EghtesadOnline: Stationery prices have increased by 20% compared with last year due to the rise in production costs while demand for these products has dropped by 60-70% following school closures caused by the outbreak of coronavirus, Mahmoud Reza Sanatkar, the head of Stationery Producers’ Association, says.
“Despite the decline in consumption, producers are continuing their operations just like before in the hope of market recovery. They can’t afford to lose their main capital, i.e. their workforce,” he added.
The country produces an adequate volume of pencils and notebooks to export, but the government has banned the export of these items since it used to grant subsidies to production of pencils and import of paper, the Persian-language daily Shahrvand reported.
Sanatkar noted that although these two items do not receive subsidized foreign currency any more, the ban on their exports has remained in place.
“Up to 25% of the raw materials needed for stationery production are met through imports. The Central Bank of Iran, however, has not supplied us with forex and our imports are piled up in customs bureaus and we had to pay as much as 250 million rials in demurrage costs,” he said.
Domestic production meets around 40% of Iran's demand for stationery products, according to the CEO of Iranian-Islamic Stationery Assembly.
"The domestic share stood at 20% about eight years ago. But since then, Iranian producers increasingly made efforts to produce different kinds of stationery to suit the Iranian taste. In terms of quality, our locally-made stationery can compete with their foreign counterparts,” Mohammad Yaqini was also quoted as saying by Donya-e-Eqtesad Persian daily.
He added that Iran’s stationery market turnover stands at 60 trillion rials (over $255 million) per year.
The official noted that the coronavirus pandemic has reduced the size of Iran’s stationery market to a third and it is not yet clear whether it will bounce back with the reopening of schools in the form of online classes.
Iran’s 34 stationery producers have created jobs for 5,000 people, according to the latest figures released by the Ministry of Industries, Mines and Trade.
There are eight pen manufacturers in the country with a total nominal production capacity of 656 million pens a year while the domestic demand stands at 300-350 million per year. These firms have generated close to 1,000 jobs across the country, based on a recent report released by the Industries Ministry, IRNA reported.
A total of 57 million pens were imported into the country during the last Iranian year (March 2019-20) to register a 30.48% decline compared with the year before.
There are also four felt-tip pen production units active in the country with a total nominal capacity to produce 248.5 million marker pens per year. Domestic demand for felt-tip pens currently stands at between 145-150 million per annum. These factories have provided employment for 890 people, the report reads.
A total of 80 million felt-tip pens were imported into Iran last year, indicating a 45.45% year-on-year rise.
Pencil production is currently underway in five factories with a total nominal production capacity of more than 4.32 million pencils per year. Domestic demand for pencils stands at 2.5 million annually.
Iran’s pencil production units have generated around 2,200 jobs.
In the fiscal 2019-20, more than 37,000 pencils were imported, which shows a 94.47% YOY drop.
Notebooks are produced in five production units with a total nominal production capacity of 2,546 tons (100 million notebooks). Annual domestic demand stands at between 150-160 million notebooks.
Notebook imports experienced a 97.91% nosedive last year to reach 2 tons.
Iran's total nominal eraser production capacity is at 2,218 tons in four factories, which have created a total of 615 jobs. Domestic demand stands at 2,300 erasers per year.
Some 350 tons of erasers were imported into the country over the last fiscal year.
There are eight producers of measurement stationery in Iran with a total nominal production capacity of 4,339 tons per year. These firms have provided jobs for 450 people.
Annual domestic demand for different kinds of measurement stationery stands at 1,500 tons.
The IRNA report did not provide figures on measuring instrument imports.