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EghtesadOnline: Currency trade in the secondary market, known locally as Nima, reached almost $4 billion from the beginning of the fiscal year in late March to May 9.

In press statement posted on its website on Monday, the Central Bank of Iran said the currency sold via Nima was double the amount from the same period last year. 

Nima is an online platform affiliated to the CBI through which exporters sell their overseas currency and companies buy it for importing goods, machinery, equipment and raw materials. 

In this system, importers declare their currency needs, exporters register their proceeds and banks and authorized moneychangers are brokers. 

The CBI said exporters offered $332 million on Sunday, alone, marking the biggest daily sale in two months.

As per available data, most of the export income is returned by limited big firms, namely petrochemical, mineral and metal companies. 

Last month Ahmad Mahdavi, secretary of the Petrochemical Industry Contractors Guild Association, said the key industry accounts for a major portion of forex traded via Nima. 

In a talk with IRNA, Mahdavi said that the industry generated $14.5 billion last year, 86% of which was offered at Nima.

“An estimated $12.5 billion in petrochemical export revenue was sold at Nima to help meet the need for currency,” he was quoted as saying.

The CBI says exports and currency revenue increased after new facilitative rules were announced in recent months. 

As per rules, non-oil exporters have to bring back a segment of their earnings in forex hawala and sell it via Nima.  They also can sell the currency to authorized exchange shops. 

Most small and medium sized export companies meet their export repatriation commitments via the “import in lieu for export” mechanism, a method approved in October 2020 as part of government efforts to ease the cumbersome process involved in repatriating forex revenue. 

Exporters now use part of their earnings to import goods, raw material and machinery either for their own needs or for a third party under “currency barter between exporters and importers”.

The provision, however, excludes giant export companies such as petrochemical, steel and petroleum producers. They are obliged to sell a big portion of their forex income via Nima. 


Currency trade Nima