Thursday, June 7, 2007

Iraq Weekly Status Report May 30, 2007

Here are some charts taken from the Department of State's May 30th, 2007 Iraq Weekly Status Report.

This first chart covers from January 2004. It appears as if demand is rising while production is falling and cannot seem to crack the 100,000 mark.

Also notice the sharp downward spikes for the light blue daily supply data. This tells me that it would be worthwhile to be able to zoom in on the supply factor and look at how supply is changing over time but using a much higher resolution than daily. An hourly trend chart for month's worth of data, or a daily chart using a 1 minute resolution would surely reveal some insights not currently available.

Similarly, when an aggregate trend factor show such sharp variation, it is frequently the case that creating additional trend charts that dis-aggregate the data can prove most helpful in understanding more fully what is happening.

This second chart makes it clear that the Iraqi currency has strengthened relative to the dollar over the past 12 months.

This third chart clearly shows the rising trend in Iraqi Commercial Bond interest rates over the past year.

This fourth chart suffers from showing far too brief a time period of only the most recent 10 weeks. Contrast this to the Oil Production chart in the previous post that showed the past 4 years and also provide useful trend data for production from the North and from the South.

This chart also has a much short sweep of time than needed for understanding the underlying trends. The related chart in the previous post showed refinery trends going back 4 years. This chart does have the positive feature that it groups all the bars for a given type of refined product together which is an improvement over the way the bars were used in the previous post from the Reconstruction report to Congress.

It's curious to note that there are no trend charts in this report from the State Department that show trends related to the first two "key areas identified as pillars of US government policy for victory in Iraq." Namely,
  1. "Defeat the terrorists and neutralize the insurgents"
  2. "Transition Iraq to security self reliance."
The trends in these areas are however dealt with in Michael O'Hanlon's weekly report from the Brookings Institution. We will be commenting on the May 30th version of that excellent report in our next post.

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