Scarce petchems surge prices of plastics in Iran

Press TV – A shortage of raw materials has reportedly tripled the prices of plastic products in Iran with traders blaming a more expensive US dollar which they say is encouraging suppliers of petrochemicals to prefer exports over domestic demand.

A recent report by ISNA news agency said plastic products which are strongly popular to the country’s retail sector were already being sold at prices almost three times than what they used to be sold last month.

“Providing the raw materials for production of plastics has become extremely difficult than before,” Mohammad Moqimi-Asl, the head of the Association of Producers of Plastics and Nylon of Iran told the news agency.

“The problems involving the production of plastics have to the same degree increase,” he added.

Moqimi-Asl accused petrochemical plants of “profiteering” from the country’s current conditions and said they should respect the interests of the state given that “they use huge benefits provided by the government”.

“The price of each kilogram of raw materials needed for production of plastics has been determined at around Rials 50,000 ($0.53 with each dollar at an average current free market rate of Rials 93,000),” he said.

“However, producers buy each kilogram of petrochemicals at Rials 100,000 to 150,000 due to the current shortages in the market.”

Moqimi-Asl further warned that the shortage of petrochemicals had taken many producers of plastics to the brinks of bankruptcy. This, he said, is because exports were being favored as part of a drive to draw more dollars into the country.

On a related front, IRNA news agency reported that “middle-men” had recently stepped up exports of the raw materials required for production of plastics.

It quoted an announcement by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) as showing that exports of petrochemical products specifically polyethylene, liquid propane and styrene had seen a significant surge from 21 April to 21 May which marks the second Iranian Persian calendar month.

CBI figures showed that exports of petrochemicals over the period were higher by 22.5 percent than a month ago and 79.3 percent than the same period last year.

In an earlier report, IRNA had said Iran exported some 5.3 million tones of petrochemical products valued at $3.1 billion from 21 March to 21 June.

Iran sells the bulk of its petrochemicals to Asian clients including those in China, India and South Korea.