Iran
The Bazaar Report 30-Nov-2018
Top 3 Company Headlines 
 Khodro (IKCO:TSE) & SAIPA (SIPA:TSE) expand operations (Financial Tribune 19-Nov)
Bank Maskan loans $2.6bn in 15 months (Financial Tribune 18-Nov
China’s NPC replaces France’s Total in South Pars gas project (Financial Tribune 26-Nov
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines  
Germany & France likely to host Euro trade mechanism (Reuters 28-Nov
Waivers granted to 8 oil buyers, incl India, S.Korea, China (Bloomberg 23-Nov
Y-O-Y inflation at 34.9% (Financial Tribune 25-Nov
The Bazaar’s View
Joint responsibility for the SPV aims to minimise the risk of US punishment. This comes after Austria and Luxembourg refused to host. There are fears that the SPV will not cover oil sales but only humanitarian and food products. For now, the waivers granted may be enough to satisfy Iran in spite of the fact all oil exports will be at reduced rates. There is much uncertainty amidst domestic struggles, demonstrated by soaring inflation.
Politicians are keeping the hope alive but businesses are sceptical and the outlook is poor.
Fun Fact: Four Iranian short films are competing at Lobo Fest, an International Film Festival, currently underway in Brazil (Tehran Times 30-Nov)


The Bazaar Report 31-Oct-2018
Top 3 Company Headlines  
Sinopec (Xetra: SAK) cancel Nov oil order (Reuters 24-Oct)
$326m loan approved for Kermanshah Petrochemical (Financial Tribune 24-Oct
Hyundai (HYMTF:OTC) cancels $521m petrochem deal (Arab News 29-Oct
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines  
EU mechanism to be ready by 05-Nov sanctions (Reuters 24-Oct)
Oil buyers hopeful of US Waivers (Bloomberg 19-Oct
Inflation rate at 15.9% (Tehran Times 28-Oct
The Bazaar’s View  
The mechanism will be ready but not operational until early 2019. One problem is the EU is struggling to find a host state that would act as an intermediary and risk US punishment. India, Japan & South Korea are confident of winning US consent for some imports but they would likely be a lower amount with a pledge to continue reducing. Much of Iran’s future prospects rest on the upcoming month. 
Fun Fact: Football team Persepolis reach Asian Champions League final after a  2-1 aggregate win over Qatar’s Al Saad (Payvand 24-Oct)


The Bazaar Report 30-Sep-2018
Top 3 Company Headlines  
SafaNicu & Siemens (SIE:GR) launch largest wind farm (Iran-bn 07-Sep)    
Volvo (VOLVB:SS) halts truck assembly (Reuters 24-Sep
Energy trader Vitol to halt business (Reuters 25-Sep)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Oil exports crippling, down 35% from April (Bloomberg 18-Sep)
Rial hits record low, now at 170,000/dollar (Reuters 26-Sep
EU, China & Russia back plan for continued trade (Bloomberg 25-Sep)
The Bazaar’s View 
Tehran continues to face the impact of US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, with the second phase of sanctions coming into effect on 05-Nov. The fall in oil exports has prompted the rial to plummet to 75% of its value since January. Hope lies with the EU’s ability to implement a proposed mechanism that would sidestep US sanctions and allow international trade to continue unimpeded.
Fun Fact: Saeid Mollaei wins Gold in men's -81kg weight division at World Judo championships (Tasnim Sep-23)


