EghtesadOnline: The Statistical Center of Iran has published a report reviewing changes in Export Price Index and Import Price Index in the fourth quarter of last Iranian year (Dec. 22, 2019-March 19).
The Export Price Index, a relative indicator measuring the overall change in prices for goods and services sold abroad, (using the year ending March 2012 as a base year), stood at 620.2 in Q4 in terms of rial, registering a 9.2% increase compared with the quarter before and a 59.6% rise compared with the same quarter of the year before.
The average EPI during the four-quarter period leading to March 19 witnessed an 80.9% growth compared with the preceding year's corresponding period.
The three-month period saw EPI stand at 140.7 in dollar terms, registering an increase of 0.5% over the quarter before, as well as the corresponding quarter of the year before.
The average EPI in dollar terms during the four quarters to March 19 witnessed a 5.9% growth compared with the preceding year's corresponding period.
The Import Price Index, a relative indicator measuring the overall changes in prices of imports of merchandise into a country (using the year ending March 2012 as a base year), stood at 5514.4 in Iran in Q4 in terms of rial, registering a 46.9% increase compared with the quarter before and a 267.8% rise compared with the same quarter of the year before.
The average EPI during the four quarters leading to March 19 witnessed a 240% growth compared to the preceding year's corresponding period.
The three-month period saw EPI stand at 502 in dollar terms, registering a 16.8% increase quarter-on-quarter and a 61.7% rise year-on-year.
The average EPI in dollar terms during the four quarters to March 19 witnessed a 51.3% growth compared with the preceding year's corresponding period.
Fiscal 2019-20 Non-Oil Trade at $85b
Iran’s non-oil trade stood at $85 billion in the fiscal 2019-20, of which exports accounted for $41.3 billion and imports for $43.7 billion, according to Mehdi Mirashrafi, the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
Oil-based products and byproducts as well as petrochemical products are included in IRICA's "non-oil" export data. In fact, petrochemicals and gas condensates constitute the bigger share of total exports.
Noting that Iran traded over 169 million tons of goods last year, the official said exports weighed 133.9 million tons—three times the imports in terms of weight and about 13.5% more than the previous year.
In terms of value, however, exports show a 7% decline year-on-year, he added.
“Imports reached 35.3 million tons in the fiscal 2019-20, indicating a 9.3% growth year-on-year. A $2.4 billion trade deficit was registered for the country during the period under review. Raw materials, machinery and intermediate goods accounted for 85% of the imports,” Mirashrafi was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
“Petrochemicals made up the lion’s share of exports, which indicates that the country is moving from being dependent on selling unprocessed goods toward exporting petroleum products.”
The IRICA chief noted that each ton of Iran’s imports was valued at $1,220 while each ton of exports was worth only $309, which indicate that exports of unprocessed goods remain a challenge for Iran’s economy.
“China was Iran’s main export destination, purchasing $9.5 billion worth of non-oil goods from us last year, followed by Iraq with $8.9 billion, Turkey with $5.4 billion, the UAE with $4.5 billion and Afghanistan with $2.3 billion. Our top five partners in exports were Asian countries and mostly neighbors. Other countries imported $10.9 billion worth of Iran’s non-oil goods last year,” he said.
Mirashrafi said China was Iran’s top trading partner in imports as well.
“The Asian country sold $11.2 billion worth of non-oil goods to Iran last year. The UAE with $8.9 billion, Turkey $4.9 billion, India $3.6 billion and Germany with $2.1 billion worth of exports to Iran were Iran’s other key trading partners in terms of imports," he said.
The imports chiefly included material used in the production of livestock feed, essential goods, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals.
Last year’s imports of livestock feed and essential goods were 3 million tons more compared with the year before.
IRICA’s figures show intermediate goods worth $29.7 billion and capital goods worth $5.9 billion were imported into the country last year. Consumer goods constituted 8% of total imports last year, according to the official.
Essential goods imports have taken center-stage amid unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States. The spread of the new coronavirus has also exacerbated the need for these goods.
A total of 25.09 million tons of essential goods worth $15.5 billion were imported into Iran during the last fiscal year to register a 20.77% and 17.13% increase in weight and value respectively, compared with the year before, according to the IRICA Spokesman Rouhollah Latifi.
This amount of essential goods’ imports accounted for close to 71% and 35% of the volume and value of last year’s total imports respectively, the official was quoted as saying by ISNA.
“The imported essential commodities included wheat, sugar, corn, rubber, barley, processed tea, rice, different kinds of seeds, red meat, soybeans, pulses, paper, fertilizers and industrial machinery,” he added.
Also known as necessity goods, essential goods are products consumers will buy, regardless of changes in income levels.