Iran's 1998-99 Budget Deficit Soars
August2, 1999 (Middle East Economic Survey) - Iran's actual budget
deficit in 1377 (year to 20 March 1999) soared to IR17,712bn ($10.1bn)
from IR2,869bn ($1.6bn) in 1376 (year to 20 March 1998), according to preliminary
statistics published by the Central Bank of Iran in its latest quarterly
bulletin, Economic Trends.
The large deficit was occasioned by the decline in oil prices which
started at the end of 1997 and accelerated in 1998-99.
Usually Iranian state budgets are nominally balanced when they are
first issued in a law, but actual numbers in recent years have shown some
For the current year 1378, the bulletin projects a deficit of IR4,667bn
($2.7bn), with oil and gas revenue accounting for $12bn, or 22.5% of total
In 1377 the value of oil and gas exports fell by 36% to $9.9bn, with
total exports falling by 29.3% to $12.99bn.
The value of non-oil exports recorded an increase of 6.3% to $3.09bn
The trade balance in 1377 moved into negative territory with a deficit
of $896mn compared to a surplus of $4.258bn the previous year.
Iran's short, medium and long-term debt stock, which has been declining
steadily in recent years, reversed this trend and increased to $14.089bn
at the end of 1377 (20 March 1999) from $12.12bn a year earlier, according
to Economic Trends.
The debt stock three months earlier (21 December 1998) of $11.815bn
was less by $2.274bn.
This reflects the delay in debt repayments caused by declining oil revenues
and the subsequent rescheduling which was finalized in early 1999 (MEES,
The debt repayment schedule, as given in the bulletin, shows that Iran
is due to repay $7.599bn by end-1378 (20 March 2000), $2.437bn by end-1379
(20 March 2001), $1.037bn by end-1380 (20 March 2002), $548mn by end-1381
(20 March 2002) and $2.468bn from 1382 (starting 21 March 2003).
The revised schedule shows that Iran has fallen behind in its debt
repayments when compared to the schedule published in the previous bulletin.