Moody’s kept Bolivia’s grade on Ba3. The rating agency highlighted the growth and International Reserves of Bolivia, which mitigate risks. William Foster, of the Investors Service of the Rating Agency, explained that one of the challenges for the country is to overcome its high dependence on hydrocarbon exports. Moody’s added that a weak institutional framework is another hurdle. External vulnerability risk is moderate, with International Reserves at about US$ 6.9 billion, representing 21% of GDP and external debt payments of only 20% to 30% of reserves.
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According to the analyst Guillermo Torres Orías, the fine of Petrobras SA to YPFB due to the non-fulfilment in the delivery of gas volumes guaranteed in the GSA throughout 2018 is a consequence of a bad policy applied to the sector and worse long-term planning. The decision making in the hydrocarbons activity must have been of economic efficiency within the limits imposed by the technology and the energy security of the country. The State is responsible for ensuring the continuity of supply and long-term energy security, therefore, it must have built the systems to fulfil this responsibility. In the case of the original contract with Argentina, the addendums that reduce the amounts of gas guaranteed before paying fines for non-compliance confirm the fragility of the delivery schedule in relation to the country’s incremental production capacity. A delivery schedule such as the one negotiated would not have been acceptable, if a correct long-term planning was made in the production of the fields, considering the growing demands of natural gas in the domestic market and the amounts committed in the contract that was already in force with Brazil.
Organisations from France, Russia, China, Spain, South Korea, Japan and India expressed their interest in building a prospecting satellite for Bolivia. Within this context, the head of the Bolivian Space Agency (ABE) affirmed that India would be a “good” partner to develop technological entrepreneurship. He added that President Evo Morales has a “keen” interest for Bolivia to having a satellite to prospect natural resources.
Mining operators in Bolivia have to pay their 2019 and 2020 patent, or they risk to lose their concessions. The license is an annual legal requirement through which mining operators pay in advance to carry out their activities.
Civic organisations declare themselves in a state of emergency due to government authorization to intervene in national parks. The measure aims to revert government plans to develop oil and infrastructure projects on different protected areas in the country.
Bolivia’s President Evo Morales will travel to the United Arab Emirates to attend the 9th Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) 2019 on April 8. The AIM is a global event that gathered international investors, experts, academics and delegates from more than 140 countries. Its objective is to provide updated information on Foreign Direct Investment as well as strategies and knowledge to attract external capital. President Morales will seek to consolidate agreements with businessmen to attract investments to the country. He will then travel to Ankara, Turkey, to hold talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The head of the International Monetary Fund has warned that the majority of countries around the world can expect slower growth in 2019 as the global economy loses momentum. Christine Lagarde said rising trade tensions, concerns over Brexit and tougher financial conditions as central banks raised interest rates had “increasingly unsettled” the world economy over recent months.
Last week Petrobras imposed a fine on Bolivia because during some months of last year the Bolivian state oil company (YPFB) sent only 22.6 million cubic meters (mcm) of gas when the demand was 26 mcm. The Gas Supply Agreement (GSA) signed with Brazil in 1996 – that expires this year- establishes a minimum purchase volume of 24 mcm of gas and maximum delivery of 30.08 mcm. If 1.5 mcm of fuel gas were included, a total of 31.5 mcm should be sent.
“A multi-point agreement has been signed, including the exploitation of Bolivian lithium, due to India’s interest in buying lithium carbonate, as well as a possible partnership to build a lithium-battery plant in India, ” announced Bolivia’s state lithium company (YLB) CEO, Juan Carlos Montenegro. The idea of the lithium-battery plant is still in a macro plan that should be worked on in the coming months.
An increase in the world demand of lithium batteries is foreseen for the coming years, mainly in Asia, announced Bolivia’s state lithium company (YLB) director, Marco Kucharski. Only China plans to manufacture between 200 and 500 million electric vehicles, a trend that would benefit Bolivia who has one of the world’s largest lithium reserves. He also emphasized that the electronics and chemical sectors will be important consumers of the mineral, taking into account that planes today use a lithium-titanium alloy to perform operations.