EghtesadOnline: Iran exported more than 60.2 million tons of mineral products worth over $8.9 billion in the last fiscal year (ended March 20, 2018), down 7.8% in tonnage and up 3.2% in value compared to the year before.
Imports during the same period stood at 5.88 million tons worth $5.03 billion, dropping 9.6% in tonnage and rising 17.5% in value year-on-year, according to the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization's latest report, which draws on the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration's data.
Mineral exports accounted for 46% and 19% of Iran’s overall trade, as imports made up 15% and 9.3% of total imports in terms of volume and value respectively.
Semi-finished steel took the lion’s share of exports in terms of value, as 9.48 million tons worth $3.64 billion were shipped overseas, up 39.4% and 27.7% YOY in volume and value respectively, Financial Tribune reported.
Thailand, as a primary market of Iran's largest exporter Khouzestan Steel Company, was the top semis export destination and accounted for 1.73 million tons of total shipments worth $648.7 million. It was followed by the UAE with 1.68 million tons worth $611.8 million and Italy with 1.1 million tons worth $447.5 million.
Iron ore was Iran's second biggest exported mineral product value-wise with 18.22 million tons worth $984.2 million. The volume of shipments dropped by 12.2% while value rose 23.5% respectively YOY.
Demand for the steelmaking material is high in China and consequently Iran's highest ore export was to the industrial giant with 17.36 million tons worth $955 million. Russia came next with 100,036 tons worth $8.03 million, followed by India with 84,952 tons worth $6.48 million.
Cement came third with 15.94 million tons worth $603.18 million, up 10.4% and 8.5% in trade volume and value YOY respectively.
Most of Iran's cement went to Iraq, amounting to 4.08 million tons worth $190.5 million. It was trailed by Afghanistan with 4.46 million tons worth $158.6 million and Kuwait with 2.07 million tons worth $64.47 million.
This was followed by finished steel products with 771.7 million tons valued at $569.48 million, down 4.9% in volume and up 18.1% in value.
The war-ravaged Iraq was also Iran's top destination for finished steel shipment, for 127,000 tons worth $174.6 million. Syria, too, bought 6,091 tons of Iranian steel worth $112.3 million, with Afghanistan coming next with 58,282 tons worth $80.6 million.
Other exported mineral commodities from Iran during the period under review include pottery, bricks, ceramic and tiles with 3.12 million tons worth $462.03 million, zinc with 181,097 tons worth $386.71 million, copper with 352,800 tons worth $384.03 million, aluminum with 203,124 tons worth $358.49 million and stones with 5.89 million tons worth $344.1 million.
Iran also exported 127,741 tons of lead worth $229.56 million, direct-reduced iron with 732,941 tons worth $184.07 million, precious minerals (gold, silver, etc.) with 562 tons worth $82.2 million, ferroalloys with 33,347 tons worth $60.57 million, molybdenum with 4,275 tons worth $43.96 million, coal with 197,387 tons worth $43.48 million, flat aluminum products with 4,608 tons worth $18.43 million, chrome with 71,708 tons worth $17.47 million, alumina powder with 119,643 tons worth $11.12 million, nickel with 116 tons worth $632,700, titanium with 266 tons worth $484,500, mica with 402 tons worth $181,400, antimony with 24 tons worth $26,600, and “other minerals” with 4.74 million tons worth $476.8 million.
> Imports Too Topped by Semi-Finished Steel
As for imports, semi-finished steel also had the largest share among Iran's imports of mineral commodities in terms of value as 2.61 million tons worth $1.81 billion were imported, down 29.7% and 5.4% in tonnage and value YOY respectively.
Iran imported most of the semis from China–746,685 tons worth $523.51 million. South Korea followed with 445,892 tons worth $373.93 million. The UAE was next with 759,835 tons worth $361.43 million.
Finished steel products was the second biggest mineral product imported to Iran last year with 622,791 tons worth $830.3 million, down 8% in volume and 3% in value YOY.
China topped the charts here, too, with 347,899 tons worth $400.48 million. India was next with 60,939 tons worth $57.58 million, with South Korea closely following with 28,524 tons worth $55.18 million.
"Other mineral products" came next with 694,240 tons worth $458.83 million, up 19.3% and 31.3% YOY.
Again, China had a lead here with 120,486 tons worth $105.05 million. Belgium took the second place with 111,934 tons worth $57.83 million and UAE was next with 54,279 tons worth $48.09 million.
Iran is home to 68 types of minerals with more than 37 billion tons of proven reserves and 57 billion tons of potential reserves.
According to the United States Geological Survey, Iran holds the world's largest zinc, ninth largest copper, 10th largest iron ore, fifth largest gypsum and barite, and 10th largest uranium reserves. Overall, Iran is home to more than 7% of global mineral reserves.