Economy, Business And Markets

Markets Tread Divergent Paths

Markets Tread Divergent Paths
Markets Tread Divergent Paths

Iranian stock markets diverged in Ordibehesht (the second month of the Iranian year started April 20) with the larger Tehran Stock Exchange falling while the smaller Iran Fara Bourse rallied.

The downtrend in Iran’s main equity market continued into its second month as it pared back more gains.

Shares on the TSE retreated from a three-year high reached last month in their worst rout since July 2015. The rout succeeded a rally that started in January following the removal of sanctions.

Autos, banks and chemical producers that led the rally have been worst hit by the rout. Weak commodity price and worries about the global economy added to fears about economic recovery. Investors keenly eyed developments among major oil producers.

Not all was doom and gloom. The smaller Iran Fara Bourse over-the-counter market bounced back at the start of the month and clawed back most of the losses from the prior month.

Benchmark TSE index, TEDPIX, ended the month at 76,292.9 points, just off its lowest in three months. Trading volume was lower than the prior month, as TEDPIX shed 2.7% or 2,138 points in Ordibehesht.

IFB’s benchmark IFX went the other way. IFX surged nearly 5% or from 779.56 points at the start of the month to 818.42 points–a seven-and-a-half week high. The rally erased much of the previous month’s losses. IFX is now just 15 points off the 16-month high it reached at the end of February.

Foreign exchange rates remained stable throughout Ordibehesht, though the rial strengthened due to a rebound in the price of its main export, crude oil and lower activity by Iranian importers.

The US dollar traded in a 560-rial range. The greenback edged down 260 points or 0.74% by the month’s end and traded at 34,700 rials.

The euro also traded sideways throughout the month. It started at 39,490 rials per euro and peaked at 39,777 rials in the middle of the month. The euro later fell, ending the month 375 points or 0.95% lower at 39,115 rials.

The Emirati dirham also lost value against the rial. The dirham slid a full percent against the rial to 9,380 rials. The dirham fell from its peak of 9,480 rial at the start of the month to a low of 9,340 rial. The currency tested the level twice, but failed to hold on to its gains against the rial.

The Azadi gold coin, the benchmark for the precious metals market in Tehran, also lost value as investor appetite for the hedge against risk subsided. The benchmark coin closely followed gold’s spot price in international markets.

The coin first hit its highest in three years to reach 10,475,000 rials, mirroring gains in international markets. The bullion coin fell 322,000 rials from the peak to finish the month at 10,153,000 rials.

Gold steadied after two days of losses on Friday, but was on track for its biggest weekly slide in eight weeks on the back of a firmer dollar and indications from the US Federal Reserve that it could raise interest rates as early as June.