarize an economic system that has seen the buck most popular over native notes by a inhabitants weary of recurring wars and crises following the 2003 U.S. invasion.

Individuals who deposit {dollars} into banks earlier than the tip of 2023 will proceed to have the ability to withdraw funds in {dollars} in 2024, Ahmed stated. However {dollars} deposited in 2024 might solely be withdrawn in native forex on the official charge of 1,320.

The parallel market charge of the Iraqi dinar sat at 1,560 on Thursday, roughly 15% p.c beneath the official charge.

“You wish to switch? Switch. You need a card in {dollars}? Right here you go, you should use the cardboard inside Iraq on the official charge, or if you wish to withdraw money, you possibly can on the official charge in dinars,” Ahmed stated.

“However do not speak to me about money {dollars} anymore.”

Iraq has already arrange a platform to manage wire transfers that make up the majority of its greenback demand and that was once a hotbed of faux receipts and fraudulent transactions that siphoned {dollars} to Iran and Syria, each international locations beneath U.S. sanctions

Arrange in live performance with authorities within the U.S., the place Iraq’s$120 billion in reserves from oil gross sales are held, that system was now practically hermetic, Ahmed stated, offering {dollars} on the official charge to these engaged in respectable commerce akin to imports of meals and client items.

However the money withdrawals have continued to be misused, he stated, together with by would-be travellers supplied with a state quota of $3000 who’ve discovered methods to recreation the system.

Iraq is closely reliant on Washington’s goodwill to make sure oil revenues and funds don’t face U.S. censure.

On the identical time, the present authorities, which is backed by highly effective events and armed factions near Iran, has been cautious to not alienate Tehran, nor anger the events and armed teams with deep pursuits in Iraq’s extremely casual economic system.


Many native banks have already been limiting greenback money withdrawals previously months, compounding a scarcity that has seen the parallel market alternate charge proceed to rise.

Ahmed stated some banks had been low on {dollars} as a result of many individuals had been attempting to withdraw {dollars} without delay amid a sense of unease over the monetary system, whereas some banks additionally had shortages as a result of they offered dollar-denominated loans that had been then paid again in dinars.

The CBI had additionally restricted the quantity of {dollars} it was offering as a part of an settlement with the Fed to restrict money and shift in direction of e-payment, he stated.

Ahmed stated the CBI anticipated the dinar to lose extra worth as the brand new measures went into drive however stated it was a suitable side-effect of formalising the monetary system and the CBI was offering {dollars} on the official charge for all respectable functions.

“The associated fee we’re carrying at this time is nothing in comparison with this objective,” he stated.

“We do not have an issue with the alternate charge hitting 1,700. In the event that they inform me the speed is 1,700, I inform them: ‘you wish to import from Iran. You wish to smuggle. You might have corrupt cash that you just wish to get out.'”

He added: “So long as all clear and authorized financing operations occur by way of us (on the official charge), the remainder doesn’t matter.”

However indicators have emerged that the CBI’s plans won’t be met with open arms.

On Thursday, video circulated on social media displaying a depositor at a Baghdad financial institution threatening to burn it down if he didn’t obtain his deposit in money {dollars}, a scene harking back to steps depositors have taken amid Lebanon’s banking disaster.

“I swear I’ll burn it down. I swear I’ll enter the secure and take my cash” the person says.



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