Iraq’s prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi announced earlier this month that Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) foreign currency reserves “have exceeded $60bn” after dropping as low as $51.9bn. The PM gave no detail as to when reserves bottomed out, and the latest CBI figures show reserves of $57.6bn in October 2020.

He attributed the increase to “the reforms undertaken by the government” and highlighted the “success in curbing the wastage and corruption of the infamous CBI dollar auction.” In reality the key factor has been oil price gains since mid-2020, which pushed Brent above $60/B since early February, as well as the CBI’s decision to devalue the currency by 23% to $1=ID1,450 late last year (MEES, 24 December 2020). (CONTINUED - 765 WORDS)