Iran’s chief banker says economy grew 1.3% in H1 fiscal year

Central Bank of Iran (CBI) governor Abdolnasser Hemmati says raw data related to the country’s economic performance in the first half of the current calendar year suggest Iran’s gross domestic product (GDP) had grown by 1.3 percent compared to the March-September period in 2019.

Hemmati wrote in an Instagram post on Sunday that Iran’s GDP had performed extraordinarily well in the second quarter of the fiscal year ending September 21 as it rose 5.1 percent to compensate for a negative growth of 2.9 percent recorded in the previous quarter.

The CBI governor said, however, that the base year used to calculate the GDP was 2011-2012 when the exchange rate for the Iranian rial against the dollar was 18,900.

Reports in recent months have suggested that Iran has increased its oil exports to levels between 0.5 million and 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) despite a series of American sanctions that seek to bar the trade altogether.

That may have contributed to a growth in Iran’s GDP with oil in the third quarter of 2020 as the country has normally posted negative growth figures since the US sanctions were enacted in the middle of 2018 and then toughened in May 2019.

Hemmati cited figures from the CBI’s Economic Accounts Department saying Iran’s GDP without oil had grown 1.4 percent in the first half of the fiscal year, adding, however, that the economy with oil and without oil shrank by 2.9% and 0.6 percent, respectively, in the first quarter ending June 20 when the spread of the coronavirus in Iran forced massive closures of businesses across the country

The CBI governor said the growth of Iran’s economy with and without oil was a sign the country had successfully resisted the US pressure.

“The steadfastness and determination of the noble Iranian nation paid off … at the height of economic war and (the spread of) coronavirus,” he said.