US removes Iraqi bank from Iran sanctions list

Updated 18 May 2013

US removes Iraqi bank from Iran sanctions list

WASHINGTON: The US has removed sanctions on an Iraqi bank that was blacklisted last year for helping Iran skirt international financial controls over its nuclear activities.
The US Treasury said it removed the sanctions placed last July on Baghdad-based Elaf Islamic Bank after Elaf acted to freeze assets of the Export Development Bank of Iran and cut its exposure to Iran’s financial system.
The sanctions, part of the US effort to isolate Iran from the global economy over its alleged nuclear weapons program, had banned Elaf from any access to the US financial system.
At the time the Treasury said Elaf had knowingly facilitated financial transactions for the EDBI, on which both the US and European Union have placed strict controls for its role in financing the government in Tehran.
“Today we welcome Elaf Islamic Bank back into the US financial system, and we urge other designated individuals and entities around the world to follow its positive example,” said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen.
“As today’s delisting demonstrates, our sanctions are flexible and can be lifted if the conduct that led to the sanction terminates,” he said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Cohen told a US Senate committee that the sanctions on Iran were having an impact, slashing its oil export receipts by $ 3-5 billion a month, fueling inflation and sharply devaluing the Iranian rial.
Cohen said the US plans to block the sale of gold to Iranians, whether the government or individuals, from July 1, and has already pressed Turkey and the UAE — both gold-trading centers — to implement the measure.
Washington expects that choking off the supply of gold to Iranians will further deflate the currency and undermine the regime.
“They are dumping their rials to buy gold as a way to try to preserve their wealth. That is I think an indication that they recognize that the value of their currency is declining,” he told lawmakers.


Microsoft shares fall 4% after warning of coronavirus hit to supply chain

Updated 28 February 2020

Microsoft shares fall 4% after warning of coronavirus hit to supply chain

  • Drop in share price wiped off nearly $50 billion from the Microsoft’s market value
  • Apple was the first big technology firm to come out and say the virus was affecting its production and demand in China

NEW YORK: Shares of Microsoft Corp. fell more than 4 percent on Thursday after the company warned of weakness in PC business due to a hit to its supply chain from the coronavirus outbreak, echoing similar statements from Apple Inc. and HP.

The drop in share price wiped off nearly $50 billion from the Microsoft’s market value on a day when broader markets were down more than 2 percent.

The virus has so far infected about 80,000 people, killed nearly 2,800 and spread to 44 countries, after originating in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

Apple was the first big technology firm to come out and say the virus was affecting its production and demand in China. PayPal Holdings Inc. and Mastercard Inc. have also warned about a possible hit.

Microsoft said on Wednesday its supply chain was returning to normal operations at a slower pace than anticipated and its Windows and Surface computers had been more negatively impacted than expected.

“Finished good inventory levels matter. If Microsoft had not fully assembled and packaged Surface units in the channel, then the impact would be felt faster and more severely,” Morningstar analyst Dan Romanoff said in a mail.

The global stock markets have also taken a hit as investors grew cautious of the impact of the virus on global supply chains. The Dow Jones Industrials index dropped more than 400 points at the open on Thursday.

Several Wall Street analysts expect other technology companies with heavy presence in China to soon come out with their own statements.

“Given there seems to be weakness in the PC supply chain, it would seem highly likely to me that we hear something from Intel,” Atlantic Equities analyst James Cordwell said in a mail.

Andrew MacMillen, an analyst with Nucleus Research, said that PC makers such as Dell Technologies Inc. and Lenovo Group could be seeing some difficulties.

Dell, the world’s third-biggest PC maker after Lenovo Group and HP, will report quarterly earnings after market close on Thursday. It has a sizeable exposure to China.

Microsoft said on Wednesday it would miss its own third quarter revenue forecast for the PC unit, which houses Windows, of $10.75 billion and $11.15 billion. 

J.P.Morgan analysts said that Microsoft’s guidance is a supply chain issue, not a demand issue, but it was possible that broad supply chain issues plus investors becoming increasingly averse to risk could metastasize into demand issues over time.