Saturday, May 28, 2016


Iran

Tehran Stock Market Hits One-Year High After Sanctions Lifted

Stock-market employees work at Tehran's Stock Exchange on January 17.
Stock-market employees work at Tehran's Stock Exchange on January 17.
By RFE/RL

The Tehran Stock Exchange has surged to a one-year high since Iran's landmark nuclear deal with world powers went into effect last month.

The Tehran TEDPIX index soared to 73,725 on February 2, boosted by an outpouring of foreign investment of $16.6 million in the 10 days since sanctions were lifted, Bloomberg reported.

“It hasn’t been very long since implementation, but its impact in this short period of time has been very positive,” Hassan Ghalibaf Asl, the exchange's chief executive, told Bloomberg. “It’s also psychological. It has generated optimism about the future because the picture is clearer for investors.”

Iran had hoped for an economic bonanza after the lifting of sanctions, which has allowed the Islamic republic to sell crude oil more freely and access $100 billion in assets frozen for years in overseas banks.

The exchange said daily trading has more than tripled from $40 million to $133 million since implementation of the deal, which lifted international sanctions in exchange for Iran restricting its nuclear activities.

"Since the implementation of the nuclear deal last month, the stock index has experienced 15 percent growth in terms of share turnover alone," exchange spokesman Hamid Rouhbakhsh told the Associated Press.

"The total trade value is not remarkable yet, but it is a very good indication that foreign investors are now more enthusiastic about our market than before," he added.

Tehran stockbroker Tahereh Mollaie told AP that after the nuclear deal, "everyone was a little bit doubtful, but now we can say that trust is returning to the market."

European investors have been particularly keen to resume business with Iran and invest there after years of sanctions. Iranian President Hassan Rohani toured the continent last week, signing lucrative business deals in France and Italy. The Iranian government controls about 80 percent of the country’s economy.

Rohani on February 2 invited U.S. businesses to also invest in Iran and expressed hope Iran would eventually become a major auto manufacturer and exporter of manufactured goods, lessening the country's reliance on oil exports.

"If U.S. companies are willing to come and invest in Iran, to bring manufacturing to Iran, we have no problem with that," he said on Dubai state television. 

"In terms of cars, we must be world class...The recent contracts signed in France involve investment in Iran and manufacturing cars inside the country, and cars will be exported," he said.

While several major multinational firms have rushed to establish a position in Iran as it reopens for business, others have held back due to perceived business risks. U.S. companies in particular have been slow to invest due to separate U.S. sanctions that remain in place.

With reporting by AP, Bloomberg, Reuters, and U.S. News & World Report

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