Iran foreign assets plunge $10 billion
Tehran, December 24, 2009
Iran's foreign assets stood at nearly $78 billion by the end of August, down by about $10 billion from a year earlier, according to central bank figures published by an Iranian newspaper on Thursday.
English-language Tehran Times did not give any reason behind the decline in foreign assets and there was no immediate comment from the central bank.
Like other major oil producers, Iran was hit by a rapid fall in oil prices last year from a peak of around $147 a barrel in mid-2008. The prices have recovered sharply this year, but still trade at roughly half that record level.
Iran is under US and UN sanctions over its disputed nuclear programme, which Tehran says is for peaceful electricity generation but which the West suspects is aimed at developing bombs.
In September, Iranian media said Iran had replaced the US dollar with the euro in calculating the value of its Oil Stabilisation Fund (OSF), which forms part of the Islamic Republic's foreign exchange reserves.
The size of the OSF and the overall foreign exchange reserves are not regularly revealed to the public.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in December 2008 that the OSF was worth the equivalent of over $23 billion, and state television reported at the time that the reserves exceeded $80 billion.-Reuters