First Iraq-flagged oil tanker in 3 decades leaves port

An oil field is seen in Kirkuk, Iraq October 18, 2017. (File photo: Reuters)
Updated 10 June 2018
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First Iraq-flagged oil tanker in 3 decades leaves port

BAGHDAD: An Iraq-flagged tanker carrying two million barrels of crude oil has set sail for the US, the first such trip in nearly three decades, the oil ministry said Saturday.
Iraq, which has been ravaged by a series of wars since the 1980s, is the oil cartel OPEC’s second biggest producer with 153 billion barrels of proven crude reserves.
“The Baghdad left Basra on Friday night headed for the United States. It is the first time since 1991 that Iraq is running its own oil tankers,” oil ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said.
Basra, in southern Iraq, is an oil-rich province.
Under late dictator Saddam Hussein, Iraq went to war with Iran between 1980 and 1988 and invaded Kuwait in 1990, before being expelled by a US-led coalition.
Since an American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the country has been blighted by long periods of chaos, culminating in a three-year battle against Daesh insurgents.
Infrastructure in Iraq, which depends on oil for 99 percent of revenues, was devastated but authorities have been looking to boost oil and gas output.
The country has leased four tankers and is expected to obtain three others at a later date.
In May, Iraq exported 3.49 million barrels of oil per day, according to the oil ministry.


Sri Lanka calls for global coalition to tackle rising dollar

Updated 10 min 22 sec ago
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Sri Lanka calls for global coalition to tackle rising dollar

  • The island’s currency bottomed out at a record-low 174.12 rupees to the dollar
  • The rupee has shed more than 12 percent of its value this year and Sri Lanka fears it could slide further

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Tuesday called for a “coalition of the willing” to help stabilize free-falling emerging market currencies around the globe, as the beleaguered rupee slumped to fresh lows.
The island’s currency bottomed out at a record-low 174.12 rupees to the dollar, resisting a slew of measures by policymakers to arrest its steady decline.
The rupee has shed more than 12 percent of its value this year and Sri Lanka fears it could slide further as US sanctions squeeze Iran, the island’s chief source of oil.
A stronger dollar has made it difficult for emerging markets to repay debts and battered global currencies from Turkey to India and Argentina.
Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera invited those nations experiencing currency crises to visit Colombo and hash out a strategy.
“The rise of the dollar is having a serious impact on our currencies. We are not the only one affected,” he told reporters in the Sri Lankan capital.
“I want to build a coalition of the willing to deal with this problem. I don’t see the global situation improving any time soon.”
Washington pulled out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in May and has been reimposing punishing sanctions on the Islamic republic, targeting in particular its financial system.
Iran not only supplies Sri Lanka with most of its oil, but is one of its chief buyers of the island’s celebrated tea.
Samaraweera has warned that blockading Iran will have ripple on effects on Sri Lanka, which has been unable to stop the rupee from nose diving.
Last month, Colombo curbed its state institutions and public servants from importing cars to reduce the outflow of foreign capital.
Banks were also ordered to restrict lending for purchasing overseas and consumer goods, but the rupee has continued its decline.
In August, the government substantially increased taxes on small cars to discourage imports, but officials said there was still pressure on foreign exchange reserves to finance big-ticket imports.