As the Iranian year 1395 (2016-17) draws to an end on 20 March, latest official statistics indicate that the government may be succeeding in bringing down its hefty budget deficit. But despite its efforts, a deficit in the range of $10bn is still on the cards.

Latest statistics from the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) show that Iran posted a deficit of IR262.5 trillion ($8.76bn at the 2016-17 budget exchange rate of $1=IR29,970) for the first 10 months of the current year, ie to 20 January. Pro rata, this implies a full year deficit of $10.5bn, a slight improvement from the full year deficit of $12bn based on projections for the first nine months of the Iranian year (MEES, 24 February). (CONTINUED - 745 WORDS)