EghtesadOnline: Iran recorded a non-oil trade surplus of $1.69 billion in the last fiscal year (March 2018-19).
The country’s overall non-oil foreign trade during the 12 months stood at $86.92 billion. Compared with statistics provided by the Islamic Republic of Iran, this year’s foreign trade indicates a 14.1% decline compared with the same period of last year.
Overall exports hit 117.22 million tons worth $44.31 billion during the 12-month period to register a 12% decrease in weight and a 6% decline in value year-on-year, the Persian daily Donya-e-Eqtesad reported.
Imports amounted to 32.04 million tons worth $42.61 billion, down 17.5% in terms of weight and 22% in value over last year’s similar period, the figures of Islamic Republic of Iran’s Customs Administration show.
The decline in trade figures comes as the United States last year withdrew from the nuclear deal Iran signed with world powers, including the US, in 2015. Subsequently, the administration of US President Donald Trump imposed the "toughest ever sanctions" against the Islamic Republic, in the words of Washington, mainly aimed at choking off Iran's trade with the world, according to Financial Tribune.
Main Destinations, Exported Commodities
Iran’s top export destinations last year were China with $9.3 billion, Iraq ($8.9 billion), the UAE ($5.9 billion), Afghanistan ($2.9 billion) and South Korea ($2.5 billion), Fars News Agency quoted the IRICA chief, Mehdi Mir-Ashrafi, as saying.
Last year, exports to China dropped by 8% in weight but increased by more than 2% in value YOY.
Iraq’s imports from Iran grew by more than 49% in weight and 37% in value.
Exports to the UAE declined by 24.5% YOY in tonnage and 12% in value.
Afghanistan’s imports from Iran decreased by 4% in weight, but increased more than 5% in value YOY.
Exports to South Korea plummeted by more than 51% in weight and 41% in value compared with the year before.
The average price of each ton of exported commodities hovered around $378, up 7% compared with the previous year’s corresponding period.
By “non-oil”, IRICA refers to all commodities, except crude oil. Therefore, oil-driven products and byproducts, as well as petrochemical products, are still categorized as non-oil.
IRICA categorizes non-oil exports into the three groups of “petrochemicals”, “gas condensates” and “others”.
A total of 34.17 million tons of petrochemicals worth $14.15 billion were exported last year, registering a decrease of more than 13% in weight and more than 2% in value compared with the previous year. In fact, petrochemicals accounted for 32% of Iran’s overall non-oil exports in value and more than 29% in weight last tear.
Exports of the main commodity of the “gas condensates” group, i.e. gas condensates, stood at 9.48 million tons worth $4.93 billion last year, followed by liquefied natural gas worth $1.92 billion, liquefied propane worth $1.71 billion, light oils and product, except for gasoline worth $1.45 billion and methanol worth $1.35 billion. The group comprised more than 8% in weight and 11% in value of the country’s total non-oil exports last year.
Exports of non-petroleum products, including agricultural, industrial and mining products, as well as carpets, that are classified under “others” fell in the neighborhood of 73.57 million tons worth $25.22 billion in the 12-month period, indicating a decline of around 4% in weight and 1% in value YOY. The group accounted for 57% of Iran’s total exports in value and 63% in weight.
Major Exporters, Imported Commodities
Major exporters to Iran last year were China, the UAE, Turkey, India and Germany.
The 12-month imports from China dropped more than 28.5% in weight and 22% in value year-on-year.
Imports decreased 45% and 35% from the UAE and 25% and 19% in weight and value from Turkey, and grew 12% and 15% from India respectively compared with the year before.
Germany’s exports to Iran fell 35.5% in weight and more than 20% in value.
The average price of each ton of imported commodities hovered around $1,330, down 5% YOY.
“Last year’s decline in imports is mostly because of restrictions imposed on the import of consumer goods,” IRICA’s top official said, adding that intermediate and capital goods accounted for 85% of imports last year.
Last June, the government banned the import of 1,339 commodities categorized as “non-essential goods with domestic counterparts” to economize on the country’s foreign currency.
Iran’s imports over the 12-month period mainly included field corn ($2.09 billion accounting for 5% of total imports), rice worth $1.6 billion (4% of total imports), auto parts, except for tires, worth $1.38 billion (3% of total imports), soybeans worth $1.16 billion (3% of imports) and oil cake worth $651 million or 1.5% of imports.
Iran’s non-oil trade with the world during the final month of last Iranian year (ending March 20), stood at $8.34 billion, indicating a YOY decline of 11%.
Exports during the month under review amounted to $4.23 billion while imports reached $4.11 billion to register a trade surplus of $120 million for the country.
Foreign trade stood at $9.36 billion in Feb. 20-March 20, 2018, with exports and imports reaching $3.93 billion and $5.43 billion respectively to post a trade deficit of $1.5 billion.
Exports increased to its highest level in two years in the same month. Iran exported 1.93 million tons of gas condensate worth $1.5 billion, 2.17 million tons of petrochemicals worth $871 million and 7.16 million tons of products included in the “others” group worth $1.98 billion during the same month.
According to Mir-Ashrafi, IRICA’s total revenues in the last fiscal year stood at 289,000 billion rials ($2 billion), of which 169,000 billion rials ($1.17 billion) were earned from tax on imports (except for car imports), 69,000 billion rials ($479.16 million) from value added tax and 34,000 billion ($236.11 million) from municipal duties.