EghtesadOnline: The Economy Ministry paid the principal amount and interest on bonds worth 582 trillion rials ($2.07 billion) up until Nov 20.
More than 405.7 trillion rials ($1.4b) was the principal and 176.22 trillion rials ($630 million) in interest, the IRIB website reported citing ministry data.
The ministry said the bond money outweighed total government income from selling new debt in the present fiscal year.
Government income from bonds was near 507 trillion rials ($1.8b) in the mentioned period, indicating that the value of reimbursed bonds was 74.3 trillion rials higher than the total bond sale in eight months.
Bond income largely was from Islamic bonds sold in auctions held regularly by the government in the past 18 months.
In recent months the government move to sell bonds to plug its budget deficit has attracted added attention, particularly after stock market investors complained that the practice had drained liquidity from the already teetering stock market.
Releasing the rare data on bonds appears to be in line with efforts by the relevant administrative bodies, such as the Securities and Exchange Organization, Planning and Budget Organization and Economy Ministry, to convince the public about the necessity of offering bonds to mitigate budgetary strains and reimburse maturing bonds on time.
Earlier in the week, Masoud Mirkazemi said the government’s income from selling debt has been used largely to reimburse bonds sold in the past.
In a Twitter post, Mirkazemi said the Raisi administration has to pay 5,350 trillion rials ($19 billion) in principal amount plus interest on bonds that mature up until 2026.
“The new government is working to settle repayment of previous bonds rather than generate income [for other needs],” he wrote.
The government is striving to raise funds for huge budgetary needs as it struggles with bigger deficits due to the 2018 US sanctions on the oil industry – the lifeline of the economy.
Apart from selling bonds, the government generated 810 trillion rials ($2.8b) from treasury bills in the present fiscal year.
The Central Bank of Iran supports bond sale for deficit spending on the premise that it helps control the galloping inflation arising from the ballooning budget deficits.
However, the bond policy has strong critiques. Prominent economists say selling debt should be a temporary solution and the government cannot, and should not, depend only on bond offers.
They say selling debt is tantamount to postponing the governments’ unmet financial liabilities to the unknown future.