Iran will be loser in oil bartering
Dalga Khatinoglu, head of the Persian news service
With a glance at Iran's trade partners and its foreign trade balance, it can be found out that the country will be a loser in bartering with its three major customers instead of using the dollar in oil trade. India has recently replaced China as the main customer for Iranian crude importing 550,000 barrels of oil per day. India has been facing problems since January 2011 for paying its oil dues to Iran.
India has reportedly owed at least $8 billion in oil dues to Iran. The two countries have recently come to terms on settling 45 percent of the dues in rupees and the rest through bartering goods for oil.
Last year, India bought oil worth about $1 billion from Iran per month in average. However it has increased imports by 37 percent. A look at the bilateral trade shows that it is highly probable that India will not be able to pay the rest 55 per cent of its oil dues through bartering. Moreover, settling 45 percent of the dues in rupee is as much as two times of India's exports to Iran.
India exports goods worth $2.5 billion to Iran annually, which is very low compared with imports from Iran. According to the External Affairs Ministry of India, in the two countries' trade balance was around $8 billion last year.
Except for the considerable trade balance figure, rupee's value has declined by 9.2 percent during the past 12 months. This fact will raise the risk of oil trade in rupees. The rupee's depreciation is also likely to happen in 2012. The Indian Central Bank has forecasted 6.9 percent economic growth for the current year, which is 1.5 percent lower than the last year's figure and is the lowest since 2008.
The trade balance between Iran and Japan is the same. Japan is the third largest importer of Iranian crude and makes some $11 billion-trade with Iran, of which just 20 percent is the share of Iran's imports from Japan.
In 2011, trade between Iran and China amounted to some $40 billion, of which $18 billion was Iran's exports to China. The bilateral trade is expected to hit $45 billion and the trade balance still remains very high.
Considering that none of the two countries' currencies are among the major currencies in global trade, Iran will face major problems in trade with such countries.