Domestic Economy

$21b Trade With $520m Surplus

$21b Trade With $520m Surplus  $21b Trade With $520m Surplus

Foreign trade data released by Iran Customs Administration on Wednesday indicate that while the country recorded a trade surplus of $520 million during the first quarter of the current Iranian year (March 21-June 21), both imports and exports have dropped significantly.

According to the report, foreign trade of $21.21 billion was recorded during the period, including 25.61 million tons of exports (including gas condensates and petrochemicals but excluding oil and gas) valued at $10.867 million and 8.84 million tons of imports worth $10.34 million.

Both exports and imports dropped in terms of value by 9.96% and 15.48% respectively compared with the similar period of previous year.

A comparison of the exported commodities' weight and value indicates that a majority of Iran's exports during the period were low-value raw material, whereas value-added commodities comprised only a small share of exports.  

While the report indicates a 32% decline in gas condensate export over the similar period of last year, the loss has been partly compensated by a 12% growth in petrochemical exports.

The ICA had earlier announced a trade surplus of $1.5 billion in the first two months of the current Iranian year (March 21-April 20) when the value of non-oil exports and imports stood at $7.861 billion and $6.344 billion respectively.

> Exports, Destinations

Major export commodities during the period included liquefied petroleum gases and hydrocarbons, valued at $576 million (7%), liquefied propane worth $383 million (4.65%) and bitumen worth $363 million (4.4%).

China was the leading export destination, importing more than 5.626 million tons of commodities valued at $1.928 billion.  Iraq followed with $1.509 billion worth of imports. The United Arab Emirates was the third major buyer of Iran's goods with $1.317 billion, showing 43% growth in import value compared with the similar period of previous year. India's imports also grew substantially by 46% to reach $729 million. Afghanistan came next with $611 million worth of imports.

> Imports, Sources

Cattle feed and staple products comprised the majority of imports during the period, along the lines of previous years.

The five main commodities imported during the period include: corn for cattle feed ($356 million), rice ($243 million), wheat ($214 million), soybean meal ($209 million) and machinery for agglomerating and molding solid mineral fuels or other mineral products in powder or paste form/machines for forming sand foundry molds ($209 million).

China was also the biggest exporter to Iran, accounting for $2.606 billion of imports during the period. The UAE came second, exporting $2.395 billion worth of commodities. China and the UAE's exports declined compared with the similar period of the previous year by 6% and 25% respectively. South Korea, Turkey and India were the other top exporters to Iran, with imports from these countries amounting to $929 million, $782 million and $636 million respectively.