In the last 11 months, the Net International Reserves (NIR) fell from $6.47 billion recorded as of December 31, 2019, to $5.15 billion as of November 2020, according to the latest official report of the Central Bank of Bolivia (BCB). This fall is 20.3%, a lower figure than that predicted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
According to data from the Banco de Desarrollo Productivo (BDP), up to the end of September 2020, its first-floor productive loan portfolio was Bs 2.36 billion ($338.4 mn), of which 69% went to the agricultural sector, for a value of $233.4 million.
Bolivian foreign sales totalled $5.44 billion, 27% less than the same period in 2019. Imports totalled $5.6 billion, 31% less than the same period last year. These values result in a negative trade balance of $168 million.
The Minister of Economy and Public Finance, Marcelo Montenegro, on Tuesday, appointed Liliana Karina Serrudo Miranda as President of the National Customs. The authority has a degree in law and a master's degree in government management and public administration. She worked in the National Tax Service of the district of Tarija, was a summary lawyer of the National Tax Service, National Tax Service Chuquisaca, among other positions.
The urea and ammonia plant in Bulo Bulo (Cochabamba) will remain shut down for another six months and is expected to lose $364 million. The plant has been shut down since November 2019, recording a daily loss of $700,000. The president of the Chamber of Hydrocarbons of Cochabamba said that an expenditure of $350,000 is estimated for the diagnosis of the plant and more than $1 million for its reactivation, which can take up to six months.
The regional government of Beni received more than Bs.20 million ($2.89 million) for the recovery of the department after the impact of Covid-19. Of this amount, 50 percent will go to strengthening the health system, 25 percent to food security, and 25 percent to reviving local economies. In this regard, a project to develop fish farming and lizard meat production in 10 local communities stands out.
The Productive Development Bank will become the first bank to issue thematic bonds, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This first bond issue will be aimed at generating resources to finance sustainable housing projects. Thematic bonds are debt instruments that focus on investments with social and environmental impact. Among the categories sought to be financed are renewable energy projects, clean transport and adaptation to climate change.
Bolivia's mining, manufacturing and natural gas exports reported over $5.346 billion as of October. This represents, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), a 27.2% drop from a similar period in 2019, when exports reached $7.342 billion.
With the institutional normalization reached by Bolivia, after the elections in which the candidate of the Movement for Socialism (MAS), Luis Arce, triumphed, the Argentine government is interested in rushing the agenda of full incorporation of the neighboring country to Mercosur. In the Palacio San Martín it is thought that 2021 could be the year in which the regional bloc could receive the new partner.
Unemployment caused by the economic slowdown before the pandemic and the impact of the health crisis is not the only problem facing the Bolivian economy, but also underemployment which, in the third quarter, shot up to 16.6% of the economically active population (EAP). In the case of women, it reaches 20% and in the case of men 14%. The EAP rises 3.6 million people in the country so that more than 597,000 people are currently underemployed.