The latest foreign trade report from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) reflects that manufacturing exports increased by 15.8% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to a similar period in 2019. The products of greatest export are metallic gold, which went from $330 million to $438 in 2020; sugar, which went from $4.7 million to $16.4; and meat from $4.1 million to $11 million.
According to the latest weekly statistics report from the Central Bank of Bolivia (BCB), Net International Reserves (NIR) fell from $7.95 billion to $6.09 billion between March 2019 and March 2020, a reduction of 23%. On April 24, 2020, NIR was at $6.6 billion. The fall is related to a decrease in revenue from lower volume and lower price gas exports; and the increase with the fall in fuel imports, which contributed to the rise in NIR. Also, an increase in health spending due to the COVID-19 could lead to a fiscal deficit of 8% by 2020. The domestic debt of the Central Bank of Bolivia (BCB) reached $583 million in March.
The Employment Plan, starting in June, aims to create 600,000 direct and indirect jobs and to reactivate the Bolivian economy, which is affected by the coronavirus. The positions will be from manufacturing to the construction of public structures in three areas: health, neighbourhoods and the rural sector.
In the first quarter of 2020, imports from China fell by 18.5%. Among the products that stopped their entry into the country are textiles, wood and leather, among others. The fall is associated with the coronavirus pandemic and could be temporary and not definitive, so it would not benefit the domestic industry because it has a competitive disadvantage by the exchange rate of the dollar. On the other hand, demand has turned to food and health-related products.
US crude oil futures fell more than 5% in today's early trading. The price of the Brent oil barrel, a reference in Europe, fell this morning by 2.27% and the American WTI dropped by 7.3%, affected by the possibility of the United States imposing tariffs on Chinese products again. At 10:30 am, Brent crude oil for July delivery was trading at $25.84, while WTI for June delivery was trading at $18.34.