The Bazaar Report 31-Oct-2017
Top 3 Company Headlines 
Azimut acquires 20% of Mofid Entekhab (Iran-bn 11-Oct)
Norwegian Saga energy signs $2.5bn Solar deal (Iran-bn 22-Oct)  
International Hospitals Group £1.61bn in cancer centres (Tehran Times 23-Oct)   
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines 
Trump de-certifies nuclear deal (Sky 14-Oct)   
Bitcoin infrastructure being prepared (Altcoin Today 30-Oct)
34% Y-O-Y growth in Tehran property market (Tehran Times 30-Oct
The Bazaar’s View 
The nuclear deal will be forwarded to the US Congress who have 60 days to make a decision. Other JPCOA members reiterated support for the deal and emphasised its bilateral nature. European business interests are at stake and lobbying efforts now focus on the US Congress.The uncertainty is bad for Iran.
The govt is interested in cryptocurrencies as a way to bypass trade sanctions. US hostility adds to this determination.
Fun Fact: Iran reaches U17 football World Cup quarter-finals - knocked out by Spain (Goal 22-Oct)


The Bazaar Report 30-Sep-2017 
Top 3 Company Headlines 
Quercus to build £440m 600MW solar farm (Telegraph 20-Sep
Mercedes (DAI:XETRA) Iran Khodro (IKCO:TSE) deal (Reuters 12-Sep
Bank Sepah to open 3 overseas branches (Financial Tribune 13-Sep)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Nuclear agreement faces uncertain future (BBC 22-Sep)   
China agrees $35 bn loan; $10bn credit line (Daily Star 17-Sep
Tourist arrivals fall 5.6% to 4.9m in 2016 (Tehran Times 11-Sep)  
The Bazaar’s View  
Trump condemned the nuclear deal at the UN. He will decide whether to certify the deal in October. If he does not it means a possible return to sanctions - the EU may move to block them. Many European firms are jumping at the chance to tap into Iran’s burgeoning markets.
Fun Fact: Iran’s national futsal team have won their fifth consecutive title at the Asian Indoor Games after beating Uzbekistan (27-Sep Tehran Times)


The Bazaar Report 31-Aug-2017 
Top 3 Company Headlines  
KPV Solar opens solar park (Iran-bn 26-Aug)  
Renault signs joint venture deal (Reuters 07-Aug)
Bank Refah to boost capital by $2.1bn (Financial Tribune 20-Aug)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Credit lines worth $30bn secured (Tehran Times 29-Aug
H1 Iran-EU trade triples (Financial Tribune 26-Aug)
Nuclear deal boosts Tehran bourse trade (Bloomberg 29-Aug)
The Bazaar’s View  
These are the biggest credit lines since 2015. It includes a $9.4bn contract with S.Korea’s Eximbank. Austrian and Italian banks are among the other creditors. The Bazaar sees this investment as vital for President Rouhani’s major task of reducing unemployment. Exports to the EU are up 227% y-o-y to over $5bn and imports are up 38.5% to $4.94bn. The Bazaar expects further rises in trade and investment from the likes of Renault.  
Fun Fact: Apple Store cuts Iran-made apps over sanctions (Bloomberg 26-Aug)


The Bazaar Report 28-Feb-2015
Top 3 Company Headlines
HOSCO and Saba Energy to invest $1.9bn in PGSEZ (IRNA 09 Feb)
Iran Insurance Co. starts petrochem investment (Financial Tribune 03 Feb)
IPO changes privatization directives (IRNA 21 Feb)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
$4.8bn from NDFI to go to oil industry (Reuters 24 Feb)
IMF recommends 2.5% budget deficit (IMF 09 Feb)
Exports to Iraq up 46% (All Iraq News 18 Feb)
The Bazaar's View
While economists have lobbied for a move away from oil/petrochemicals, the govt shows a lot of motivation to upgrade this industry, as major investment decisions by Iran Insurance Co. and NDFI indicate. Lower oil prices, sanctions and outdated technologies have exhausted Iran's most important source of forex.
Iran is cementing its economic position in Iraq while other investors shun the war-torn country. Iranian dominance has moved beyond food and basic materials, notably cement, and now also includes consumer cars. A near-finished gas pipeline looks set to increase Iraq’s dependence on Tehran.
Fun Fact: University of Massachusetts at Amherst won't block Iranian students from its science programs after all. The school first feared US legal action for transferring nuclear knowledge.

