Iran General NewsIran to run out of cash to import gasoline...

Iran to run out of cash to import gasoline in August

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Bloomberg: Iran, which imports more than 40 percent of the gasoline it uses, will run out of funds to import the commodity in early August, forcing the country to either increase its budget for imports or start rationing. By Marc Wolfensberger

June 25 (Bloomberg) — Iran, which imports more than 40 percent of the gasoline it uses, will run out of funds to import the commodity in early August, forcing the country to either increase its budget for imports or start rationing.

More than $1.5 billion of the $2.5 billion budgeted for gasoline imports this year has already been spent, Hojatollah Ghanimifard, National Iranian Oil Co.’s executive director for international affairs, said today to Shana, the Iranian oil- ministry’s press agency. The rest will be spent over the next 1 1/2 months, he predicted.

In 2006, Iran’s parliament had to approve an emergency budget extension of $2.5 billion to bridge the gap. The Islamic republic has tried for more than a year to implement a gasoline-rationing program to curb consumption. Demand is buoyed by subsidies and supply is restricted by waste and scant refining capacity. Service stations in Iran offer the fuel at 1,000 Iranian rials a liter, or about 42 U.S. cents a gallon.

Earlier this month, Iran pushed back a rationing plan until late July to give the government more time to agree on a quota for drivers. An initial plan to limit consumption to as little as three liters a day per car was dropped last September because of fears of popular discontent.

Iran, the second-biggest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, spends about 52 cents for each imported liter of gasoline, Ghanimifard told Shana today. Some 30 million liters a day are imported on average, for a total consumption reaching 72 million liters, he added.

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