Iran budgets for $60 price for crude oil

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday presented to
parliament a large annual budget of $368 billion based on an oil price
of $60 per barrel, nearly double the price from last year, indicating
rising optimism over energy prices.

Last year,
parliament approved a budget based on $37.5 per barrel for the fiscal
year ending in March, reflecting the steep drop in prices that severely
impacted the economy. About 80 percent of Iran’s foreign revenue comes
from oil exports.

The $368 billion budget, nearly 24 percent
bigger than last year’s, comes as the government is preparing to enact
a law in April that would sharply slash energy and food subsidies. The
move could provoke more unrest in a country already struggling under
international sanctions, high inflation and a government crackdown on
the opposition.

The law would gradually cut energy subsidies over
a period of five years, bringing the heavily discounted fuel prices
more in line with international prices.

The government Web site said Ahmadinejad informed government agencies of the law on Sunday.

an open session of parliament broadcast live on state television,
Ahmadinejad claimed that cutting subsidies would help the government
contain inflation, bringing it down to 5 percent within 2 1/2 years.

While experts say inflation remains at about 25 percent,…

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