EghtesadOnline: Iran’s non-oil foreign trade in the first month of the current Iranian year (March 21-April 20) stood at 10.34 million tons worth $5.76 billion, indicating an increase of 32% and 62.5% respectively in weight and value compared with the corresponding period of last year.
According to Mehdi Mirashrafi, the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration, exports accounted for 8.3 million tons worth $2.96 billion and imports constituted 2.04 million tons worth $2.79 billion, Mehr News Agency reported.
Exports show an increase of 56% in weight and 80% in value while imports register a decline of 18% in weight but an increase of 47% in value year-on-year.
Noting that gasoline was Iran’s main export commodity during the period, the official said top export destinations were China with 2.25 million tons of non-oil goods worth $974 million (registering a year-on-year increase of 37% and 86% in weight and value respectively), Iraq with 1.53 million tons worth $428 million (77% and 66% increase in tonnage and value), the UAE with 1.2 million tons worth $417 million (a 17% growth in both weight and value), Turkey with 191,000 tons worth $177 million (an increase of 7.5% and 149% in weight and value) and Afghanistan with 452,000 tons worth $175 million (posting a year-on-year increase of 17% and 42% in weight and value).
“These five countries imported a total of 5.63 million tons of non-oil goods worth $2.17 billion from Iran, i.e., 68% of weight and 73% of value of Iran’s overall exports during the period under review,” he said.
“Iran imported $198 million worth of mobile phones; $150 million worth of sunflower oil; $103 million worth of wheat; $89 million worth of rice and $76 million worth of soybean meal during the period under review.”
Mirashrafi noted that the UAE with 453,000 tons of non-oil goods worth $788 million (registering a year-on-year increase of 110% and 113% in weight and value respectively), China with 221,000 tons of goods worth $656 million (an increase of 50% and 64% in weight and value), Turkey with 172,000 tons of goods worth $247 million (a decline of 67% in weight but an increase of 1% in value), India with 137,000 tons of goods worth $133 million (a decline of 35% and 19% in weight and value) and Russia with 174,000 tons of goods worth $132 million (a decrease of 48% in weight but an increase of 30% in value) were the top exporters to Iran.
“These five countries exported a total of 1.15 million tons of non-oil goods worth $1.95 billion during the month ending April 20. Imports from these five countries accounted for 65% and 70% of Iran’s total import in weight and value, respectively,” he said.
“A total of 933,000 tons of cargo were transited through Iran over the period, indicating a 193% growth year-on-year.”
Fiscal 2020-21 Trade at $73b
Iran’s foreign non-oil trade stood at 145.7 million tons worth $73 billion in the last fiscal year (March 2020-21).
According to the IRICA chief, exports accounted for 112 million tons worth $34.52 billion and imports constituted 34.4 million tons worth $38.5 billion.
Iran’s main exports included gasoline, natural gas, polyethylene, propane and pistachio, with the latter alone earning $1.2 billion.
“The main export destinations were China with 26.6 million tons worth $8.9 billion, Iraq with 25.6 million tons worth $7.3 billion, the UAE with 15.2 million tons worth $4.6 billion, Turkey with 6.3 million tons worth $2.5 billion and Afghanistan with 7 million tons worth $2.2 billion. These five countries imported more than 80 million tons of non-oil goods worth $25.7 billion,” he said.
China accounted for 26% of Iran's total non-oil exports, as 26.58 million tons of non-oil goods worth $8.95 billion were shipped during the period. Pistachio, nuts, minerals, construction materials, methanol, carpet, iron ore, glassware and fruits were the main types of goods exported from Iran to China in the last fiscal year.
Imports from China totaled 3.54 million tons worth $9.76 billion during the year to March 20 to account for 10.6% of the total volume of Iran's imports and 25.3% of the total value of imports during the period. Industrial machinery and raw materials, medical equipment, paper, wood, textile, auto parts and sports equipment were Iran's main imports from the South Asian state in the fiscal 2020-21.
“Iran’s foreign trade declined by 25 million tons due to sanctions and the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said, adding that the country’s trade deficit stood at $4 billion.
Mirashrafi noted that a total of 23.1 million tons of essential goods, including corn, cellphones, rice, soybean meal, oilseeds, wheat and unprocessed oils, worth $12 billion were imported during the period under review.
Iran imported 3.5 million tons of essential goods worth $9.7 billion from China, 5 million tons worth $9.6 billion from the UAE, $4.3 billion from Turkey, 2.2 million tons worth $2.1 billion from India and 1.2 million tons worth $1.8 billion from Germany in the year to March 20.
Also known as necessity goods, essential goods are products consumers will buy, regardless of changes in income levels.