06/03/2017, 15.47
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Economic data bolsters Rouhani’s reforms as Iran’s economy grows 8.3 per cent

Iran’s stats office confirms economic growth following the partial lifting of sanctions. GDP grows from US$ 16.6 billion to US$ 18.04. Oil is decisive, but agriculture and manufacturing play positive role. The central bank will soon release its own figures.

Tehran (AsiaNews) - Iran’s economy grew by a record 8.3 per cent in the last fiscal year (March 2016-17) compared to the year before, the Statistical Centre of Iran (SCI) latest report shows.

This confirms the effectiveness of the reforms implemented by President Hassan Rouhani, who was re-elected for a second time in a landslide on 19 May.

Non-oil GDP in the past Iranian year stood at about US$ 17.19 billion, about .04 billion with oil included, up from about US$ 16.17 billion the previous year.

Economics played a key role in the election campaign, as a hard-fought issue between the candidates. The latest figures validate the moderate leader's action after he successfully struck an historic deal on the country’s nuclear programme, which led to a partial easing of Western economic sanctions.

For several analysts and experts, economic growth is linked to higher exports of crude oil and other petroleum products, following the opening of some markets, particularly in Europe and Russia. Overall, non-oil GDP grew 6.3 per cent.

Government data show Iran's crude oil production reached 3.8 million barrels per day by the end of last fiscal year from around 3 million bpd in the previous year.

Under sanctions, crude output had fallen to 2.5 million barrels daily and exports were limited to just above 1 million bpd to a few customers in Asia.

The SCI also noted that agriculture grew by 5 per cent, industry (including mines, manufacturing, energy and construction) by 11.3 per cent, and the services sector by 7.1 per cent during the same period.

The report comes as the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), another agency in charge of releasing periodic macroeconomic data in Iran, has yet to publish its own report on the last fiscal year. The two’s data often differ from one another as they use different base years to calculate and prepare their reports.

CBI's latest positive data pertain to the nine months to 20 December 2016 (Q1-3), indicating that the economy grew 11.9 per cent during the period including oil sector growth and 1.9 per cent excluding it.

For its part, the International Monetary Fund in its latest World Economic Outlook said Iran growth is still projected at 3.3 per cent for 2017, which will rise to 4.3 per cent in 2018. The Fund put the country's growth for 2016 at 6.5 per cent.

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