The Association of Private Banks in Bolivia (Asoban) released a report which showed that growth levels had slowed down for both loans and deposits. The total loan book reached ca. US$22 billion, while total deposits stood at US$ 24.9 billion. Of note, 60% of new loans YTD were given to the productive sector and social housing.
During the presentation of the book “12 years of Economic Stability Bolivia,” held yesterday at the Udabol, the Deputy Minister of Budget and Fiscal Accounting, Jaime Durán, reported that this year’s investment was $ us 6,300 million of which 40% ( $ 2,520 million) was directed to the three hydrocarbon sectors, electricity and the lithium industry to produce batteries for electric vehicles.
An ANF investigation discovered that Chinese and Colombian companies exploit gold illegally in the Amazon, in the northern department of La Paz and its confluence with the Beni. To do this they partnered with local cooperatives that gave them their extensive land concessions or grids of 25 hectares in exchange for 20% or 30% of what they will obtain from the exploitation.
The split of revenues from the gas industry in the Margarita-Huacaya field is source to a new interdepartmental conflict, between Tarija and Chuquisaca. The Government of Tarija claims that they did not receive US$ 400 million from the proceeds of royalties and the Direct Tax on Hydrocarbons (IDH) because YPFB did not take into account the interdepartmental limits.
The Bolivian Central Bank’s international reserves are down to US$8.5 billion, the lowest in 9 years
The head of the BCB, Pablo Ramos announced that international reserves would reach US$9 billion at year-end 2018, up from the current US$8.5 billion reported in mid-November. The Minister for the Economia had previously showed numbers indicating that reserves stood at US$10.3 billion at year-end 2017.
Opic, the US’ government’s development finance institution will invest $800 million to develop projects in Argentina. From this amount. $350 million will be allocated to the construction of a gas pipeline linking Neuquén and Rosario. This will thus allow the northern part of the country to be supplied by the production coming from Vaca Muerte, thereby replacing Bolivian gas.
The Bolivian government expects to reach a gross domestic product (GDP) of $US40 billion in 2018, higher than 2017 when the GDB was $US37.8 billion. Economic minister, Mario Guillen stated that the GDP should be $US50 billion by 2025.
President Evo Morales stated that the Bolivian economy does not depend on gas exports. He added that the engine of the economy is the internal demand. Morales attended the presentation of the book “12 years of economic stability in Bolivia”, edited by the Economic ministry. Although the president is optimists, economic experts warned that Bolivia still depends on hydrocarbons, the economy needs to diversify, and the fiscal deficit needs to be tackled. Economists José Gabriel Espinoza and Germán Molina said that the fiscal deficit in 2018 would be around 8% or more due to the high level of state indebtedness.
The milk industry aims to treble production to 1.5 billion litres per year. Because of this the government and the private sector are collaborating to export powder milk to Mexico.
The chestnut sector in Bolivia is suffering a crisis due to a reduction in prices and a decrease in production. Moreover, the state initiatives are not helping the small producers. According to the Farmer Unions in the Madre de Dios region, in Beni, the creation of the state-owned Empresa Boliviana de Almendras (EBA) did not help small producers, as the company is paying worse than private distributors. Eslimer Tirina, conflict secretary of the farmer unions at Madre de Dios, said that prices went down to Bs.120 per 24 kilos of chestnuts from Bs.300, and production decreased by at least 30 per cent.