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Trade Recession Continues in Iran

Feb., 2016

Vistar Business Monitor

Recession continued in Iran’s non-oil trade in the 11-month period to Feb. 19, latest reports released by the Customs Administration show. Although the trade balance was positive, the volume of trade was lower than the same period last year, making authorities concerned. During the review period, Iran exported $38.97 billion and imported $37.27 billion of goods. That means the total trade stood at $76.24 billion. Iran had an export target of $61 billion target for a 12-month period ending March 19, but it was only able to materialize 64% of its set target in the 11-month period.

Like other sectors, trade has remained in recession since January 16 the day of the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which led to the lifting of sanctions. Although recession continues in trade activity, Iran is expected to see a rise in exports as it will be able to access global and regional markets in the post-sanctions era. The Central Bank’s announcement that the dual rate foreign exchange policy will soon be unified has affected the plans of traders for the next six months. Given the need for imports of capital and intermediate products, the sanctions relief is expected to lead to a rise in imports rather than in exports. So, a negative trade balance is more likely to happen soon or late in the country.

China, Iraq, the UAE, India, Afghanistan and Turkey imported more than $20 billion of commodities from Iran over the ten months of the current Iranian calendar year (started on March 21, 2015) to become Iran’s top six trade partners.

According to Tehran Chamber of Commerce, China imported over $5.678 billion of Iranian exports during the period to become Iran’s main trade partner.

Iraq, the UAE, India, and Afghanistan imported 24.7, 20.5, 10.69, and 10.62 percent of Iranian exports respectively to rank second to fifth among Iran’s main trade partners after China.

Turkey also imported more than five percent of Iran’s exports during the mentioned time to become Iran’s sixth trade partner.


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