Oil price rise pushed Iran '99 exports to EU
April 5, DUBAI -(Dow Jones)- Higher oil prices helped Iran restore its
trade surplus with the European Union last year, with exports increasing
26%, according to figures obtained by the official Islamic Republic News
Agency from Eurostat.
Iranian exports rose by EUR1 billion from 1998 to EUR4.7 billion in
1999, with the upturn most evident in the final quarter of 1999, IRNA reported.
At the same time, Iranian imports fell by 12% to EUR3.9 billion.
Oil prices have more than tripled in the past year, hitting nine-year
highs last month. Iran is the world's second largest oil producer.
Among the EU's 15 members, Italy increased its lead as Iran 's biggest
trading partner during 1999, with combined imports and exports of EUR2.1
billion, up EUR159 million on 1998.
Germany and France were second and third largest, respectively.
Iraq, Syria and Iran were the only Middle Eastern countries to record
a trade surplus with the E.U., IRNA said. Saudi Arabia lost its position
as the E.U.'s top Middle Eastern trade partner because of the repercussions
of the collapse in oil prices in 1998, IRNA said, citing Eurostat.
Eurostat figures show that the E.U.'s trade surplus with the Middle
East was cut from EUR25.4 billion in 1998 to EUR17.6 billion in 1999, following
the recovery in oil prices.