Economy, Business And Markets

Singapore Lifts Financial Restrictions

Singapore Lifts Financial RestrictionsSingapore Lifts Financial Restrictions

Singapore has reversed its prohibition on transactions with the Iranian government and financial Institutions as of January 28, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said this week, reported.  

The ban has been in force since June 2012, following western sanctions against Iran's nuclear program.

Restrictions were applied to all financial institutions and individuals banning them from doing business with the Iranian government, its central bank, financial institutions and their affiliates.

Sanctions had stopped financial institutions in Singapore from, directly or otherwise, entering into, continue to participate in, arrange or facilitate any transaction or business relationship with Iran.

In January 2012, Singapore's Foreign Ministry had also encouraged local firms to take note of the US' tight sanctions against individuals and companies dealing with Iran, although the US sanctions went beyond United Nations rulings and are not enforceable within the city state itself.

Top Refiner

This came after local oil firm Kuo Oil was rapped by the US for its business ties to Iran.

Singapore is a major oil trading and refining hub with about 1.3 million b/d of refining capacity and the oil industry makes up 5% of its GDP. It is also the world's top bunker fuel market by volume and relied on Iran for 6% of its total fuel oil imports between 2007 and 2011.

After more than a year of no reported imports from Iran, fuel oil began flowing again into Singapore in April 2012.

Prior to that, Singapore imported 362,448 tons of fuel oil from Iran in the week ended February 9, 2011.

Singapore's lifting of the ban followed a similar move on January 16 by the European Council, while the US removed sanctions, including a ban on commodities trade for non-US citizens who will now be allowed to trade with Iranian government institutions and sell goods and services.

Japan on January 22 lifted its key sanctions against Iran, including bans on making new investments in the oil and gas sector using export credits.