Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”) has downgraded the Government of Bolivia’s local and foreign currency issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings to B1 from Ba3, and changed the outlook to negative, concluding the review for downgrade that was initiated on 5 December 2019. The decision to downgrade Bolivia’s ratings reflects the material erosion of the country’s fiscal and foreign exchange reserve buffers in recent years.
The fall in oil prices will bring a saving of 30% in the subsidy for the import of hydrocarbons, $350 million that would stop being paid throughout the year if prices continue to drop, said the Economy Minister, José Luis Parada.
Contracts between the State and Venezuelan businessman Carlos Gill worth more $1.11 billion will be audited. The audit will cover a radar acquisition contract awarded to Thales Air System ($227 million); a contract for the installation of 22 satellite re-gasification stations ($137 million); and a contract for the provision of services to Mi Teleférico, for more than $718.39 million. The three contracts were directly awarded.
The lack of demand in Asia, especially China, is hitting mineral prices. The price of zinc, Bolivia’s main export mineral dropped from $1.2 to $0.87 per ounce. In 2019, the exploitation of zinc, silver, lead and gold generated 81% of the mining royalties for Bolivia. Bs1,025 million ($147.97 mn) were collected, of which 44% came from silver and zinc exploitation.
The fall of oil prices will affect more than 370 public entities in Bolivia. Bolivia will feel the loss of resources between June and July this year. State-owned YPFB calculated that royalties and income from oil rent would fall by 42%.