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Iran's Annual Inflation Remains Alarmingly High At 39 Percent

A woman holds an Iranian 100,000 rial banknote in Tajrish Bazaar in Tehran, August 1, 2019

Iran’s annual inflation rate has reached 38.6 percent in the last 12 months compared with the previous 12-month period, the Statistical Center of Iran (SCI) announced on Tuesday, January 21.

The figure shows a 1.4 percent decline compared with a month earlier when annual inflation stood at 40 percent.

However, the drop does not mean prices for goods and services have decreased in Iran. It only shows that inflation has slightly slowed down.

Iran's rial has dropped fourfold against major currencies in the past two years.

SCI’s latest data (Jan 21, 2019-January 20, 2020) also points out that food prices in the past twelve months, ending January 20, have climbed nearly 52.4 percent compared with the previous year.

Meanwhile, some foodstuff prices, such as vegetables, herbs, and various meats, have risen by 70 percent. in the sanctions-hit country.

According to the report, urban rent inflation in the same period was nearly 23 percent.

SCI is the only entity issuing sporadic economic reports in Iran since March 2019, when the Central Bank and other government offices stopped issuing economic reports.

Meanwhile, the data shows inflation in rural areas has been much higher than in cities. Rural and urban inflation were 42 to 38 percent, respectively.

Immediately after Washington decided to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Tehran nuclear deal with world powers and re-impose sanctions on Tehran, the inflation rate skyrocketed, reaching to the record level of 42.7 percent in the Iranian month of Shahrivar (August 23- September 22, 2019). From then on, price acceleration slightly decreased.

Based on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates, the inflation rate in 2019 in Iran was nearly 35.7 percent, globally ranked fifth, following Venezuela, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Argentina, respectively.

IMF estimates that the inflation rate for the current year in Iran will be 31 percent, pointing to slower price acceleration, ultimately in 2024 reaching 25percent.

Under the weight of sanctions, the Iranian economy in 2018 plummeted and contracted up to 4.8%, while last year, it shrank nearly 9.5%.