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EghtesadOnline: Iran's non-oil foreign trade (excluding crude oil, mazut, kerosene and exports via suitcase trade) during the first eight months of the current Iranian year (March 21-Nov. 21) stood at $55.42 billion, indicating a 7.88% decline compared with the same period of last year, the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration reported.

Total exports stood at 88.36 million tons worth $27.04 billion during the period to register a 16.44% growth in weight but a 10.86% decrease in value year-on-year. 

Imports stood at 22.12 million tons worth $28.38 billion, indicating an increase of 1.58% in weight but a decline of 4.87% in value YOY. 

The country registered a trade deficit of $1.34 billion during the eight months to Nov. 21, according to Financial Tribune.

China, Iraq, the UAE, Turkey and Afghanistan were Iran’s main export destinations. 

Exports to China stood at $6.8 billion, which accounted for 25.15% of total exports.

Iraq imported $5.71 billion worth of non-oil goods from Iran (21.12%) while imports to the UAE hovered around $2.93 billion (10.84%).

Non-oil goods sold to Turkey were worth $2.8 billion (10.35%) and those exported to Afghanistan reached $1.49 billion (5.54%).   

Top exporters to Iran during the period under review were China with $7.26 billion and a share of 25.59% of Iran’s total imports, the UAE with $5.33 billion and a share of 18.81%, Turkey with $3.36 billion and a share of 11.86%, India with $2.51 billion and a share of 8.85% and Germany with $1.37 billion and a share of 4.85%.

The IRICA report also shows that Iran’s non-oil foreign trade during the 30-day period ending Nov. 21 stood at $5.84 billion, indicating a 3.63% year-on-year decline and a 21.19% decrease month-on-month.

Exports during the one-month period amounted to 8.93 million tons worth $2.63 billion while imports reached 2.32 million tons worth $3.21 billion to register a trade deficit of $576 million for the country, according to Persian daily Donya-e-Eqtesad.



74% of Exports Have Seven Destinations

A new report by Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture shows 74% of Iran’s total exports during the seven months of the current Iranian year (March 21-Oct. 22) had only five countries as destinations.

More than a year has passed since the US pulled out from the landmark nuclear agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Europe has been working on a special financial mechanism, known as the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), to bridge the gap between Iranian and European firms and conduct transactions away from US prohibitive sanctions. However, new trade figures show no sign of European countries among Iran’s top trading partners, indicating that US sanctions have had a direct effect on Iran’s commercial exchanges with European nations.

EU countries Germany, France and Italy were among Iran’s top trading partners in the recent past.

According to First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri, Iran’s exports to Afghanistan alone exceeded the country’s exports to Europe.

In the absence of its European partners, Iran has been focusing its trade on neighboring countries and those in the region.

IRICA's data on Iran's non-oil foreign trade during the seven months to Oct. 22 show China had a 25% share in Iran’s exports during the seven-month period ($6.1 billion), followed by Iraq with 21% ($5.17 billion), the UAE with 12% ($2.78 billion), Turkey with 11% ($2.67 billion) and Afghanistan with 5% ($1.28 billion).

This is while figures from last year’s corresponding period show Iraq had a 21% share in Iran’s exports, followed by China with 20%, the UAE with 17% and Afghanistan with 7%.

China was also the top exporter of goods to Iran during the first seven months of the year, making up 26% of Iran’s imports. China was followed by the UAE with 18%, Turkey with 12%, India with 9% and Germany with 5%. 

During last year’s corresponding period, top exporters to Iran were China (25%), the UAE (15%), South Korea (6%), India (6%) and Germany (5%).

As statistics from the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration show, Iran’s exports stood at 79.42 million tons worth $24.4 billion during the seven months under review to register a 17.07% growth in weight but an 11.32% decrease in value year-on-year.



Sanctions Factor

The decline in trade follows the US unilateral walkout from the nuclear deal and the reimposition of sanctions described as "toughest ever" against the Islamic Republic with the aim of choking off Iran's trade, particularly of oil, with the world by obstructing banking transactions and scaring off trading partners.

The deal saw the removal of international sanctions against Iran that, in exchange, agreed to limit the scope of its nuclear program.

The return of sanctions has weakened the Iranian economy after an initial boost as a result of JCPOA and its implementation in 2016. As a result, the Iranian government adopted ad-hoc trade policies to cushion the effect of sanctions.

One such measure was to ban the import of a wide range of goods as of last year with the primary aim of economizing on foreign currency reserves. The measure pertains to commodities that are domestically produced inside the country.

The list of banned imports recently got longer, as the government unfolds its latest foreign trade decision that adds 120 goods to the previous list of 1,530. 

The decision was made by the heads of the three branches of power in a recent meeting of the Supreme Council of Economic Coordination in response to a call by Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei. 

On Nov. 3, the Leader addressed a gathering of university and high school students, wherein he urged officials to institute policies to boost domestic production, reported.


Iran foreign trade Non-Oil Falls