Iran’s trade balance to face threat of shortage

Iran’s trade balance to face threat of shortage

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 17 / Trend /

Ellada Khankishiyeva, Trend Analytical Centre Head

Iran's foreign trade turnover, which for years had a positive balance, will undergo significant changes in 2012. Thanks to the oil and gas exports, the country's export indicators have always exceeded the import ones and ensured a stable balance of payments and allowed to accumulate sufficient foreign exchange reserves, of which the payment of import and development of non-oil sector of the state were carried out.

Supporting the growth in economic sectors other than oil, achieving further reduction in inflation and reducing the dependence of the state treasury from oil by developing domestic sources of income have been the main macroeconomic objectives of Iran for decades. And the embargo on oil supplies from Iran to the EU countries in July 2012 will serve as a new round of development of the country's non-oil sector.

According to statistics of the Customs Committee of Iran for 10 months of 2011, the cost of non-oil exports increased by 31.85 percent compared to the same period of 2010. Thus, exports of non-oil sector's goods for 10 months of 2011 amounted to 61,900 tons worth $35.137 billion against 57,852 tons worth $26.649 billion for 10 months of 2010. During this period, technological and engineering services brought $ 3.5 billion to Iran.

These figures are presented by Iran to the world community with pride, in an attempt to prove that the economic blockade of Iranian banks and oil companies will not harm the country. However, nevertheless, one shouldn't forget that oil accounts for 80 percent of the total Iranian exports, therefore, only 20 percent of exports belong to the non-oil sector.

Distribution of the oil designed for Europe among the other trade partners of Iran also remains a formidable task. Because China, increased by 55 per cent trade turnover with Iran as of 2011, in Jan, 2012 reduced the daily crude oil imports from Iran to 285,000 barrels, thus the export of Iranian oil to China fell by almost half now.

India, one of the Iran's main trade partners (10.4 per cent), although it opposed reducing the supply of Iranian oil, but offered to pay for oil in rupees, which would put Iran in a state of dependence on India.

Iran's next export partner and the third major consumer of Iranian oil - Japan, also agreed to reduce supply of Iranian oil from early 2012. During the first 11 months of 2011 312,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day was imported in Japan. In total, Iranian oil accounted for 8.8 per cent of total oil purchases of Japan.

And if the main export partners of Iran, except Turkey, have taken a wait, what to say about the rest. Thus, despite the optimistic statements of the Iranian side, the trade turnover of Iran will be seriously shaken after loss of major markets for their products,.

The main export partners of Iran as of 2010 were the European Union (17.8 percent), China (17.1 percent), Japan (10.4 percent), India (10.4 percent) and Turkey (7.2 percent).

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