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Iran Central Bank Forecasts Annual 22 Percent Inflation In Rare Move

Fruit and vegetable stalls in Tehran's famous Tajrish Marketplace. March 30, 2020.
Fruit and vegetable stalls in Tehran's famous Tajrish Marketplace. March 30, 2020.

In a rare move, Iran's Central Bank (CBI) has announced its forecast about the country's annual inflation rate, saying it expects 22 percent rise in prices the current Iranian year.

According to the report, the inflation rate will hover around 22 percent in the period between March 21, 2020 and March 20, 2021. During the same period in the previous Iranian calendar year, the rate of inflation was registered at 41.2 percent by the Central Bank and 34.8 percent by the Statistic Center of Iran (SCI).

The Iranian calendar and fiscal year begins on March 21.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that Iran will experience annual inflation of around 34.2 percent in 2020. It has also forecast a decline by six percent in Iran's GDP.

The Central Bank claims the measures that it took a year ago have paved the way for improving the inflation rate and other major economic indices.

Iran has been struggling with the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic since late February in addition to U.S. sanctions that were re-imposed in 2018 by President Donald Trump.

The CBI normally only announces its estimate of the inflation rate in the previous month and never made forecasts about the future. It stopped publishing monthly inflation reports in December 2018 when discrepancies between the statistics published by Iran Statistical Center (SCI) gave rise to criticism of the government.

The halt in CBI's reports was reportedly ordered by the administration's economic minister. The CBI in a statement on December 26, 2018 said it would investigate the discrepancy in the statistics and try to minimize it in tandem with the Statistical Center, which later announced that by the decision of the Expert Committee of the Statistical Supreme Council, the Central Bank was no longer authorized to publish economic statistics.

Critics said stopping the publication of CBI reports was illegal and the CBI was required by law to publish monthly reports on inflation, growth rate and other vital economic statistics. They also alleged that the administration of President Hassan Rouhani had ordered the CBI to stop announcing its statistics because its inflation rates were higher than the Statistics Center.