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EghtesadOnline: A total of 4,376 types of products in the basket of Iran's non-oil exports earned the country $44.31 billion in the last fiscal year (March 2018-19).

Out of these commodities, 4,000 accounted for only 6% of the total export value ($2.65 billion) while the remaining 94% ($41.65 billion) pertained to 376 types of goods.

Around 29% of Iran’s total export value ($12.7 billion) belonged to only six commodities (0.13% of the total number of exported types of commodities) during the period. Notably, these six commodities were exported by only three governmental companies operating in the fields of oil, gas and petrochemicals.

The above remarks were made by former caretaker of Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, Mohammad Reza Modoudi, according to Financial Tribune.

Modoudi, however, didn’t specify the names of these companies.

No company from the private sector exported more than $1 billion worth of commodities last year.

The figure indicates exports still rely heavily on oil-based commodities produced by governmental companies.

"Lack of variety in our exported commodities and failure to improve exporting entities are the reasons behind the country’s failure to expand export markets," he was quoted as saying by the Persian daily Donya-e-Eqtesad.

Modoudi added that only 72 types of goods (1.6% of the total 4,376) earned more than $100 million in exports. These 72 items were worth an aggregate of $32 billion last year, making up 73% of the Iran’s overall export value. 

Also notably, only 52 companies (including the three unnamed governmental firms) had exports worth over $100 million. These 52 companies altogether exported over $25.2 billion (accounting for 58% of the total export value) worth of commodities last year.

Moreover, exports of 117 types of goods earned more than $50 million, i.e. 2.7% of the total volume. Altogether, these 117 items generated $35.6 billion for the country, accounting for 81% of the total export value.



Fiscal 2018-19 Trade in Detail

Iran recorded a non-oil trade surplus of $1.69 billion in the last fiscal (March 2018-19). 

The country’s overall non-oil foreign trade during the period stood at $86.92 billion to register a 14.1% decrease compared with the year before. 

Overall exports hit 117.22 million tons worth $44.31 billion to register a 12% decrease in weight and a 6% decline in value year-on-year, data provided by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs administration show. 

Imports amounted to 32.04 million tons worth $42.61 billion, down 17.5% in weight. Imports saw a decline of 22% in value over last year’s similar period, according to IRICA’s figures.

The decline in trade figures comes as the United States last year announced its withdrawal from the nuclear deal Iran signed with six 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.

“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 IRICA chief, Mehdi Mir-Ashrafi as saying.

Last year, exports to China dropped by 8% in weight, but increased 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 by 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 same 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 “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 “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 products, except 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 based products, including carpets and agricultural, industrial and mining products, classified within “others” group 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. “Others” accounted for 57% of Iran’s total exports in value and 63% in weight. 

Major exporters to Iran during 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 from the UAE decreased 45% in weight and 35% in value. 

Turkey’s exports to Iran fell 25% in tonnage and 19% in value. 

Last year, imports from India grew close to 15% in value and 12% in weight 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% compared with last year’s same period.

“Last year’s decline in imports is mostly thanks to the restrictions imposed on imports 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 reserve.

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 (above 3% of total imports), soybeans worth $1.16 billion (close to 3% of imports) and press cake worth more than $651 million or more than 1.5% of imports.


Iran Non-Oil Export Basket