The latest economic statistics from the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) show that the budget deficit in the first half of the Iranian year (to 21 September) came in at IR 372 trillion (roughly $4.54bn at the average free market rate for the period [$1=IR82,000] and $8.86bn at the official rate of $1=IR42,000).

This shortfall is more than twice the projected deficit of IR164.5 trillion for that period. Indeed, it has already exceeded the projected full year deficit of IR322 trillion. Iran posted a budget deficit of $8.2bn in 2017-18 (IR 270 trillion; MEES, 20 July). To plug the 1H deficit the government issued bonds worth IR419.3 trillion, some 30% more than envisaged in the 1H budget. (CONTINUED - 463 WORDS)