EghtesadOnline: A total of $2.5 billion worth of non-oil commodities were exported from Iran to the littoral states of Persian Gulf and Middle Eastern countries during the first five months of the current Iranian year (March 20-Aug. 21).
According to Director General of Trade Promotion Organization of Iran’s Arab and African Countries Bureau Farzad Piltan, Iraq, the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Syria, Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon and Bahrain were the main destinations.
“The export value shows a $3.5 billion decline compared with the similar period of last year. The fall in value has to do with the closure of borders due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic,” the official was quoted as saying by ILNA.
From among Iran’s top 20 export destinations, he added, Iraq ranked second with $1.83 billion, the UAE ranked fifth with $310 million, Oman ranked 11th with $110 million, while Kuwait ($58 million), Syria ($56 million) and Qatar ($45 million) ranked 14th, 16th and 19th respectively.
Piltan said the country expects exports to rebound once regional and international borders open and become fully operational.
Iran’s total foreign trade (excluding oil export) stood at $24.6 billion during the first five months of the current fiscal year (July 22-Aug. 21), of which exports accounted for $10.9 billion and imports constituted $13.7 billion, according to Mehdi Mirashrafi, the head of Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
Noting that Iran traded 51.8 million tons of goods during the period, the official said exports weighed 38 million tons and imports 13.8 million tons.
Compared with the corresponding period of last year (March 21-Aug. 22, 2019), exports and imports registered a 38.7% and 22.7% decline in value.
Iran’s foreign trade stood at $35.53 billion during the same period of last year, with exports hovering around $17.8 billion and imports at $17.73 billion.
According to a report by the Persian-language daily Donya-e Eqtesad, Iran’s exports and imports during the month to Aug. 21 stood at $2.2 billion and $2.8 billion, respectively.
Exports and imports during the month ending July 21 stood at $2.33 billion and $3.28 billion, respectively.
Gasoline was the country’s top exported commodity during the first five months of the current year; $1 billion worth of gasoline were exported during the period under review, thanks to a decline in domestic demand and increase in production, Mirashrafi was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate, natural gas, liquid propane, other light oils and petroleum products (except gasoline) were other major exported products.
The export of crude oil has not been taken into account in calculating Iran's export value and volume.
Mirashrafi said China was Iran’s biggest export destination with 10.8 million tons of non-oil goods worth $3 billion during the five-month period to account for 28% of Iran’s total exports.
China was also the top exporter to Iran with 1.33 million tons worth $3.55 billion and a share of 25.9% in Iran’s total imports.
Essential goods made up 9.7 million tons of Iran's total 13.8 million tons of imports. In fact, essential goods, raw materials and machinery constituted 85% of total imports during the period.
Also known as necessity goods, essential are products consumers will buy, regardless of changes in income levels.
Amid high inflation and diminished purchasing power, the Iranian government has sought to ensure a steady supply of essential goods at subsidized prices.