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02 December 2013

Iran sanctions deal: who wins? 

Now that the tense standoff over nuclear development between Iran and the U.S. has eased with the signing of a six-month deal that relaxes restrictions on trade, the next question is who gains the most?

It will not be European consumers of gasoline because most countries still won’t be buying Iranian oil. And trade with Iran will still be constrained by strict sanctions affecting banking. 

But three European business sectors in particular stand to benefit from the accord. 

For a start, French carmakers Peugeot Citroen and Renault could recover substantial sales that were blocked under the sanctions as restrictions on the auto trade have been eased.

Gold trading will also be eased to help Iranians hedge against the declining value of its currency, the rial. 

And the section of the accord allowing Iran to export $1 billion worth of petrochemicals could bring down the price of plastics and other hydrocarbon-based products, aiding manufacturers across the continent. Restrictions on aviation components and insurance for oil cargoes also have been eased.

The initial response to the deal was a drop in oil futures prices, likely to be temporary because Iran is still barred from shipping any more oil.

However, it can maintain current levels of supply to existing oil-trading partners Turkey, China, India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan – all of which had complained that further sanctions affecting oil would damage their economies.