High energy, paper prices shut down 30% of printing houses in Qom-holly city of Iran

Azerbaijan, Baku, Sep.29/ Trend F.Milad/

Some 30 percent of printing houses in Iran's central city of Qom have been closed due to the rising prices of paper and energy, the head of the printing house owners union of Qom stated.

Jahangir Rezaii told the Mehr news agency that many other printing houses have reduced their working hours.

He blamed the mismanagement of officials in the importation of paper due to the instability in the market.

While publishers complain about higher paper prices, paper sellers say the Iranian government's interference and price assignments are the offence.

Ahmad Sharifian, a board member of the Paper Sellers Union, told the ILNA news agency that the government's arbitrary prices create the conditions for a "mafia" to take over the situation and profit from higher prices.

The government sells paper imported from China for 535,000 rilas, Sharifian said. This determins the future price of paper because it will be impossible for the price to be lower than that has just been paid.

Last year, the paper market lost millions of dollars and experienced numerous bankruptcies, the Paper Sellers' Union member said. One reason for the paper market's problems is the rial's devaluation. Some use the cheaper dollars to buy paper and then sell it at higher prices in Iran.

The Central Bank of Iran has set the official exchange rate at 12,260 rials to the dollar.

This rate is available for importers of certain goods that are deemed essential. Meanwhile, the exchange rate in Iran's free currency market is around 26,900 rials to the dollar.

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