The Bazaar Report 31-Jan-2015
Top 3 Company Headlines
Danish Agro to invest €2bn in Hashtroud (IRNA 25 Jan)
Ericsson in talks with RighTel (Financial Tribune 19 Jan)
CCD Singapore Pte. Ltd enters IME (Financial Tribune 15 Jan)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Govt will not borrow from CB (Shana 05 Jan)
Padide Shandiz Co involved in $34bn fraud (FT 26 Jan)
Iran remains largest ME steel producer (WSA 24 Jan)
The Bazaar's View
2014 was not a good year for the TSE. Its broad index and equity trading fell 21% and 4%. Ongoing privatizations and IPOs have not prevented bad performance. The Bazaar believes the prime reasons are the closed and depressed capital market; the crucial role of the state in this market; and firms’ very low P/E ratios.
Iran looks set to face a deep budget deficit in the year 2015/16, by some estimated to reach $8.7bn. The govt has rejected borrowing from the CB and its forex reserves are large enough to weather a budget squeeze. However, higher prices and subsidy cuts will be priorities, likely eliminating hopes of demand-side growth.
Fun Fact: Iraq beat Iran on penalties in one of the most exciting matches of the Asian Cup. In football, Iraq is Iran’s rival number one; a rivalry originating in the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88).

The Bazaar Report 31-Dec-2014
Top 3 Company Headlines
Iran & Iraq establish Taawon Bank (Trend News 12 Dec)
Israel ordered to pay NIOC (IRNA 13 Dec)
Bergiz Insaat to build Tabriz subway (Customs Today 25 Dec)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
31.5% of next fiscal budget to come from oil revs (FT 7 Dec)
China invests in Iran to pay off debt (Financial Tribune 20 Dec)
Govt to tax several of Leader’s firms (Reuters – 11 Dec)
The Bazaar's View
Bergiz Insaat’s $850mn deal shows that Turkish companies are solidifying their grip on the lucrative Iranian construction market. Preference for Turkey is nothing unexpected for political and practical reasons. Turkish firms have consistently outperformed their Japanese and Chinese rivals in quality and building speed.  
The parliament has moved to tax some of the large and shallow institutions under command of the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guard. This move is coordinated by conservatives which shows how rapidly falling oil revenues have united the political elite in their drive to boost fiscal revenues.
Fun Fact: Iran Helicopter Company looks to start the country's first air taxis. The company expects it will mostly be used for oil and mine exploration, but why not go on a little desert tour with it? 

The Bazaar Report 30-Nov-2014
Top 3 Company Headlines
Renault to buy 20% stake in Pars Khodro (Trend News 16 Nov)
IMIDRO & Outotec sign €9.3M deal (Trend News 23 Nov)
Indonesia & Iran create joint oil trade company (IRNA 15 Nov)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Nuclear deadline extended by 7 months (Al Jazeera 24 Nov)
Iran car production up 72% YOY (Financial Tribune 25 Nov)
German exports to Iran up 32.7% over 8 months (Reuters 04 Nov)
The Bazaar's View
French companies will profit from the resurgence in car sales. The govt has set tough investment and technology transfer requirements but willingness to sell Renault a stake in Pars Khodro should be seen as a sign of openness to foreign investment.    
A nuclear deal looks increasingly far off as ‘big gaps’ are not resolved and the deadline is again postponed. While postponement is better than further isolation for the economy, it prevents foreign investors from making tangible decisions. With the deadlock in mind, the govt will exploit these extra months to deepen its foreign trade relations, notably with its direct neighbors.  
Fun Fact: In response to the Iranian launch of a drone which was reverse-engineered from a captured American original, the US responded “it in no way matches American technology.”

