Textile and jewellery exports fall by up to 67% and food exports rise

Bolivian textile apparel fell 68% in value and 67% in volume over the same period in 2019. Jewellers also experienced falls of up to 50%. Quinoa exports improved from an amount of 43.3 million dollars in the first half of 2019 to 45.2 million dollars this year. The sugar sector exported 52.4 million kilograms between January and June this year, a figure higher than the 38.9 million kilograms of 2019. External sales of sunflower and its derivatives reached 75 million kilograms by July 2020, more than the 43.6 million kilograms of 2019.

YPFB latest updates

In July 2020, Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) signed an agreement with Peru's Petroperú for the sales of up to 2,600b/d of HS diesel and 650b/d of 84 octane gasoline until the end of the year. Volumes may increase under the agreement. In March 2020, Petrobras and YPFB signed an amendment to their natural gas supply contract, through which YPFB's supply obligation to Petrobras was to 14-20.00mcm/d, allowing to trade the surplus volume of YPFB's contracts with private producers. The agreement is valid through 2026. Petrobras pursues its divestment programme, which includes the sale of company's 51% stake in the TBG pipeline, connecting Bolivia and Brazil. Additionally, the Brazilian NOC is likely to sell its producing assets located in Bolivia over the next five years.

Some companies are willing to invest in Bolivia despite the risks

In May 2016, the government proposed an amendment to Law 767 to extend production contracts of oil and gas corporations willing to commit a minimum to $350mn to exploratory drilling or at least $500mn for exploration and production. The amendment is rolling back one of the major tenets of the sector's 2006 partial nationalisation. In 2012, YPFB awarded exploration concessions to Petrobras (nearly 100,000-hectare area in the department of Santa Cruz) and BG Group, 453,000 hectares in Chuquisaca and Tarija. However, five regions put out to tender by the Bolivian government, with licences for Madre de Dios, La Guardia and Alegria going un-awarded in the international round (YPFB Chaco later picked them up). Some companies are willing to invest in the country's below-ground potential despite the risks, although investment is likely to remain well below the country's potential.

The country’s economy shows a slight reactivation achieving exports for $3.7 bn

Between January and July, product imports reached $3.8 million, while exports reached $3.7 million, which would translate into reactivation of the economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The manufacturing industry went from exporting $88 million in April to $245 million in July. The mining sector exported $7 million in April but improved in July with $94 million.

BoA manages to generate $4 mn in July

The Bolivian airline BoA in July managed to generate $4 million. The figure represents 13% of the $25 million it made monthly before the Covid-19 pandemic. In May, BoA requested a US$ 52 million loan from the Government to pay salaries, rent, renovations and other expenses, which would enable the airline to emerge from the crisis by December 2022, by the State-owned company's Rescue Plan.

Economic activity fell by 5.6% in the accumulated to April, reports the BCB

After almost 20 years, economic activity fell by 5.6% in the accumulated to April 2020. The total paralysis of economic activities affected most sectors, and the gradual resumption of some activities only took place in certain regions, says the Monetary Policy Report (MPR). The sectors that experienced the highest drops are minerals, especially zinc and tin, due to the lower production of the Asian automotive and construction industries. In the case of the construction sector, it will have a significant fall due to smaller public and private investment. The industry fell by 6.5%. On the other hand, the agricultural sector presented an accumulated growth rate of 5.35% as of April, supported by livestock and non-industrial agrarian production.

In bonds alone, the government will spend more than $1 bn on the pandemic

With the imminent approval of a new bond - given that the Legislative Assembly recently approved a line of credit to finance it - the transitional government will have spent more than $1 bn on this type of benefit. Three bonds created during the health emergency, totalling $502.8 million. With the new benefit, approved by the Legislative Assembly, an additional $550 million will be spent.

Chamber of Industry estimates that 120,000 jobs are at risk

The National Chamber of Industry noted that at least 120,000 jobs are at risk due to the constant social conflicts and the coronavirus pandemic. It is not possible to quantify the number of companies that went bankrupt due to the restrictions caused by the epidemic but said unemployment rose to 9.6% according to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE).