Iran well placed for international re-emergence, says Moody’s

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Iran has significant economic growth potential, and structural reforms have helped strengthen its fiscal foundation, Moody’s Investors Service has said in a report.

“Sanctions relief will grant Iran access to an estimated $150 billion in frozen foreign assets. We project the resulting implementation of investment plans, as well as a recovery in oil production, to contribute to higher GDP growth of 5 percent in 2016-17”, said Atsi Sheth, an Associate Managing Director at Moody’s.

Iran’s $417 billion economy, the second largest in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia, is more diversified than other regional oil exporters.

Nevertheless, Moody’s expects the removal of oil-related sanctions to result in an investment inflow, which will help revive the country’s ageing oil infrastructure. According to Iran’s Finance Minister, the country will need $90 billion annually in external financing to meet its 8 percent economic growth target.

“International sanctions meant that Iran had to adapt to the reality of lower oil revenues and implement structural reforms much earlier than other oil-exporters. Most other oil-dependent sovereigns are only just beginning to consider structural fiscal reform,” Sheth added.

Iran’s capital and financial accounts remain resilient to external shocks. Iran’s exposure to the capital flow volatility, which many emerging market economies are undergoing as a result of the US Federal interest rate hike, is negligible.

However, Iran’s key credit driver remains political, in particular whether it will continue to meet its obligations under the recent agreement, and whether other countries will continue to agree that it has done so, Moody’s said.

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