Iran expects hard currency revenues from its trade of petrochemicals to reach record levels this calendar year as industry sources insist the sector has played a key role in Iran’s efforts to stand up against American pressure on direct crude sales.
Ahmad Mahdavi, who represents a syndicate of Iranian petrochemical manufacturers, said on Wednesday that petrochemical shipments from Iran are expected to reach $14 billion in value terms at the end of the year to late March.
That comes as figures by the Iranian customs office published on Tuesday showed that petrochemical exports had accounted for $14.7 billion or 42% of the total non-oil exports from Iran in the nine months to December 21.
However Mahdavi said that petchem exporters had returned some $9.2 billion from their proceeds to a government-run exchange system where Iranian importers can access foreign currency at a price lower than the unofficial market.
He said that hard currency revenues generated by the petrochemical sector in Iran had risen by over 75% in the March-December period.
Growing sales of petrochemicals have been a major element in Iran’s sanctions-busting toolbox as the country has successfully managed to resist the American sanctions imposed on its exports of crude in mid-2018.
Iranian petrochemical plants have expanded considerably in recent years as they have both increased their output while diversifying the range of products to obtain a larger share of the international markets.
Mahdavi said that Iran’s petrochemical sector has generated an average of $11 billion in annual export revenues and around $5.5 billion in products supplied to the domestic manufacturers in the past three years.