EghtesadOnline: The Import Price Index, a relative indicator measuring the overall changes in prices of imports of merchandise into a country (using the new base year of 2016-17), stood at 1330.1 in the last Iranian year (March 2019-20) when measured in terms of the rial, registering a 295.2% increase compared with the year before.
According to a new report by the Statistical Center of Iran, citing the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration’s data, last year saw IPI stand at 161.4 when measured in the dollar terms, registering a 30.3% increase compared with the year before.
The Export Price Index, a relative indicator measuring the overall change in prices of goods and services sold abroad, (using the year ending March 2017 as a base year), stood at 394.9 in the fiscal 2019-20 in terms of the local currency value, indicating an 87.5% growth compared with the year before.
When measured in the dollar terms, EPI stood at 124.2, showing a 6.4% decline compared with the year before.
Iran’s non-oil foreign 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 Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
Oil-driven 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 greater 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 as much as the import in 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.
Mirashrafi said imports reached 35.3 million tons in the fiscal 2019-20, indicating a 9.3% growth year-on-year.
“As a result, a $2.4 billion in trade deficit was registered for the country during the period under review. Raw materials, machinery and intermediate goods accounted for 85% of imports,” he said.
“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. However, the fact that each ton of Iran’s imports was valued at $1,220 while each ton of exports was worth only $309 indicates that exports of unprocessed goods remains to be a challenge for Iran’s economy."
The IRICA chief noted that China was Iran’s main export destination, purchasing $9.5 billion worth of non-oil goods from Iran 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.
“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 imports."
The imports chiefly included material used in the manufacturing, 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 numbers 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.
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.
“More than 24.31 million tons of essential goods worth $14.99 billion have been imported into the country since the beginning of the current fiscal year [March 20, 2019],” the IRICA spokesman said on March 8.
Rouhollah Latifi said the imports of essential goods saw a 23% and 18.5% growth in tonnage and value respectively compared with the preceding year’s corresponding period.
Rice accounted for 11% of the imported essential goods, standing at 1.59 million tons worth $1.63 billion to register a 3.3% and 3.44% rise year-on-year.