Iranian state firm ready to import paper as prices soar
Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 30 / Trend F.Mehdi/
An Iranian government run company has announced it is ready to import paper due to prices having risen in the country in recent days, the Mehr News Agency reported.
Mehr quoted Iranian Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry official Homayoun Amirzadeh as saying that despite the importation of a 20,000 ton consignment of paper, prices have soared again on the market. This is despite paper being currently imported using the Forex Centre rate dollar, he added.
The Central Bank of Iran has set the official exchange rate at 12,260 rials to the dollar. That rate is available to importers of certain goods that are deemed essential.
Meanwhile, exchange rates in Iran's Forex Centre and in the free currency market are around 24,550 rials and 36,500 rials to the dollar, respectively.
In October 2012, the secretary of the Iranian paper and cardboard producers said that there is no paper and cardboard hoarded by producers in Iran as they basically are unable to do so.
"The dollar price is currently fluctuating and in such a situation it is natural for importers to wait for a stabilised market. That does not mean profiteering," Taher Shobeiri told ISNA.
Previously a board member of the Paper Sellers Union told ILNA that the government's arbitrary prices create conditions for a 'mafia' to take over the situation and profit from higher prices.
"The government sells paper imported from China for 535,000 rials," Ahmad Sharifian said. "This sets 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 saw numerous bankruptcies, the Paper Sellers' Union member said.
One reason for the paper market's problems is the rial's devaluation. Some use cheaper dollars to buy paper and then sell it at higher prices in Iran.