Iran buys Thai rice in sign of change post-sanctions

Reuters– Iran’s state grains buyer GTC purchased about 40,000 tonnes of rice from Thailand in an international tender this week, a deal which traders believe shows Iran’s purchasing is returning to more normal patters after sanctions were lifted.

Traders said Iran has in past years largely purchased rice through lengthy direct negotiations as western sanctions imposed over the country’s disputed nuclear program had curtailed international payments via banks.

“I think this sale in a tender shows Iran is starting to return to more traditional purchasing patterns after the relaxation of western sanctions,” one European trader said on Friday. “The sale was made by a U.S. multi-national trading house.”

Iran bought Hom Mali grade A rice from Thailand at about 600 euros ($645.54) a ton, they said. Prices had been sought in euros in the tender.

The tender had closed on March 14.

The rice was for shipment between April 15 to May 15 to Bandar Imam Khomeini or Bandar Abbas ports.

No purchase was believed to have been made of 30,000 tonnes of rice from Argentina and 10,000 tonnes from India which were also sought, traders said.

Thailand plans to sell 300,000 tonnes of rice to Iran following the relaxation of international sanctions, Thai officials said on Jan. 27..

Most sanctions imposed on Iran over its disputed nuclear program were lifted in 2016, in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear work under a deal with six major powers in 2015..

(Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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