Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) reserves hit $87bn as of end-September according to CBI Advisor Ihsan Al-Yasiri. This is up $23bn on the end-2021 figure and higher than their previous $81.14bn record set in May 2014 prior to Baghdad tapping them as a result of the 2014 double shock that saw ISIS take large swaths of the country and oil prices collapse (MEES, 12 December 2014).

Surging reserves come as Opec’s second largest producer has enjoyed record oil export revenues – $90bn for the first nine months of 2022 – thanks to surging oil prices (see p8). The Ministry of Finance has had little choice but to direct additional petrodollars to CBI reserves given that the caretaker Iraqi cabinet cannot spend beyond the $17bn emergency financing bill passed by the Iraqi parliament in June (MEES, 10 June). Without a new government, Iraq is unable to pass a new budget or finalize investment contracts (MEES, 7 October). (CONTINUED - 148 WORDS)