World  Business and Economic Analysis 

 

 

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by : Dr.  Mehrdad Syadatnasab


Commercial Attaché of Iran Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa

 



 
Iran is an important and historical country with ancient civilization in the Middle East Region, situated in strategic location, with a population of about 80 million and it is the world’s 17th-most-populous market. Economy of Iran is the eighteenth largest economy in the world by purchasing power parity (PPP). In fact, Iran is a very young nation and it is not only about quantity, but also quality.
Iran, as a major energy producer in the Middle East holds 10% of the world’s oil reserves (second largest oil producer) and second largest reserves of natural gas (15% of the world's total) and it has the potential to become an energy superpower.
 
The economic fundamentals are strong. It’s been described as the Germany of the Middle East, an educated workforce, developed Infrastructure and a proud tradition of manufacturing with 7 Free Trade-Industrial Zones and 30 Special Economic Zones. The country has competent farmers, carmakers, drug firms and a fairly sophisticated service sector with abundant potential in Engineering & Technical services (721 Techno-Engineering projects have been executed in 42 countries by Iranian companies over the last 10 years), making it less dependent on oil, now at rock-bottom prices, than other big producers such as the Persian Gulf states.
 
The economy of Iran has been hit by sanctions and extensive trade restrictions in recent years, yet the nuclear deal has opened a clear path for total obliteration of sanction policy against the country. Although being sanctioned has been a big issue for the economy, but we can address this issue also as an opportunity than a threat.
After years of intensive negotiations have finally cleared all the misunderstandings around Iran's nuclear activities and In July 2015, Iran signed a historic deal with the P5+1 group of international mediators and now are taking the next step towards integrating more deeply into the global economy.
But foreign companies began flocking to Iran even before the deal was signed. In 2015, Tehran hosted a flurry of trade delegations and signed new contracts to boost cooperation and elaborating various opportunities in tourism, transportation, technology, foodstuff, aviation and machinery as well as oil and gas and other sectors. (Around 60 foreign delegations visited Iran in 2015 that at least a dozen were from Europe.)
In recent report the IMF noted that "prospects for 2016/17 are brighter, owing to the prospective lifting of economic sanctions. Higher oil production, lower costs for trade and financial transactions, and restored access to foreign assets, are expected to lift real GDP of Iran to about 4–5.5 percent in 2016."
 
As the largest untapped market with a very young population, the lifting of sanctions will bring around a host of new opportunities to foreign businesses with a prior presence in Iran as well as those interested in entering the Iranian market. New Iranian legislations such as the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act have come into force in an attempt to attract more foreign investment, removing previous restrictions on the percentage of foreign shareholding in Iran, and the possibility of registering an Iranian company with 100% foreign capital as well as unlimited transfer of capital and dividends where applicable.
 
The country has one of the lowest levels of external debt in the world, which makes it more resistant to global shocks. (While the external debt to GDP is less than 5 percent in Iran, the number goes to around 50 percent for Turkey). Considering the substantial amount of not-satiated demand in almost every sector, an industrial base which requires renovation and rich natural resources mainly underutilized due to investment deficiency in recent years, Iran has extra ordinary expansion and investment potentials in the fields of Oil, Gas, Petrochemicals, Mines, Industries, Agriculture and Service sectors and it’s easy to see why investors and international companies are getting very excited about Iran.
At the end it is worth to mention that after years of economic isolation, the prospect of the world’s last major frontier market opening up in 2016 and we can say Economic Renascence are started and “Iran’s Golden Times” are not far away.

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By Rupert Hargreaves


According to Sturgeon Capital, the firm that started up in December with the goal to invest exclusively in Iran, falling interest rates are the “single biggest catalyst” for an equity market rally in the country.
Iran: One of the most attractive emerging markets?

As reported in the Bloomberg Brief Hedge Fund newsletter, Sturgeon believes that Iran is one of the most attractive emerging markets out there today, and the country’s sky-high interest rates of 21% leave plenty of room for further monetary easing.

Sturgeon Capital Inagural Report On Iran Strategy

Iran’s central bank has become more hawkish in recent months. The country’s inflation rate, which hit a high of 40% in 2013, has fallen to 12.6% in the 12 months ending February 19 and now that sanctions against the country have been lifted inflation should fall further. Interest rates should soon start to reflect this disinflationary trend.

According to Clemente Cappello, founder of the London based Sturgeon:

“We expect them [interest rates] to go down gradually to higher single digits. That should provide a big boost for the stock markets because it means your cost of capital is going down, it means the interest rates you’re getting from bank deposits will be reduced and therefore, it makes the stock market comparatively more attractive.”

To play the falling interest rate trend, Sturgeon is focusing on small-cap, family-owned companies in Iran’s industrial and consumer sectors, which have strong export potential.

A great example is the glass sector. The main cost inputs for Iranian glass companies are labour, energy and sand — all of which are in abundant supply in the country. Other examples of companies the fund is interested in are; a utility company that services the petrochemical sector; an Internet provider, a payment processing company and; a vegetable oil producer.

Now that sanctions against the company have been lifted, Sturgeon’s investment universe has widened from 50 to all 600 companies listed on the Iranian stock exchange – that total excludes four entities controlled by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

With Sanctions Gone, Is Iran A Hot Investment Destination?

According to Bloomberg Brief, Greylock Capital Management is also bullish on the outlook for Iran’s stock market as foreign investors and multinationals flock back to the country after last year’s historic nuclear deal.

According to Greylock’s CEO and chairman, Hans Humes, who traveled to Iran in June, the biggest opportunities for investors are Iran’s energy, infrastructure and corporate services markets where investment opportunities may be worth “multiple tens of billions” of dollars in the next five to ten years, assuming political stability.

However, there are risks and some are more skeptical. Recent actions by Iran may give one a reason to be a bit more hesitant from either an ethical and/or realist point of view.

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Switzerland's MSC - the world's second largest shipping company - plans to expand its services to Iran.

Iran said on Sunday that the world’s second largest shipping company MSC from Switzerland will soon expand its services to the country’s ports.

Iran’s Ministry of Roads and Urban Development in a statement said an agreement had been signed with the MSC by means of which the global shipping giant will increase calls to Iran’s Bandar Abbas, Chabahar and Bandar Imam ports.

The agreement – that has been signed with the Ports and Maritime Organization Iran - will also facilitate the shipment of Iranian goods from international ports to the country through MSC.   

This came at a time that Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann is in Iran on a landmark three-day visit.   

The media reported in January that the MSC had started calling at the country’s southern ports after a hiatus of six years.

This came after an MSC container ship has docked at Shahid Rajaie port in the Persian Gulf coastal city of Bandar Abbas.

Iran’s shipping industry became the target of a series of US-led sanctions over the past few years that disrupted the traffic of ships to the country’s ports.

Those sanctions were officially removed last July when Iran and P5+1 group of countries – the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany - marked a milestone with their conclusion of nuclear negotiations.

Iran relies on container and bulk carriers to transport much of its basic needs, including food and consumer goods. Those willing to risk the liability associated with the Iran trade faced further deterrents as they could not get insurance coverage.

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کتاب عملیات بانکی در عرصه بین الملل -سرفصل ها،ضمائم ،توصیه صاحب‏نظران ارزی و مدیران ارشد بانکی

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