EghtesadOnline: The Consumer Price Index of “Food and Beverages” (using the Iranian year to March 2017 as the base year) stood at 188.2 in the Iranian month of Bahman (Jan. 21-Feb. 19), indicating a 4.6% rise compared to the previous month.
According to the Statistical Center of Iran, the “Food and Beverages” index registered a year-on-year increase of 62.8% compared with the similar month of last year.
CPI of “Food and Beverages” group in the 12-month period ending Feb. 19 increased by 31.2% compared with last year’s corresponding period.
Among food items, consumer price indexes of which were measured by SCI, red meat and poultry inflation increased by 92.7% compared with the same month of last year, the highest year-on-year rise in consumer inflation was registered in the “Food and Beverages” group, Financial Tribune reported.
The domestic market for red meat has been facing shortages recently, leading to inordinate price hikes.
The Statistical Center of Iran's latest report shows 84,200 tons of red meat were produced in Iran during the third quarter of the current Iranian year (Sept. 23-Dec. 21, 2018) to register a 20% decline compared with the similar period of last year.
Beef accounted for more than 46,600 tons or 55.3% of the overall production.
Moreover, 28,200 tons of lamb, 7,600 tons of goat meat and 2,000 tons of meat from other types of livestock were produced during the three-month period, constituting 33.5%, 9% and 2.2% of the total production, SCI reported on its website.
Iranians' consume around 920,000 tons of red meat per year, 90% of which are supplied domestically.
The top 10 red meat producing provinces in Iran are Khorasan Razavi, Fars, East Azarbaijan, Mazandaran, West Azarbaijan, Isfahan, Khuzestan, Tehran, Ardabil and Hamedan.
Imports are made from CIS countries as well as from Brazil and Australia.
Romania and Armenia have expressed readiness to supply sheep and meat to Iran.
Meat Imports From Romania, Armenia
Romania can export mutton and live sheep to Iran, with about 800,000 head expected to leave within six months to this destination, following the opening of the sheep export market, the Romanian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said recently.
"The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development announces that due to the latest diplomatic efforts of the Romanian government, the export market for sheep with the Republic of Iran was opened. Thus, in January 2019, the National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority (ANSVSA) together with the Veterinary Organization of Iran have agreed on a sanitary-veterinary export certificate, the exports of mutton and live sheep to Iran getting the go-ahead," MADR informed in a communique posted on its website.
In this context, on Feb. 4, 2019, the first transport of 20 tons of mutton from Romania entered Iran, this being just the beginning of a contract with a great potential for development. The exporter, a company based in Bacau, will continue to cooperate with Iranian economic agents, discussions being carried out about other transports, land or air, in the period ahead, with estimates showing an export of about 1,000 tons a month.
"MADR welcomes this success, in the context of a very high demand in Iran for mutton and live sheep, in ever-increasing numbers, in an area where our country has ample possibilities," reads the communique.
"Discussions between Romanian businessmen and Iranian companies interested in such cooperation are at a very advanced stage. Within six months, Romanian economic agents will export about 800,000 sheep to Iran, of which 200,000 will be sent to the destination country by a commercial company in Bucharest, and the rest by a company in Timis County."
According to the source, the Iranian authorities are currently working with ANSVSA to unblock imports for cattle as well.
According to Aram Gharibyan, an advisor to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Iran is ready to import 50,000 sheep a month from Armenia and pay 2,800-2,900 drams ($5.7-5.9) for each kilogram of lamb meat.
Gharibyan said there are about 700,000 sheep in Armenia, which implies 500,000 potential lambs.
"Considering the expansion of production by some farmers, I think it will be possible to ensure domestic production for several years," he said.
Gharibyan noted that increased lending to sheep breeders at profitable terms will encourage farmers to breed more sheep.
Inflation for Other Foodstuff
The SCI report also shows vegetables and pulses registered the highest month-on-month inflation with 13%, followed by red meat and poultry with an 11.1% rise.
CPI of vegetables and pulses stood at 224.3 and that of red meat and poultry was at 230.7 during the month under review.
Average annual inflation rate for fruits and nuts was the highest among items specified within “Food and Beverages” group, with 44.7%.
“Milk, Cheese and Eggs” were the only food items that registered a 0% rise in inflation in Bahman when their prices are compared with those of the preceding month.
Year-on-year, “Bread and Grains” posted the lowest rise among food items with 28.1%. The same items also registered the lowest annual consumer inflation in “Food and Beverages” group with an 18.5% increase.
The overall goods and services Consumer Price Index in Iran saw a year-on-year increase of 42.3% in Bahman compared with the similar month of last year.
CPI (using the Iranian year to March 2017 as the base year) stood at 158.1 in Bahman, indicating a 2.2% rise compared with the previous month.
The average CPI in the 12-month period ending Feb. 19 increased by 23.5% compared with last year’s corresponding period.
SCI had put the average annual inflation rate for the preceding month of Dey (ended Jan. 20) at 20.6%.
The index registered a year-on-year increase of 41.5% for urban areas and 46.7% for rural areas compared with the similar month of last year.
SCI put average 12-month inflation for urban and rural areas at 23.4% and 24.2% respectively.
The overall CPI reached 157.3 for urban households and 162.9 for rural households, indicating an increase of 2.1% for urban areas and 2.8% for rural areas compared with the previous month.
The highest month-on-month inflation among 12 groups of goods and services in Bahman was recorded for the “Food and Beverages’” group with a 4.6% increase followed by “Transportation” with a 2.7% rise and “Clothing and Shoes” with a 2.6% increase compared with the preceding month.
The “Communications” group saw the slowest month-on-month inflation with a 0.1% rise in prices.
The “Tobacco” group registered the highest and “Education” group posted the lowest year-on-year CPI increase among the 12 groups of goods and services with 136.3% and 21.6%, respectively.
The average annual inflation rate for the “Tobacco” group was the highest in the 12-month leading to Feb. 19 with 93.3% and that of the “Housing, Water, Electricity, Natural Gas and Other Fuels” group had the slowest with a rise of 15.5%.