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Iraq's Stock Market Plans Move Into Electronic Age

You just knew it might happen someday. Iraq is going to take a big step into the modern age by using electricity to power electronic trading for the first time in the history of the nation's stock market, started in 2004 by incorporating other previous attempts at market trading into this single market. Previously, all transactions were figured by hand on boards very similar to chalkboards. Currently only a little over 100 companies trade on this stock exchange including Iraqi Tufted Carpets Company and other businesses. Apparently, this Iraqi stock market has found enough gas generators to provide more than a few hours a day of electricity to provide the power to operate the computers necessary to run this tiny stock exchange which only does around $5 million a day in trade.Magic carpet.jpg

Besides the Iraqi carpet business that trades on the Iraq Stock Exchange(ISX) formerly known as the Baghdad Stock Exchange, the Bank Of Baghdad, a soft drink distributor, a marble producer and some agriculture businesses trade on one of the world's smallest and underdeveloped stock exchanges.

Well, at least it's a first step towards developing an economy. Anyone know what that magic carpet stock is trading at today?


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Comments (11)

Tim:

Yeah, I think it's back down below 8000 again.

Paul Hooson:

Hello, Tim. I've been watching CNBC this morning trying to understand why the American market is much lower today. But I can't really pinpoint exactly one major reason. I know that the dollar rose to a one month high on the Euro, creating some downward pressures on oil futures. Otherwise, I don't really understand if this is a little market correction after the market has been up about 25% over the last six weeks as an average.

I've been pretty sick since early Saturday with the flu or something. But I did manage to get this funny Iraq Stock Exchange feature up which is pretty good achievement for being so sick that I probably really belong in the hospital today. That's a pretty good achievement. Being able to eat food again without throwing up would be another good achievement for me.

Tim:

Denigrating the efforts of people trying to overcome decades of brutality and build a future is funny? You really are sick.

ke_future:

paul, i think it is both a bit of a market correction and because of uncertainty by investors. from what i've gleaned from various conversations, many investors are concerned with:

1) inflation and what the Obama administration plans to do about it. at this point they don't seem to have a plan. this will impact every part of the marketplace.

2) how extensive the EPA regualtions on CO2 are going to be and how badly it will impact the economy. all of a sudden transportation and energy markets are not good investments.

3) the massive spending the government is doing, and how they're going to pay for it. many investors that i know are currently holding on tight to their money, concerned that tax rates on investments and incomes over $100k are going to rise. they don't see any other way for the administration to cover the bills they are racking up. all this spending makes t-bill and bond markets less attractive as well.

4) no one really knows how far the Obama administration is going to become involved in the financial markets long term. this makes them a higher risk investment than normal. and this on top of all the melt downs in the past year.

pretty much it comes down to there is still a lot of uncertainty from investors about the future. and most investors are cautious with their money. if they see uncertainty in a market, they won't invest. unless there is a high-risk/high-reward scenario. and none of the markets today show the potential for high-rewards.

ke_future:

by the way, why all the snark about the Iraqi Exchange? It may not be very big by US standards, but it is a huge thing for their economy.

Paul Hooson:

Hello Ke and Tim. I always appreciate your insights and thoughts here. I was just rather amused that using electricity as well as a carpet business being one of the biggest traders on this young market. But just like some early efforts by the Russians or Chinese to modernize their nations, you have to start somewhere.

I remember the 1960's Great Leap Forward by Mao than envisioned China able to process steel and metal, resulting in thousands of mostly useless backyard blast furnaces to produce metal.

What is really important about the Iraqi Stock Exchange is that is is an important move in the right direction and it may allow for further investment from outside the nation to build an economy there once all of the problems settle out. It's an important step in the right direction for sure.

Tim:

Well, then we agree. Is that a sign of the apocalypse or something?

ke_future:

it's either that, tim. or paul is *really* sick. :-)

actually, i agree, at leat in part, with paul on a surprising number of issues. really, where i think we divurge is on the role and size of government. we both want the government to be limited, we just disagree on what issues it should be limited in and where the heavy hand of government should come into play.

where i'm socially moderate, but fiscally/economically conservative with a heavy dose of classical liberalism. and to throw in a good amount of "us exceptionalism"

paul is very liberal socially, yet is statist when it comes to financial/economic/role of government issues. he's also more of an internationalist than i am. at least internationalist when it comes to organizations and world affairs. for instance, i have some huge issues with the UN, that i don't think paul shares. however, i don't think you'd ever classify either of us as isolationalists.

does that sound right to you, paul?

Paul Hooson:

Interesting analysis, Ke. Certainly I'm a social liberal, probably very liberal there as I'll defend some of the worst speech or entertainment's right to exist as an expression of art or full civil rights for the Gay community. At the same time, I'm actually very probusiness provided business behaves in an ethical manner.

I too share much disappointment in the limited ability of the UN to address some thorny little issues such dealing with the pirates off the coast of Somalia, or the lack of a call by this body to demand that this country enact a government of some sort. The failure of the UN to control the Iranian nuclear program is yet another significant problem. These UN shortfalls certainly leave the U.S. as the most important nation in the world to lead most major foreign policy efforts. On one hand, the U.S. is able to determine and lead these policies. But the shortfall is the the U.S. gets the expense and loss of life for these efforts.

I'd certainly like to see more individual and religious giving to the poor and disabled. However, with this individual or religious efforts often so hit and miss, it pretty much leaves things a major role for government to do what it can to maintain basic programs such as Food Stamps. And the recent increase in Food Stamp funding contained in the economic stimulus legislation is likely to result in a $25,000 a week increase in sales to medium size food stores, hopefully resulting in an additional 5 jobs, at least part time.

I have rental properties. And one of my renters works for the shipyards here in Portland, and with Asian imports down by so much they were cutting down shipyard worker hours, but now the government is paying these shipyard workers to do repairs on three large American Navy ships. This a a great idea. Shipyard workers are getting jobs back, and the Navy is getting clean good running modern ships to respond to any challenges around the world.

The government is spending money to restart the economy in many areas. And some banks such as Bank Of America are now ready to return as much $25 billion to the government TARP funds according to some reports.

I think I'm a fairly pragmatic realist about a lot of international affairs. While publicly states often exchange a few words, in international trade they still have billions of dollars in business with each other such as the U.S. and Venezuela, or even Russia or the U.S. with so much trade, but chilly relations, and armies that stand off from other around the world.

I'm not really feeling too well today, with a serious virus or flu or something. So I hope I make some sense today. But I think your analysis of my political views have some good elements of truth, Ke.

Rich Fader:

Baghdad has a modern electronic stock market now?

I blame Bush.

Chad:

Ke, the nice thing about Paul is that you can have a disagreement about an issue, and it stays a disagreement about an issue, not conjecture about how much one of the editors would like to run you through a wood chipper. Or insults about how racist you are, how stupid you are, or how you're a fanatic (even though the individual saying those things knows absolutely nothing about you).


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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