Iran’s Oil Bourse Set to Open Sunday
Iranian Oil minister Gholamhossein Nozari has confirmed to Iranian news outlets that the long awaited oil bourse will begin trading in oil related products on Sunday February 17th. Just what “oil related products” means is not yet clear because few details have been released to the public.
What we do know is that the bourse (oil exchange) will be dealing in strictly rail, the Iranian currency. The guess is right now that the bourse, which is to be located on the gulf island of Kish, will open by trading in “oil products” and within a short amount of time begin dealing in crude. This comes at a time when Iran’s oil output is reaching levels not seen in Iran since 1979.
The fear in the United States in some economic circles is that the opening of this bourse could lead to a further decline of the U.S. dollar. The U.S. dollar is currently the international currency in the trading of crude oil, with all oil exchanges being located in the Western world, but the Iranian oil bourse would seek to change this fact. As long as the U.S. dollar is the only international currency that can be used in purchasing oil the dollar will remain relatively stable because it will be in demand to purchase oil, if for no other reason. Therefore, countries such as Saudi Arabia are forced to accept the dollar for the sale of their crude and countries such as China and India are forced to keep the dollar on hand to purchase oil. Since the dollar has now fallen below the value of the Euro the opening of the Iranian Oil Bourse would remove one of the last remaining incentives for nations to hold onto the United States dollar. Some even go as far as to speculate this looming opening of the oil bourse being a reason for the harsh rhetoric Washington has used in the recent past towards Iran.
All of this however is only speculation at this point. Iran has repeatedly scheduled dates for the opening of an oil exchange only to push the opening back to a later date. The bourse’s success also hinges on whether or not other Persian Gulf nations as well as OPEC members sign on and become involved in the exchange.