2013-12-27 09:34:33 - New Food market report from Business Monitor International: "Iran Agribusiness Report Q1 2014"
Financial sanctions imposed to pressure Tehran over its nuclear programme are playing havoc with Iran's ability to import goods. Food price inflation is soaring, leading to a serious decrease in meat consumption. The use of barter in replace of regular trade can be seen as a feasible, albeit temporary, way of circumventing sanctions to meet demand. Although the newly elected President Hassan Rouhani, more moderate than his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will most likely adopt a more conciliatory stance with the West, most sanctions are expected to remain in place. Over the longer term, we believe that the continued investment by the government to improve infrastructure - such as the improvement of irrigation systems - will help the country to turn
away from its backward agrarian system and will yield results in terms of better-quality grains. We are especially upbeat in our outlook for grains and sugar production.
Full Report Details at
* Wheat production growth to 2016/17: 11.2% to 15.0mn tonnes. Wheat yields are expected to improve owing to the modernisation of technology, including hardier grains variants, greater access to relevant inputs and a larger area of the country benefiting from new irrigation facilities.
* Sugar consumption growth to 2017: 53.9% to 2.9mn tonnes. Sugar demand will be mainly driven by population growth.
* Poultry production growth to 2016/17: 11.8% to 900,000 tonnes. Growth will be driven by domestic demand and the effects of increased investment.
* BMI universe agribusiness market value: US$11.05bn in 2014 (down 2.4% compared with 2013, growth forecast to average 0.7% annually between 2013 and 2017).
* 2014 real GDP growth: 2.4% (up from -1.6% in 2013; predicted to average 2.5% from 2013-2017).
* 2014 consumer price inflation: 25.0% year-on-year (y-o-y) (down from 35.0% y-o-y in 2013; predicted to average 19.8% y-o-y from 2013-2017).
The new wave of international sanctions imposed on Iran in connection with its disputed nuclear programme has increased the difficulty of importing food. The US National Defense Authorization Act, which came into effect on July 1 2013, blacklists Iran's shipping, shipbuilding, energy and ports management sectors, adding to other sanctions targeting the banking sector and key oil exports. The extra burden placed on the import of basic goods will push up food prices, which are already skyrocketing. These additional hurdles mean grain shipments to Iran can command a risk premium of US$10-20/tonne over international prices, according to industry sources.
The government announced in 2013 plans to increase Iran's meat production capacity, with large-scale investment over three years. The Central Association of Animal Breeders has submitted a programme to parliament in which it outlines plans for the country to reach self-sufficiency in beef production by 2016. We deem this goal as overly ambitious. In fact, we forecast Iran's beef production deficit to widen from 167,000 tonnes in 2012/13 to 282,000 tonnes in 2016/17.
Food inflation has been a major issue in Iran over the past two years. According to the latest data released by the Central Bank of Iran, headline inflation came in at 43.1% y-o-y in August 2013, mainly driven by food and beverage price inflation, which reached 50.8% y-o-y that month (accounting for 28.6% of the consumer price basket). Despite the paucity of data coming out of the country, it is clear that the actual rate of inflation in 2012 increased at a stronger pace than estimated by the central bank. We believe food price inflation is unlikely to ease given the renewed international sanctions against Iran and the collapse in the value of the rial. The Central Bank of Iran undertook a de facto devaluation of the rial in the official market on July 6 2013, which will also very likely result in an uptick in food inflation over the coming months.
Iranian wheat imports are usually handled by the private sector, but the state has decided to step in to aid purchasing. The government's goal is to secure stocks and limit food price inflation in order to avoid public unrest. The Government Trading Corporation of Iran (GTC), which procures, stores and distributes basic stables including grains, flour and sugar, is stepping up activity and is able to import food despite financial sanctions. The GTC is contacting traders directly for offers, bypassing the usual method of official tenders. The government has managed to partially get around payment constraints by using currencies other than dollars and euros as alternative trade finance and by using barter deals involving gold or oil.
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