Iran’s budget deficit is running out of control with the figure for the first nine months of the current Iranian year (started 21 March) nearly twice the figure projected by Iran’s Central Bank. The nine-month deficit was IR451 trillion, $3.7bn at the current market rate of $1=IR123,000, but a massive $12.9bn at the official budget rate of $1=IR35,000. In contrast, the CBI projection for the period was just IR244 trillion.

The deficit is likely to widen further in the last three months of the year given the adverse effects of reinstated US sanctions, especially with regard to hydrocarbon exports (MEES, 15 February). To finance the deficit the government sold IR653.7 trillion worth of local bonds, 37% more than projected in the original budget. (CONTINUED - 377 WORDS)