Tehran stock exchange market

Stock Market Turmoil in Iran as Brokers Strike

Monday, 05/27/2024

Trading was brought to a halt in stock exchanges in Isfahan and Tabriz on Monday as brokers initiated a strike against the downturn in Iran’s stock market.

The market has been in a decline, enduring a drop of over 5,600 points at the opening of Monday's trading, with 90 percent of the market bathed in red and over 60 percent of stocks queued for sale.

The recent plunge echoes the crash of July 2020, where Tehran’s stock market plummeted by over 30 percent in a single week, obliterating the savings of countless small investors lured by government assurances of a secure market. Allegations persist that government entities had artificially inflated the market, extracting hefty profits before its collapse.

The memory of the crisis lingers among investors, heightening anxiety with every market fluctuation. Critics of the government point to the early 2020 decision by President Hassan Rouhani's government to offload state assets on the Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE) as an act of market manipulation. Initially, the index surged to 2 million points, buoyed by small investors coaxed by the government amidst the rial's devaluation. However, it recoiled to 1.2 million points, erasing the wealth of the investors.

At the time, hardliner critics within the government accused the Rouhani administration of deliberately attracting public investment to alleviate a budget shortfall through sales of stocks, predominantly in public and quasi-public companies.

Controlled largely by the government and its affiliated conglomerates, which command approximately 80 percent of the economy, the Tehran stock market is just one cog in a machine of state-controlled economic entities. With Iran's economic chiefs often appointed by the government itself, the stock market's operational independence is compromised.

As the rial continues to lose value and inflation hovers near 50 percent, many Iranians are scrambling to convert their savings into more stable assets like hard currencies or gold.

More News