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Iran Seen Importing Soybeans as Embargo Effects Subside

Iran has lifted imports of vegetable oils, soybeans and soybean meal since the start of June, a sign that the effects of a financial embargo on the country’s trade have subsided, industry researcher Oil World said.

Soybean imports may rise to about 180,000 metric tons in the June-August period from nothing in the previous four months and 151,000 tons a year earlier, the Hamburg-based researcher wrote in an e-mailed report.

Iranian importers had been largely reliant on India for soymeal imports in recent months, and shipments from South America have resumed recently, according to Oil World. Soybean-oil imports had come to a near standstill, leading to a “severe depletion” of stocks in Iran, it said.

“Exports of some key commodities to Iran have recovered pronouncedly in recent months, indicating that the effects of the financial embargo on Iranian imports have subsided,” Oil World wrote. “Iranian crushers suffered a severe blow with soybean imports plunging to a multiyear low.”

Iran’s imports of soybeans had fallen to 184,000 tons in the year through June, from 762,000 tons in 2010-11 and 1.02 million tons in 2009-10, according to Oil World.

Combined imports of soybean oil and sunflower-seed oil are estimated at 330,000 to 340,000 tons in June and July, compared with 127,000 tons in the same period a year earlier. Argentina delivered about 110,000 tons of soybean oil in the past two months, Brazil supplied 89,000 tons, and Ukraine shipped most of the sunflower-seed oil, Oil World said.

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