EghtesadOnline: The Middle East Bank’s quarterly report published in January 2018 shows Iran’s current account surplus fell by 28.8% in the first quarter of the current fiscal to June 2017 compared to the same period last year to reach $3.7 billion.
According to International Energy Agency data, Iran’s average crude oil production rose by 5.0% to 3.8 million bpd in Q1. Iran’s average oil price also rose by 17.7% to $48.2 per barrel in that quarter. The volume of Iran’s oil exports in Q1 is expected to have been higher than the same period in the preceding year.
The Central Bank of Iran’s balance of payments statistics indicate that in spring, value of oil exports (including crude oil, oil products, natural gas, natural gas condensates and liquids) increased by 21.7% to $14.2 billion. Taking into account slight changes in oil imports (including oil products, natural gas, natural gas condensates and liquids), the oil trade balance in this period jumped by 22.3% and reached $13.9 billion.
In Q1, non-oil exports fell by 1.2% to $7.1 billion, while imports rose by 32.4% to $16.0 billion. The latter resulted in 83.0% rise in non-oil trade deficit. Part of the rise in non-oil trade deficit could be attributed to the fall in the rial’s exchange rates that made domestically produced goods less competitive in global markets, according to Financial Tribune.
Taking into account changes in oil and non-oil exports and imports, the goods account surplus fell by 22.4% in spring to $5.1 billion. Considering the negligible changes in services, income, and current transfer accounts, the current account surplus fell by 28.8% to $3.7 billion.
Data on capital account show $1.3 billion of net capital outflow during Q1, 73.4% below that in the corresponding period of last year. As no detailed statistics on the capital account are available, shares of foreign direct investment, portfolio investment, and other types of investments in the capital outflow cannot be assessed.
Considering changes in the current and capital accounts and about $4.0 billion of errors and omissions, the balance of international reserves is estimated to have fallen by $1.6 billion since Q4 last year to reach $119.1 billion at the end of Q1 this year.
On the basis of statistics published by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, non-oil exports (excluding suitcase trade) in the eight months since the beginning of the year amounted to $28.5 billion, indicating 1.2% fall. China, Iraq, the UAE, South Korea, and Afghanistan were the main destinations of Iran’s exports in the period under review.
In this period, Iran’s exports to China rose by 13.5%, to Iraq by 6.5%, to South Korea by 28.1% and to Afghanistan by 12.1%, while exports to the UAE fell by 18.7% compared to the same period of the preceding year.
Natural gas condensates valued at $4.6 billion, liquefied propane at $897 million, light crude oil except gasoline at $764 million, methanol at $752 million, and polyethylene film grade at $750 million, were the major exported items in the period under review.
During the eight-month period, goods imports rose by 17.5% to $32.4 billion, mainly due to the rise in imports of essential goods, auto parts, vehicles and capital goods. The highest levels of imports to Iran in terms of value were from China at $8.0 billion, the UAE $5.7 billion, Turkey $2.2 billion, South Korea $1.8 billion and Germany $1.7 billion. Rice valued at $1.0 billion, cattle feed corn at $980 million, auto parts at $972 million, soybean at $669 million, and 1500-2000cc motor vehicles at $643 million were the main imported items in the period under review.
The Middle East Bank, founded in 2012, operates primarily as a wholesale bank, focusing mainly on corporate clients and specialized credit products, according to its website.