Baghdad: Where Is Kurdistan’s Gold?
|July 13, 2014||Filled under Kurdistan News|
Kurdistan News –
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) owns more than five tons of gold, which could help relieve some of the financial crunch that Erbil is experiencing. But the problem is, it’s in Baghdad.
Adham Khurshid, manager of the Kurdistan Region’s Central Bank, explained that only the Central Bank of Iraq had been given the authority to buy or sell and store gold. Of the 31 tons of gold stored in Baghdad, the KRG owned 17 percent, he said.
“The Kurdistan Region owns 17 percent of the total gold and financial assets of the Iraqi Central Bank,” said Khurshid, meaning the Kurds own 5.27 tons of the reserve gold in Baghdad.
Constitutionally, Erbil has a 17 percent share of the national budget, but the Kurds have complained that Baghdad had always skimped on paying the full amount, until a total freeze earlier this year that infuriated the Kurds and strengthened their resolve for independence.
According to gold prices in Iraq and on international markets, the Kurdistan Region’s share of the gold in Baghdad amounts to nearly $224 million.
If the KRG had been able to store gold, the reserves could have gone some way in relieving the embargo imposed by Baghdad against Erbil, which has brought on a crisis.
Legally, the Kurdistan Region also has a share in the Iraqi Central Bank’s cash reserve, whose total is estimated at $60 million.
There may be no gold at Kurdistan’s main bank, but there is still plenty of gold in Kurdistan – three times more than the Iraqi Central Bank’s total by some estimates.
Qaraman Jawhar, chairman of the goldsmith’s guild in Kurdistan, said the Kurdish market was also rich with Gold. “There are around 30 tons of gold in the Kurdish market,” nearly as much as the total holdings of Baghdad. “There are more than 1,400 gold trading permits issued in the provinces of the Kurdistan Region,” he added.
Economist Muhammad Rauf explained that, “During local or international economic crises many countries tend to purchase gold because, unlike cash, gold retains its value.”
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