Bolivia and Paraguay aim to invest $1 billion to boost trade through the Paraguay – Parana Waterway. During a ceremony to create a Bi-national Commerce Chamber, the Paraguayan Ambassador in Bolivia, Terumi Matsuo de Claverol, that there are high expectations among the private and public sector to increase the development of both countries. The president of the Bolivian Chamber of Commerce, Rolando Kempf, said that the collaboration between Paraguay and Bolivia will help to balance the trade between the two countries.
Bolivia and China signed an agreement to commercialise Bolivian meat in the Asia country. President Morales announced that Bolivia’s Foreign Minister, Diego Pary, went to China to sign the agreement. He added that Pary will also sign an agreement with Chinese President of Customs to facilitate the shipments of Bolivian meat to China.
Highways projects, agriculture expansion, cattle industry, dams and hydroelectric projects are increasingly threatened the Amazonian forest in Bolivia. Since 2016 deforestation in Bolivia reached 300.000 hectares. According to ERBOL radio, between 2005 and 2010 60% of Bolivia’s deforestation was caused by cattle activities. The meat export projects to China and Vietnam will increase the impact. The production of biofuel will also impact on Bolivian Forests, according to former Bolivian Ambassador to the UN, Pablo Solon, the objective of producing 380 million litres of ethanol by 2025 will imply an expansion of sugar plantations from 150.000 to 305.000 hectares. This means that the expansion of the agricultural border will double the annual deforestation in the country.
Bolivia’s state electricity company (ENDE) obtained a license to operate in Argentina and will commercialise 500.000 volts of electricity in this country. ENDE expects a monthly income of $2 million. The shipment of electric power will go through a 110-kilometre cable that runs from Yaguacua in Bolivia to Tartagal in Argentina.
Bolivia will export to Europe more than 11 million litres of anhydrous alcohol for $7 million. Anhydrous alcohol is used in various industries such as special liquors, biofuels, perfumery and medicine. According to the Development Minister, Nelida Sifuentes, the product has a 99% purity, has a high added value in the international markets and does not suffer the price oscillations of raw materials. She said that the first shipments will begin next week.
Bolivia’s international reserves recovered in the last week to reach $8.4 billion, according to the Economy Ministry. At the beginning of April, the international reserves were $7.9 billion. The Economy Ministry explained that behave of the international reserves depend on different variables such as trade balance or the net capital flow. The government expects a $1.2 billion reduction of the international reserves for 2019 due to the “heavy investments” that will take place in the country.
The Financial System Authority (ASFI) said that the credit portfolio of the financial system in Bolivia registered a healthy growth and that financial arrears represent 2% of credits, the lowest level in the region. According to ASFI, Colombia has the highest level of financial arrears with 4.4% followed by Ecuador with 3.5%, Peru (3.4%), Argentina and Brazil both with 3.1%, Paraguay (2.5%), Uruguay (2.4%), Chile and Bolivia both with 2%.
Oil prices increased to its highest level in six months after the US Government announced the end of the exemptions that allowed eight countries to buy oil from Iran. In New York, the light sweet crude (WTI) barrel reached $65.7 while in London the Brent barrel reached $74.04. The price of the WTI barrel is a reference for Bolivia where the government drafted the General Budget (PGE) for 2019 with revenues based on a price of $50.25 per barrel.
Bolivia and Argentina aimed to strengthen their ties in the gas and electricity sectors. In an official visit to Argentina, president Evo Morales and his counterpart Mauricio Macri signed various agreements to increase investments on the hydrocarbons and electricity sectors as well as increase the use of Paraguay-Parana waterway to allow Bolivian exports through the Argentinian port of Rosario. Both countries also agreed to strengthen their scientific cooperation to develop biofuels.
Bolivia’s external debt is within reasonable margins, said the Interamerican Development Bank (IADB), one of the country’s main creditors. The IDB finances public investment projects, mainly in the areas of infrastructure and job creation. More than 70% of the financing portfolio goes to infrastructure projects: roads, electric sector, hospitals, water supply and sanitation.