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Tehran Metals Exchange in a Glance

13:46 (Saturday, November 01, 2003)
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The Tehran Metal Exchange was officially inaugurated in Sharif Street of Ferdowsi Avenue on September 16. The inaugural ceremony was attended by a number of executives, experts, directors of metal production companies, governor of the Central Bank of Iran as well as ministers of economy and finance; industries and mines; and commerce.

In this way, the metals bourse was finally opened after almost four years of ups and downs. First, the Bourse Council was permitted to establish a commodity bourse according to Article 95 of the Third Economic Development Plan Law in 2000. Afterwards and according to Budget Law for 2001, Ministry of Industries and Mines was obliged to establish a metals bourse. However, it took three years before the metals bourse became operational to materialize the will of the Bourse Council. Finally, in April 17, the metals bourse was registered as a non-profit, governmental bureau and was officially inaugurated on September 16. Therefore, from now on and for the first time in the country, dealings in three important metals, namely steel, copper and aluminum would be carried out in the metals bourse. Meanwhile, these metals have been excluded from the government's pricing system. During the three-hour inaugural, Minister of Industries and Mines Eshaq Jahangiri who symbolically represented producers and sellers expressed hope that Iran could become a determining factor for setting regional metal prices. "Per capita steel consumption in Iran stands at 140 kg, which is considerable compared to the corresponding 35-kg figure for neighboring countries. This indicates increased demand in neighboring countries and the need for increasing production in Iran. On the other hand, existence of huge iron ore deposits and having 5 percent of global copper reserves has given Iran a unique status for determining price of metals," he said. Minister of Commerce Mohammad Shariatmadari, who represented consumers, emphasized more support for consumers, adding, "What I expect from the market is elimination of monopolies, reducing government's interference, and paving the way for joining the World Trade Organization." Minister of Economy and Finance Tahmasb Mazaheri declared his expectations from the metals bourse as promoting healthy, transparent activity and controlling dealings in metals, saying, "The capital market is a key tool for economic development as well as increased investment and production in the country." It seems that inauguration of metals bourse in addition to creating coordination among three economic ministers has also led to formulating a software and hardware system to ensure future optional transactions because conformity to religious tenets and the method used for carrying out optional transactions had been declared by experts as major problems for opening a metals bourse. Meanwhile, deputy chairman of metals bourse for economic and international affairs, said, "At last, "Future Bonds" for which academicians were waiting 20 years, has become fit for transaction." He opined that inauguration of the metals bourse was to the benefit of governmental factories, adding, "The metals bourse does not aim to disrupt the market or cause problems for traders, but it aims to help governmental factories get rid of government's circulars and approvals for determining prices, pave the way for competition and development of private factories and boost their productivity. Therefore, today is a good day because all metals accepted through the bourse will be excluded from pricing policies of the government. Meanwhile, producers and consumers will be provided with an opportunity to enforce risk management independently and away from any outside interference." The member of Bourse Council stated that structure of the metals bourse was similar to its counterparts in London and Chicago. "Prosperity of metals bourse needs innovation and hard work. We have a long way to go because Iran has never had such a consolidated capital market," he said. He noted that there has been no secondary specialized market in the country before and the Central Bank of Iran has always dominated Iran's capital market. Inauguration of metals bourse as well as regional and agricultural goods bourses will lead the country's capital market toward independence. However, fears about the recent bitter experiences of the stock exchange and crisis of liquidity still hovers over domestic bourses. The ministers who attended the inaugural as well as the governor of the Central Bank of Iran and economic and international relations deputy of the metals bourse all admitted that September 16 was a good day. But it is not clear whether the metals bourse will be cloudy (as happened to the stock exchange) or everything will be rosy. (Eqtesad-e Iran Persian Monthly, Oct. 2003)

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