Iran foreign investment jumps

21 June 2016

Smaller banks beginning to do business with Iran

Iran issued licenses for $2.5bn of foreign direct investment (FDI) between 20 May and 20 June, according to Seyed Hossein Salimi, a board member of the Iranian National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce.

Based on this, FDI could reach $8bn this year, Salimi told the local Mehr News.

This compares to $2.1bn of FDI in 2014, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Iran had hoped that the lifting of sanctions on its nuclear activities, in January 2016, would result in massive foreign investment. This has been slow to materialise, mainly due to the caution of global banks on remaining US primary and other sanctions on Iran.

However, around 200 foreign banks have now established correspondent relationships with Iranian banks, the Central Bank of Iran told Reuters.

These are mainly in Europe, and include Germany-based Europaeisch-Iranische Handelsbank (EIH) and Italy’s Mediobanca and Banca Popolare di Sondrio. This will allow trade finance to support international trading with Iran.

Bank Muscat has been the most active Middle Eastern bank. It is planning to open a representative office in Iran.

Iran is also mulling a financial centre on Qeshm Island to attract banks to do business in Iran, an official told Bloomberg.

Large banks with important business in US dollars are still thought to be refusing Iranian business.

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