The Bazaar Report 31-Oct-2014
Top 3 Company Headlines
Boeing’s first transaction with IRI since 1979 (Al Jazeera 22 Oct)
Six petrochem plants to be launched (Iran Daily 07 Oct)
Shahid Bahonar port’s non-oil exports double YOY (IRNA 13 Oct)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Brent crude hits four-year low (Reuters 13 Oct)
Steel growth first in the world (Iran Daily 29 Oct)            
Iran & Turkey disagree on transit fees (Financial Tribune 20 Oct)
The Bazaar's View
Petrochemicals have been exempted from sanctions for a year and most of the industry is privatized. Although soaring earlier in the year, share prices have stabilized lately as investors realize Europe will not reclaim its 25% slice of petrochem exports, now stuck at only 5%. Chinese investment has become a main driver for capacity growth, but slumping Chinese and Indian demand point to the need to diversify.
Record-low oil prices are on every government’s mind in the Middle East. While fiscally relying less on oil than its GCC neighbors, Iran’s weak economy requires much higher break-even prices. The Bazaar believes economic growth might be compromised, although the govt’s fiscal prudence might limit surprise damage.
Fun Fact: Golden Eagle Tours has launched a two-week luxury train trip between Budapest and the “Jewels of Persia.” Demand has been huge. Despite starting prices of $14000, seats are fully reserved until 2016.

The Bazaar Report 30-Sep-2014
Top 3 Company Headlines
Pasargard Oil signs major tar export deal (IRNA 20 Sep)
Sofregaz fined for violating contractual obligations (Financial Tribune 18 Sep)
Iran-Russia Bank to be revived (IRNA 21 Sep)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Imports increase 30% YOY (Donya-e Eqtesad 03 Sep)
CB records Q1 growth of 4.6% (BBC Farsi 25 Sep)
EU reject freeze on CB assets (FT 18 Sep)
The Bazaar's View
The stock exchange has been falling for nine months and is unlikely to pick up soon. Businesses are anxious about the nuclear talks, threatened export markets and climbing imports. The latter has happened despite a relative depreciation of the Rial, putting into question the govt’s protectionist policies. A volatile Iraq and diminishing mineral and primary exports to China and India affect many of the country’s most profitable businesses.
The govt lacks a clear wheat policy. While the govt has made self-sufficiency in wheat a top-priority, it has simultaneously been forced to scale back production target as a national water crisis has shown these to be unachievable. The Bazaar believes self-sufficiency should be dropped as a policy. The falling cost of wheat imports from Russia, due to recent sanctions, is a good reason to import more.
Fun Fact: A plane full of US passengers on its way to Dubai was forced to land in Iran. Who would have panicked more, the passengers or the Iranian authorities?

The Bazaar Report 31-Aug-2014
Top 3 Company Headlines
Iran rejects Boeing’s prices (Trend News 14 Aug)
China to invest $10bn in petrochem plants (Iran Daily 26 Aug)
IKCO production increases 160% YOY (ISNA 18 Aug)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
$45bn allocated to fight local drought (IRNA 26 Aug)
FM calls short-term nuclear solution ‘impossible’ (Trend News 15 Aug)
Iran, Pakistan to establish joint banking system (Fars News 19 Aug)
The Bazaar's View
The govt’s price negotiations with Boeing and the increasing possibility of a longer nuclear standoff are likely connected. Foreign companies that entered Iranian markets during the 6+4 month Geneva period might soon profit from their first-mover advantage as later entry is set to become harder.
It’s summer and Iran is once again plagued by acute draught. For the first time the govt seems fully committed to fighting it and is ready to inject large amounts of money in new irrigation technologies, land reform and reconstruction of the environment. The Bazaar expects the govt to take a business-friendly approach to water management.
Fun Fact: Iran’s no-fly zones will be limited to just 5 (the nuclear facilities), down from 261! Passengers flying between Europe and South-Asia will soon be crossing Iranian airspace.

