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.
A total of 22 retailers that will show 60 models and sugar mills that produce bio-ethanol will attend the 4th car-fair in Santa Cruz. Bio-ethanol began to be commercialised las 1 November for the first time in Bolivia.
The Bolivian government has invested Bs.50 million in Mallku Khota mine since its reversion to the state in 2013. However, the Mining Minister, Cesar Navarro, noted that the project needs an injection of $US620 million to allow the exploitation of 15,000 to 40,000 tonnes of minerals per day. He added that the government consider a joint venture for the project.
The Bolivian political opposition is convinced that the delay in the presentation of the national budget reflects the financial difficulties of the Morales administration. According to Unidad Nacional (UN) senator, Oscar Ortiz, the delay not only goes against constitutional provisions but it reflects the difficulties of the government after Argentina announced its intention to reduce the volume of gas shipments from Bolivia.
San Buenaventura Sugarmill (EASBA) could invest $US4 million in the production of bio-ethanol, according to its manager, Ramiro Lizondo. The investment would be destined to the construction a dehydration plant with a capability of at least 200,000 litres per day. Enough to allow the company to compete in the biofuels market in Bolivia.
During the first quarter of 2018, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Bolivia grew by 71%, according to the Bolivia Institute of International Trade (IBCE). FDI reached $US257 million during the first three months of 2018, pushed by the hydrocarbons sector ($US109.3 million) and the manufacturing industry ($US92.8 million)
Bolivia is among the fastest growing economies in Latin America, according to various international organisations. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) increased Bolivia’s growth projections from 4 to 4.3% and the World Bank from 3.9 to 4.5%. These organisations place Bolivia in first or second place in regional growth. However, international experts such as CAF president Enrique Garcia, the country needs significant structural adjustments to diversify the economy that is highly dependent on hydrocarbons and minerals.