World Bulletin / News Desk
Iraq has signed contracts to buy weapons from Russia worth more than $4.2 billion recently, according to a Russian government document issued on Tuesday at a meeting between Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
Russian President Vladimir Putin vocally opposed the U.S-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 but Moscow has since sought energy and arms deals with Baghdad and the contracts mean Iraq is now one of Russia's biggest weapons buyers.
The contracts were signed during visits to Russia by Iraq's acting defence chief in April, July and August, the document showed. It gave no further details.
The Russian daily newspaper Vedomosti reported late last month that contracts worth $4.3 million were being agreed ahead of Maliki's visit. It said they included deals for 30 Mi-28NE combat helicopters and 42 Pantsir-S1 mobile rocket launchers.
Russia delivered about $12 billion in weapons and signed about $3.7 billion in new arms contracts last year, according to Russian defence and security think-tank CAST.
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Policy rate, also known as one-week repo rate, remains same at 8 percent; lending rate rises 0.75 percent points
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Data monitoring company IHS Markit also flagged a slight slowdown in France, where strikes were interrupting a resurgent boom on the back of government reforms.
Treasury reports central government debt stock in March rises around 15 pct year-on-year, reaching nearly $235 billion
Sales to foreigners amounted to 1,827, 15.8 pct rise year-on-year, according to official report
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Fresh hopes that Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un will hold a historic summit within months also provided some much-needed optimism.
The fund cautioned that investors and financial markets expect a steady approach to monetary tightening based on the belief inflation will remain relatively tame.