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Foreign investors 'queuing' for Iran

Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - 02:16

European companies including Shell, Eni and Peugeot have been holding talks with Iranian officials in anticipation of sanctions against Tehran being eased after a landmark nuclear deal. As David Pollard reports, the prospects of such a major economy returning to the world system go much further than Iran's oil reserves.

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The prospect of the biggest economy in decades coming back into the global fold has some in the markets rubbing their hands - even before it happens. (SOUNDBITE) (German) CAPITAL MARKETS ANALYST AT BAADER BANK, ROBERT HALVER, SAYING: "Iran should bring its oil onto the market, which means oil prices will tumble more, so we don't face the threat of inflation, we have more spending power, and the Fed maybe has no reason to hike rates. That means a liquidity high, cheap resources, and the global economy, everything's going in favour of shares." Baader Bank's Robert Halver is not the only excited one. It may take until the middle of next year for Iran's oil exports to start rebounding. A complex web of sanctions to be lifted. But bankers say investors are already lining up for when oil revenues start flowing. The outlook is tempting: GDP to rise by five per cent in the year after the nuclear deal, according to one estimate - and by 7 or 8 per cent after that. Meaning tens of billions of dollars of contracts for local and foreign companies. And a boost in trade with the EU alone to over 30 billion euros per annum over three years. Reuters Breakingviews' Edward Hadas. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS' EDWARD HADAS SAYING: ''Most obviously they will spend the money on increasing GDP on increasing exports of oil, increasing imports of medical and industrial goods ... Some people worry they will use it to support terrorism. That seems to me unlikely because one of the goals of the Iranian president and government is to gain respect in the world.'' Which could be a breakthrough in the tense relationships of the region, according to DGAP's Iran expert, Behrooz Abdolvand. (SOUNDBITE) (German) BEHROOZ ABDOLVAND, IRAN EXPERT, DGAP, SAYING: ''Until now, Iran has always been seen as a part of the problem in the Middle East, Now, it will be seen as a part of the solution.'' Except that is by Israel. The Jewish state's prime minister dead set against a deal he says is a ''sure path'' to Iran getting nuclear weapons. And willing to put as much pressure on the US as possible to decelerate - even halt - sanctions lifting. Domestically, there are worries too. An outdated legal system, restrictive labour laws and - after years of sanctions - lack of experience with foreign investors some issues on Iran's list. But even if takes time, another million to million and half barrels of oil coming to the market every day will mean cheaper energy for the global consumer. And with the spectre of austerity still hanging over much of the developed world, it's the customer that counts.

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Foreign investors 'queuing' for Iran

Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - 02:16