EghtesadOnline: During the first quarter of the current year (March 20—June 20), Iran’s foreign trade was at its lowest level in the month ending April 19 and at its peak in the month ending May 20, Otaghiranonline.ir reported citing data by the Central Bank of Iran.
During the first month of the current year (March 20-April 19), exports and imports stood at 5.34 million tons and 2.52 million tons worth $1.65 billion and $1.93 billion, respectively.
In the month ending May 20, exports and imports hovered around 9.17 million tons and 3.87 million tons worth $2.64 billion and $3.11 billion, respectively.
During the third Iranian month (May 21-June 20), exports and imports stuck around 7.4 million tons and 2.51 million tons worth $2.06 billion and $2.57 billion, respectively.
All in all, Iran’s exports and imports stood at 21.92 million tons and 8.92 million tons worth $6.36 billion and $7.62 billion, showing a trade deficit of $1.26 billion for the country in Q1.
Noting that Covid-19 pandemic disrupted normal economic activity around the world, Mehdi Mirashrafi, the head of Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, said the decline in exports in recent months is to blame on the outbreak of coronavirus and closure of borders, although they have begun to normalize since mid-June.
"Gasoline, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, polyethylene and other light oils were Iran’s main exports while field corn, wheat, cellphones, semi-milled rice and raw soybeans were Iran's major imports in Q1,” Fars News Agency quoted the IRICA chief as saying.
Gasoline exports worth $698 million accounted for 10.97% of the overall exports during the three-month period.
In late May, Iran sent five oil tankers, namely Forest, Fortune, Petunia, Faxon and Clavel, carrying 1.53 million barrels of gasoline all under the flag of Iran to Venezuela despite US sanctions.
Q1 exports of natural gas were worth $367 million (with a share of 5.77%), liquefied petroleum gas $265 million (4.16%), polyethylene $241 million (3.79%) and other light gas exports were worth $187 million (2.93%).
Oil-based products and byproducts, as well as petrochemical products, are included in the Islamic Republic of Iran's Customs Administration's "non-oil export data. In fact, petrochemicals and gas condensates constitute the greater share of total exports.
Q1 imports of field corn stood at $588 million with a share of 7.72% of overall imports; wheat at $537 million with 7.05%; cellphones at $358 million with 4.7%; semi-milled or wholly-milled rice worth $205 million with 2.69% and soybeans at $170 million with a share of 2.23% from total imports.
China was Iran’s main export destination in Q1, with $1.84 billion worth of non-oil imports during the three-month period to account for 28.91% of Iran’s total exports.
It was followed by Iraq with $1.48 billion and a share of more than 23.4% of Iran’s exports, the UAE with $967 million and a share of 15.2%, Afghanistan with $499 million and a share of 7.8% and Turkey with $250 million and a share of 4% in Iran’s total exports.
Exports to China, Iraq, Afghanistan and Turkey dropped by 28%, 37.06%, 6.9% and 88.8% compared with last year’s similar period while exports to the UAE improved by 8.5% YOY.
Exports to other countries with a share of 21% of Iran’s total exports fell by 52.5% to stand at $1.31 billion.
Top exporters to Iran were China with $1.93 billion and a share of 25.4% of Iran’s total imports, the UAE with $1.7 billion (22.3%), Turkey with $815 million (10.7%), India with $529 million (7%) and Russia with $421 million (5.5%).
Imports from China, Turkey and India respectively decreased by 1,834%, 36.1% and 57.8% when compared with last year’s same period while imports from the UAE and Russia improved by 8.5% and 43.22% YOY respectively.
Q1 imports from other countries with a share of 29.1% of Iran’s total exports plunged by 39% YOY to stand at $2.23 billion.