Minister says Iraq has $74B in reserves

March 19, 2009 at 1:08 PM

BAGHDAD, March 19 (UPI) -- The Iraqi government has more than $70 billion in hard cash reserves thanks to two years worth of oil sales, Iraqi Finance Minister Baqer Jaber Solagh says.

Solagh said during the last two years, Iraq has managed to save $44 billion with the Central Bank, along with up to $30 billion in a Finance Ministry-administered fund, the newspaper Azzaman reported Wednesday.

The Finance minister credited a temporary increase in the cost of oil for the size of the financial reserves.

Solagh said Iraq has been averaging 1.9 million gallons of exported oil a day and is working toward increasing export production.

The Iraqi official told Azzaman that without the hard cash reserves, 94 percent of which are made up of oil revenues, Iraq would be struggling amid the ongoing economic crisis.

"Without these savings our conditions would have aggravated amid the drastic fall in oil prices and the current financial crisis," he said.

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