Reuters: The falling oil price is an "alarm bell" for Iran, the world's fourth-largest crude producer, a senior central bank official said in comments published on Sunday.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – The falling oil price is an "alarm bell" for Iran, the world's fourth-largest crude producer, a senior central bank official said in comments published on Sunday.
Deputy Central Bank governor Hossein Ghazavi, echoing the comments of other Iranian officials, also said the financial crisis sweeping the world would only have a limited impact on Iran's economy, business daily Donya-ye Eqtesad reported.
"Falling oil prices have a considerable risk and these days the falling price of this strategic product is like an alarm bell that is ringing," the newspaper quoted Ghazavi saying after oil prices fell more than 10 percent on Friday.
Oil touched 13-month lows on Friday in a global flight from risk amid concerns of a worldwide recession and further signs of slumping energy demand.
On Friday, U.S. crude plunged $8.89 to settle at $77.70 a barrel, the lowest levels since Sept. 10, 2007, and down 17 percent from last Friday's settlement.
An oil price of $70 per barrel would create problems for the government in reaching the oil income it had predicted, the daily quoted Ghazavi saying.
But he also suggested Iran had sufficient currency reserves for now: "The country's foreign exchange reserves are enough for its import needs of more than a year," Qazavi said.
The International Monetary Fund had warned in a report in August that Iran's swelling current account surplus could swing into deficit in the medium-term if oil went to $75.
Iranian officials have said the country earned $70 billion from oil exports in the 2007-08 year.
Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari was quoted as saying by another Iranian daily, Poul, that Iran would ask for an output cut at an OPEC emergency meeting on Nov. 18 in Vienna.