The Bazaar Report 31-Jul-2014
Top 3 Company Headlines
Wan Hai (2615:TT) resumes shipping operations (Fars News 22 Jul)
IKCO to produce new Peugeot and Renault cars (Trend News 26 Jul)
NPC envisions product diversification (Iran Daily 02 Jul)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Iran’s HDI remains unchanged (UN 24 Jul)
Nuclear talks extended (FT 19 Jul)
Turkey eyes new Iran trade routes (Trend News 07 Jul)
The Bazaar's View
Iran and the West extended nuclear negotiations for another 4 months as major differences remain. Businesses will be highly affected by this news, and it has already led to a dip of Iran’s oil exports. Despite this, the govt’s efforts to promote business relations have paid off and various foreign firms are or will soon restart operations. The Bazaar cautions against any premature decisions while talks continue and prospects of more sanctions remain significant.
The outburst of war in Iraq has led to an acute strengthening of ties between Turkey and Iran, as the former wants its Iraq trade routes redirected through Iran. The Bazaar similarly believes that Iran will be reevaluated upward in companies’ ME risk indexes amidst widespread unrest elsewhere.  
Fun Fact: A Tehran cinema chain will make opening screenings free to attract customers and return to pre-Revolution sales figures. The director admits another factor, censoring, might be the stronger cause for decline.

The Bazaar Report 30-Jun-2014
Top 3 Company Headlines
Fokker Services B.V. fined for breaching sanctions (Reuters 05 Jun)
Renault (EPA: RNO) seeks partner to restart production (Tehran Times 20 Jun)
Iran Air in urgent need of 100 passenger jets (Iran Daily 08 Jun)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
UK embassy to reopen (FT 17 Jun)
$1bn state assets privatized in 2 months (Trend News 01 Jun)
Iran and Egypt aim at normalizing ties (IRNA 17 Jun)
The Bazaar's View
Iran’s passenger aircraft fleet is severely outdated due to years of sanctions. The govt predicts it will need 550 new planes by 2025 and looks to Airbus and Boeing as primary partners. Although Boeing secured a limited export license on spare parts, Fokker’s experience shows that sanctions remain strict. Conversely, Russian and Chinese companies will be eager to see sanctions remain intact.
Iran is looking to supply EU with gas as political relations improve and Russia once again behaves like an uneasy partner. With the 2nd largest reserves globally, Iran plans to export 80bcm by 2021. The Bazaar believes that realization of this plan might depend more on geopolitical developments than limiting domestic consumption and boosting investment.
Fun Fact: Despite strong defensive play against Argentina and Nigeria, Iran did not make it to the next round of the World Cup. Anyway, good effort Iran! 

The Bazaar Report 31-May-2014
Top 3 Company Headlines
Russian Railways JSC to connect Iran, Azerbaijan (Trend News 12 May)
First official Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) representative launched (Fars News 28 May)
IKCO (TSE:IKCO1) starts production in Iraq (Iran Daily 25 May)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Saudi Arabia invites Iran for talks (FT 13 May)
240% YOY rise in guided European tourists (ISNA 23 May)
First of four billionaires executed (FT 24 May)
The Bazaar's View
Although only representing 6.3% of the economy, tourism has grown robustly over the past year due to improving international relations and turmoil in the wider ME. Major obstacles remain, including the world’s negative image of Iran and the ideological anti-US/Israel speech, both of which are connected. However, the govt’s push to expand capacity/facilities and ease visa restrictions will support employment and private investment.
This govt is getting more serious about corruption. The intention is good: according to the Transparency International Corruption Index, Iran ranks an abominable 144th out of 177 countries. Unfortunately, Iran is fighting corruption with impromptu arrests and executions, not by creating transparent, reliable institutions, and the rule of law. The Bazaar is pessimistic about tangible medium-term improvements.
Fun Fact: Iran has finally admitted that the US far outproduces Iran in pistachio production. The govt insisted however that US pistachio quality “is in no way comparable to the Iranian pistachio.” The Bazaar concurs.

