Iran Commodity Trade Analysis – Exports & Imports Revealed

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iran map
Source: WikiMedia Commons

Economy of Iran – Overview

The country is currently ranked as the 60th largest export economy in the world and it has a negative trade balance of $12.2 billion after deducting annual imports of $43.9 billion from its export total of $31.8 billion.

Iran has experienced a fall in the value of its exports at an annualized rate of 23.8% over the last five years, declining from $141 billion to $31.8 billion during that period of time.

GDP is $393.4 billion and that equates to a GDP per capita of $5750K and a growth rate of 12.9% per year.

Iran’s Top 5 Commodity Exports

CommodityAmount (Annually)
Crude petroleum $18.3 billion
Peat $695 million
Iron Ore $583 million
Hot-Rolled Iron $466 million
Copper Ore
$269 million

Iran’s Other Notable Exports

  1. Ethylene Polymers – $2.4 billion
  2. Acrylic Alcohols – $1.27 billion
  3. Nitrogenous Fertilizers – $614 million
  4. Cyclic Hydrocarbons – $480 million
  5. Raw Aluminium – $144 million

Top export destinations for Iran are China ($14.5 billion), India ($5.66 billion), Japan ($2.89 billion), South Korea ($2.11 billion) and Turkey ($1.3 billion).

Iran’s Top 5 Commodity Imports

CommodityAmount (Annually)
Corn $936 million
Flat-Rolled Steel $861 million
Rice $782 million
$685 million
Soybeans $602 million

Iran’s Other Notable Imports

  1. Cars – $1.47 billion
  2. Packaged Medicaments – $652 million
  3. Gold – $512 million
  4. Medical Instruments – $443 million
  5. Frozen Bovine Meat – $402 million

More Information on Iran’s Imports/Exports

Crude Petroleum

Iran’s most significant export is crude petroleum and it represents 58% of the country’s annual shipments.

Annual crude petroleum shipments total $678 billion and is the world’s number two export. Iran is the seventh largest exporting country with a 4.3% market share.

Political unrest and economic sanctions are a strong influential factor when it comes to Iran’s export performance and production numbers are expected to increase as sanctions are lifted.


The global export market for peat is worth $1.2 billion per year and Iran is responsible for 57% of the total exports.

Peat production peaked in Iran in 2004 at 8,000 metric tons but is now nearer 5,000 metric tons on an annual basis.

Iron Ore

Annual global exports of iron ore are $71.8 billion and Iran is the eighth largest exporter with a 1.2% market share.

The value of worldwide iron ore exports has fallen by 45.4% in the last five years and only one country (Malaysia) has managed to increase its export numbers, although, Iran is not one of the countries that has seen declines of over 50% in that period.

Hot-Rolled Iron

The export of hot-rolled iron accounts for 1.5% of Iran’s total annual exports – that is the same percentage market share the country has of a global export market worth $30.8 billion each year.

Iranian exports to Europe have increased to over one million tonnes as a result of some sanctions being lifted after Iran agreed to curb its nuclear programme, making it the third largest supplier in the region after China and India.

Copper Ore

The global copper ore export market is worth $44.2 billion each year and Iran has a 0.5% share of that market, which is led by Chile (28%) and Peru (19%).

Although Iran exports $466 million of hot-rolled iron each year it imports $575 million of the same product.

A Few Interesting Facts About Iran

  • Almost half of Iran has an arid desert climate, receiving less than four inches of rain each year.
  • There is only one river in Iran that can be navigated by boat.
  • About 70% of Iran’s population is under the age of thirty.
  • Iran has one of the only condom factories located in the Middle East.

All figures based on OEC/IMF 2016 calculations and projections unless otherwise stated.

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