Marcelo Gabino Gonzales Saique appointed on Monday as the new executive president of Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos (YLB). He will have the mission of reactivating the process of industrialization of lithium, which has not taken off for 13 years in the country. Marcelo Gonzales has extensive experience in the area and YLB.
The departmental and municipal autonomous governments administer less than 10% of the state budget and must face the pandemic's resurgence this year with more significant needs and obligations, while the central level left with more than 90% of the resources. This year the country's 337 municipalities will administer 5.7% of the entire budget, while the country's nine departments manage 3%.
After a market study, Quantum Motors, a company from Cochabamba, decided to open a Paraguay branch, where it plans to sell 20 cars and 70 electric motorbikes per month. Quantum will be the first formal company to enter the electric vehicle business in Paraguay. In 2020 in Bolivia it managed to sell 400 motorbikes and 300 electric cars, mainly in Santa Cruz and Cochabamba.
Bolivia's low inflation in 2020, expressed as a cumulative change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 0.67 per cent, reflects the current contraction of the economy and an obstacle to the country's recovery from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Data from the General State Budget (PGE) of 2021 show that current expenditure for public administration grew by 12% concerning the budget in 2020. Between 2006 and 2021, funds for the state apparatus increased almost fivefold.
Little by little, the numbers of foreign trade are recovering in the country. According to the latest report of the Foreign Trade Statistical Bulletin, prepared by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), in November the country registered a trade surplus of $99 million, the highest in 2020. However, total exports from January to November 2020 reached $6.17 billion, showing a decrease of 24.2% compared to 2019.
Net International Reserves (NIR) fell by 18.43% in 2020, reaching the same levels as 13 years ago. The figure comes from the weekly statistical information published by the Central Bank of Bolivia (BCB).
Natural gas exports fell by 28 per cent in 2020 due to the drop in hydrocarbon prices caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. According to data from the Bolivian Institute of Foreign Trade (IBCE), between January and November 2020 the country received $1.86 billion for the export of 8.28 million kilos of hydrocarbons. The value is 29% of the $2.6 billion received in 2019 for the export of 8.35 million kilos. In this context, the export outlook is uncertain for 2021, given the resurgence of the disease.
In December 2020, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded a positive change of 0.22 per cent compared to November, while the cumulative 1-month change was 0.67 per cent. The incremental change was mainly due to higher prices in health and education.
With international soybean prices at over $500 per ton, the Association of Oilseed and Wheat Producers (Anapo), sees favourable prospects for producers and the opportunity to get a fair price for their production, $420 per ton in Santa Cruz. Anapo estimates that the country can generate about $1.2 billion in exports of value-added products such as soybean oil and cake, representing a 50% increase over the value of exports in recent years.