Iraq’s currency crash halts after meeting with US officials

BAGHDAD—Iraq’s currency plummeted after a meeting between Iraq’s central bank governor and a senior US Treasury official.

Brian E. Nelson, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in a statement on Saturday that he had met with Iraqi Central Bank Governor Ali Al-Arak in Istanbul the day before, saying, We will talk,” he said. Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing. “

He praised Iraq’s “unwavering dedication” to improve compliance with international standards and said it “offered continued cooperation in modernizing its banking sector.”

Measures taken by the United States in recent months to eradicate money laundering and dollar channeling from Iraq to Iran and Syria have severely restricted Iraq’s access to foreign currency.

Iraq’s foreign exchange reserves have been held in the US Federal Reserve since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the US has significant control over Iraq’s dollar supply.

The Iraqi dinar fell to around $1,750 on Thursday on street exchanges in some parts of the country, compared to the official rate of $1,460 to the dollar. The devaluation sparked protests and fears of inflation.

The currency began to stop depreciating after Iraq’s central bank said in a statement Friday night that the finance ministry “has demonstrated that it has the necessary flexibility to achieve common goals.” As of Saturday, the dinar was trading at around 1,600 dinars to the dollar.

A delegation of Iraqi officials is scheduled to head to Washington next Friday.