(Persia Digest) - Steve Hanke, an economics professor at Johns Hopkins University, believes that the annual inflation rate in Iran is currently at 151 percent. Meanwhile, the Statistical Center of Iran announced the inflation rate at 8.7% for the 12-month period until July, and the Central Bank of Iran reported the inflation rate to be at 10.2% for the same period. There is a great difference between the inflation rate announced by the Iranian authorities and that of Hanke's.

Dr. Mohammad Gholi Yousefi, professor of economics at Allameh Tabataba'i University, said in a conversation with Persia Digest: “Hanke states the facts much better, but it must be noted that the economic performance of a country cannot be assessed and cited based on the inflation index; because the inflation rate is an average of hundreds of heterogeneous goods. Averages never indicate the facts. And what year is the base year is also an important criterion.”

“However, I think Hanke's statistics are more accurate, because most of the goods in Iran are imported from abroad and are therefore influenced by the exchange rate. The exchange rate even affects non-commercial goods such as taxi fares. Therefore, the exchange rate index is more accurate to assess the inflation rate," he added.

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However, Dr. Albert Beghzian believes that in order to know if Hanke's statistics are more accurate or the Iranian official statistics, we should wait until the end of the year. The professor of economics at the University of Tehran said in a conversation with Persia Digest: “Hanke's approach to calculate the inflation rate in Iran is based on the regression model. It means that, with the statistical model, the relation between the inflation rate and exchange rate changes has been calculated. In fact it uses prediction models based on historical data."

“But the method of Central Bank and the Statistical Center of Iran to calculate the inflation rate is based on basket of goods, which is not reasonable, considering the increase in price of goods such as vehicles in the market. Therefore, it seems that even if the calculation of the inflation rate by the Iranian authorities is not wrong, it is very optimistic," he said.

"If the difference between the government’s exchange rate (4200 tomans) and the market’s exchange rate (9000 tomans) remains unchanged, then by the end of the year, we should see an increase of above 50% in inflation rate," he added

However, Dr. Mehdi Pazouki, a professor of economics at Allameh Tabataba'i University, has questioned Steve Hanke's statistics and considers his method to calculate the inflation rate unscientific. “No intelligent economist considers the inflation rate in Iran at 150%, as the main needs of Iranian households have not increased in recent months. So, I think this talk is more of a psychological warfare carried out by the enemies of Iran,” he told Persia Digest.

“Of course, I also believe that the inflation rate in Iran is now a two-digit number, but Hanke's method for calculating the inflation rate is completely wrong, and in no accredited university, the inflation rate is calculated on the basis of changes in the value of the national currency with the international currency,” he added.

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