The Bazaar Report 30-Apr-2014
Top 3 Company Headlines
Thomson Reuters (NYSE:TRI) explores deal with TSE (Reuters 10 Apr)
HP (NYSE:HPQ) awaiting WTO green light to enter Iran (Gulf News 14 Apr)
SAIPA output grows 27% YOY (Donia-e Eqtesad 27 Apr)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Record oil consumption at 100.7M liters/day (Trend News 5 Apr)
TSE surges after subsidy reform (Donia-e Eqtesad 26 Apr)
Iran, India, Afghanistan to sign sea trade pact (Iran Daily 06 Apr)            
The Bazaar's View
The govt’s determinism to up oil prices to the Persian Gulf avg. is positive. Market stability and TSE growth also point this out. However, The Bazaar believes oil’s 43% price increase is too much and, in the short-run, will cause inflation rather than stop smuggling or consumption. The failed registration process for social benefits also signals continued populism & inflation.
The Bazaar is cautiously optimistic about the car industry since the govt extended support to this sector in the form of subsidized USDs. The Geneva Interim cancelled sanctions on Iran’s largest non-oil sector, increasing exports. However, the new subsidies will also result in higher domestic sales, still by far the most important market.
Fun Fact: The Saudi ambassador’s kiss on the forehead of ex-president Rafsanjani sparked controversy. Some argued it runs counter to cold IR-SA relations & usual SA diplomacy; others referred to Islamic respect for elders.

The Bazaar Report 31-Mar-2014
Top 3 Company Headlines
Norinco (SHZ: 000065) & CITIC (SEHK: 6030) chosen for rail projects (Trends News 18 Mar)
Essar Oil cuts Feb oil imports by 13.8% (Gulf Times 16 Mar)
PIDMCO & HPC sign $526M petrochem deal (Iran Daily 18 Mar)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Iran signs gas deal with Oman (FT 13 Mar)
Oil exports reach 1-year high & non-oil exports grow (ISNA 24 Mar)
Diplomats deny impact of Ukraine Crisis on nuclear talks (Reuters–18 Mar)
The Bazaar's View
Although some companies might cut oil imports to comply with US sanction regulations, the 1-million bpd framework has not proven watertight – hungry Asian importers have for a fourth consecutive month, and increasingly, surpassed this limit.
In end-of-the-year statistics, non-oil sectors, notably metals and petrochemicals, reported strong growth. While domestic inflation and lower market prices mostly depressed export values, robust Chinese demand lifted volumes significantly. Stricter sanctions diminished imports, thus tightening the non-oil current account deficit– leading some to predict, naively, that Iran will soon have a CA surplus.
Fun Fact: Western intelligence looked with deep suspicion at the building of a giant mock aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. Iranian media later claimed that it is just meant to be a film prop.

The Bazaar Report 28-Feb-2014
Top 3 Company Headlines
Renault (EPA:RNO) restarts shipments to Iran (Reuters 29 Jan)
Boeing (NYSE:BA) and General Electric (NYSE:GE) apply for export licenses (ISNA 22 Feb)
Unnamed Japanese hotel chain ready to invest (Iran Daily 23 Feb)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Iran and the West conclude preliminary nuclear talks positively (FT 20 Feb)
TSE stabilizes after month-long slump (Sharq 17 Feb)
Govt sets out conditions for foreign oil companies (Bloomberg 24 Feb)
The Bazaar's View
Although the govt’s focus on building a ‘resistance’ economy may sound disappointing, the Vienna talks were a step forward. The investment climate improved in those sectors taken off the sanctions list, notably car/plane parts and pharmaceuticals. The large French business group visiting Iran expressed similar sentiments.
The TSE stabilized this month in expectation of post-Norooz govt decisions. The TSE inflated too much this year and the IMF has been right to demand reform in an economy wrecked by “large shocks and weak macroeconomic management.” Similarly, short-term improvements in demand and unemployment hinge on the implementation of subsidy reform.
Fun Fact: 3 weeks left to ‘Chaharshanbe Suri’, a millennia-old festival where the point is to jump over fire.