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Iran Press TV

Iran's economy shrank by 0.6% in quarter to March due to COVID-19: CBI

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 15 September 2020 6:28 PM

The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) says COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus pandemic, was to blame for a 0.6-percent contraction in the country's gross domestic product (GDP) without oil in the fiscal year quarter ending June 20.

A CBI statement published on Tuesday projected, however, that the Iranian economy without oil would return to the positive growth zone in the second quarter of the current calendar year as the country keeps easing restrictions meant to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The statement said that Iranian manufacturing and mining sector grew by 2.5 percent, lower than expansion seen in the agriculture sector at 3.7 percent, but a much better performance than the services sector which shrank by 1.6 percent over the three-month period.

"The considerable growth in the manufacturing and mining sector in the mentioned period meant that the impact of the spread of the coronavirus on the GDP without oil was much more limited despite forecasts," read the statement.

Iran has seen its direct oil sales, once a main driving force behind the economy, reduced because of a series of unilateral American sanctions enacted in November 2018 and toughened in May 2019.

That has caused the government to reduce the share of oil revenues in its annual budgets while the CBI has continued to update figures on GDP without oil.

Iran's GDP without oil kept rising by 0.4%, 0.5% and 3.8% over the three quarters of the previous calendar year ending December 21, respectively. The spread of COVID-19, first reported in Iran on February 19, caused the growth to slow to 0.1 percent in the quarter ending March 19, said the CBI.

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