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Iran's Statistical Center Reports 7.6 Percent Decline in GDP

Iranians shop in the Vakil Bazaar in the city of Shiraz, Iran, October 31, 2019. FILE PHOTO
Iranians shop in the Vakil Bazaar in the city of Shiraz, Iran, October 31, 2019. FILE PHOTO

Statistical Center of Iran (SCI) has announced that the country’s Gross National Product (GDP) declined by 7.6 percent in the first 9 months of the current Iranian year compared with the previous year.

The period included in the SCI report is from March 21 to December 20, 2019. The GDP declined by 410 trillion rials according to the 2012 value of the currency or more than $30 billion today.

SCI also says that the decline includes loss of oil revenues resulting from U.S. sanctions. If the loss of oil export revenue is taken out of the calculation, Iran’s GDP remained flat, according to the report.

If the $30 billion decrease from GDP is the correct number, then SCI’s claim would be true, but Iran’s Central Bank has stopped issuing any economic reports for the past 11 months as U.S. sanctions have played havoc with the economy. There is no independent source to verify the SCI figures.

Last year, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund estimated that Iran’s GDP contracted by more than 9 percent in 2019, a much bigger loss than SCI’s 7.6 percent.

The loss of oil revenues and other economic sanctions have heavily impacted all sectors of Iran’s economy and GDP losses are probably more than just lost oil export revenues.

The report says that the agricultural sector had 3.2 percent growth while production of natural resources and mines declined by 16.6 percent and the services sector remained essentially unchanged.

A 40 percent high inflation rate, rising unemployment, loss of manufacturing exports and a national currency devalued fourfold in two years indicate a much worse economic situation than what is projected in the SCI report.

Iran's share of global GDP
Iran's share of global GDP