Iran’s imports of basic goods surge by 69 percent: Chief banker

Press TV – Iran’s chief banker has said that imports of basic goods and foodstuff to the country have surged by more than two thirds as authorities seek to increase inventories to cope with the impacts of US sanctions.

Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Abdolnasser Hemmati said on Thursday that imports registered at Iran’s ports since the start of the current Iranian calendar year in March had increased by 69 percent compared to the similar five-month period last year.

Hemmati told the official IRNA agency that the surge was mainly due to the fact that there was more coordination between the CBI and Iran’s agriculture and commerce ministries when it comes earmarking foreign currencies to the importers.

The official, who visited customs yards at Imam Khomeini Port southwest of Iran earlier in the day, said current port inventory figures, around three million tons of stocks, were almost double those that existed last year and before the United States imposed its sanctions on Iran.

He said there was no concern about the imports of the basics like animal feeds which are highly needed in Iran’s agriculture sector.

The surge in Iran’s import of basic goods come as the country has faced problems in normal trade with traditional partners mainly due to the American sanctions that have restricted the ability of businesses to access banking services and obtain required guarantees.

The sanctions which began in November and toughened in May led to an unprecedented depreciation in the value of Iran’s national currency rial. That caused the CBI and other government departments to directly interfere in imports and exports to prevent profiteering from rents created between official and unofficial prices of foreign currencies.