Iran’s stock mar­ket picks up ground ahead of key White House announcement

Tehran Times - - ECONOMY -

On the eve of a cru­cial de­ci­sion by Pres­i­dent Trump re­gard­ing the Iran nu­clear agree­ment, the Ira­nian stock mar­ket is show­ing signs of strength.

De­spite drop­ping one point four per­cent in a week, the Tehran Stock Ex­change is up two per­cent in a month, four and a half per­cent in three months and seven point three per­cent in six months.

“The threat of de­cer­ti­fi­ca­tion does have a huge psy­cho­log­i­cal impact,” said Ramin Rabii, CEO of Turquoise Part­ners. As head of Iran’s lead­ing in­vest­ment firm ca­ter­ing to for­eign in­vestors Rabii ad­mits “risk is still a ma­jor con­cern.”

Over the last five months, vol­ume from for­eign in­vestors rose 67 per­cent – but it’s un­clear ex­actly where that vol­ume came from. The Is­lamic Repub­lic has been court­ing busi­ness and in­vestors from Europe and Asia since the land­mark 2015 nu­clear agree­ment went into ef­fect with mixed re­sults.

Cor­po­rate in­vest­ment vs. in­di­vid­ual in­vest­ment

Ira­nian in­vestors are op­ti­mistic about cor­po­rate in­vest­ment com­ing into the coun­try. There has been a no­tice­able jump in busi­ness from the United King­dom, Europe, Turkey, Rus­sia, South Korea and China. Rabii’s Turquoise Part­ners has been ad­vis­ing clients on how to nav­i­gate the com­plex Ira­nian mar­ket. Most of that in­ter­est has been in Iran’s con­sumer, in­fra­struc­ture and en­ergy sec­tors.

How­ever when it comes to in­di­vid­ual in­vest­ment in stocks listed on the Tehran Stock Ex­change in­ter­est re­mains tepid. Rabii says “there’s been no game changer.”

So in­stead of wait­ing for in­vestors to come to Tehran, Rabii and his firm are work­ing to ex­port Ira­nian com­pa­nies. The firm is be­hind a ve­hi­cle called Indigo which listed on Lon­don’s NEX ex­change ear­lier this year. Indigo in­vests in three Ira­nian com­pa­nies giv­ing in­vestors abroad the chance to in­vest in Iran’s bur­geon­ing con­sumer sec­tor.

While Turquoise may add com­pa­nies later, for now Indigo con­sists of three firms. Shey­poor is an Ira­nian on­line search and shop­ping web­site. Car­vanro, a ride shar­ing ser­vice and Ira­nian Fast Mov­ing Con­sumer Goods, the on­line sec­tion of one of Iran’s big­gest con­ve­nience store chains.

Rabii is in­ter­ested in ex­pand­ing Indigo’s reach, call­ing this a test but lament­ing the dif­fi­cul­ties of get­ting for­eign ex­changes to list Ira­nian com­pa­nies.

De­spite the de­sire of many Ira­ni­ans to ad­vance the econ­omy, the Ira­nian stock mar­ket is still closely tied to petro­chem­i­cals, min­ing and met­als. The Tehran Stock Ex­change owes a large part of its solid per­for­mance this year to the ris­ing price of global com­modi­ties. In ad­di­tion the cur­rency mar­ket has also been fa­vor­able to Iran, mak­ing Ira­nian goods less ex­pen­sive and in­vest­ment more af­ford­able for Asian and Euro­pean firms.

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