The Indian Express reported today that Indian exporters shipped more than 1.5 million tons of aromatic Basmati rice to Iran in 2012, making Iran the biggest importer of Indian rice. The Express reports that the rice exporters are the big beneficiaries of an Indian government ban on hard currency payments for the purchase of Iranian crude oil. India instead pays for oil in the local currency, the rupee, deposited in local banks that can then be used by the Iranians to purchase “cleared” goods from India, including the aromatic Basmati rice. (The Indian Express, 18 January)
On 6 February, in the absence of any agreement with the world powers on its nuclear program, Iran might be forced to practice this equivalent of barter trade with other importers of its oil. On that day, new U.S. sanction will prohibit cash payment for the import of Iranian oil.
Photo: Basmati rice