Iraq Stock Exchange up 64% This Year

Amidst the wholly legitimate concerns as to whether Prime Minister Maliki is capable of putting together a truly national government and what the withdrawal from the current government by the Sunni portends , other factors have been pointing in more positive directions in Iraq. Among these is the remarkable run that has been occurring on the Iraq Stock Exchange: Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Since July 10, when this run started, the ISX has gone from being up 8% year-to-date to being up 64% year-to-date. That is to say, essentially during the summer, there has been a huge commitment – in local terms – to the future of Iraq and its economy by those with the most to lose if they are wrong and who are likely to be best informed about local conditions.

Note that after a period of consolidation, we have had a further move upward in the last datapoint, the ISX for the August 16 trading session.

Of course, this surge comes amidst the continued displacement of an estimated 4 million Iraqis, an unemployment rate of 50%, electricity production at pre-war levels which only supplies about four hours off the grid in Baghdad where summer temperatures reach 120 degrees (Fahrenheit), and so forth. So there are no easy answers.

Our role as citizens as we come up to the Petraeus report card is to try to assemble a mosaic of what is actually happening in Iraq, including the attitudes of the local citizenry, and if real progress is being made, as appears to be the case, not to be stampeded into defeatism by the challenges that remain.
Amidst the wholly legitimate concerns as to whether Prime Minister Maliki is capable of putting together a truly national government and what the withdrawal from the current government by the Sunni portends , other factors have been pointing in more positive directions in Iraq. Among these is the remarkable run that has been occurring on the Iraq Stock Exchange: Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Since July 10, when this run started, the ISX has gone from being up 8% year-to-date to being up 64% year-to-date. That is to say, essentially during the summer, there has been a huge commitment – in local terms – to the future of Iraq and its economy by those with the most to lose if they are wrong and who are likely to be best informed about local conditions.

Note that after a period of consolidation, we have had a further move upward in the last datapoint, the ISX for the August 16 trading session.

Of course, this surge comes amidst the continued displacement of an estimated 4 million Iraqis, an unemployment rate of 50%, electricity production at pre-war levels which only supplies about four hours off the grid in Baghdad where summer temperatures reach 120 degrees (Fahrenheit), and so forth. So there are no easy answers.

Our role as citizens as we come up to the Petraeus report card is to try to assemble a mosaic of what is actually happening in Iraq, including the attitudes of the local citizenry, and if real progress is being made, as appears to be the case, not to be stampeded into defeatism by the challenges that remain.