Natural gas, gold and zinc accounted for 66% of Bolivia’s exports in 2019; between the three added sales worth $5.8 billion of the total traded, according to the Bolivian Institute of Foreign Trade (IBCE), based on data from the National Statistical Institute (INE). This year, the country expects to improve domestic foreign trade with the export liberation of agricultural products and their by-products.
The State General Budget (PGE) 2020 projects a public investment of $5.2 billion; of this amount 38.8% will go to productive projects, 30.9% for infrastructure and 26.6% for the social sector, thus prioritizing public investment with economic impact.
In 2017 Bolivian Lithium Sites (YLB) awarded German ACI Systems a contract for the exploitation of Bolivian lithium from the Salar de Uyuni in Potosí and created the joint venture YLB (51%) – ACISA (49%). The German company offered to fund for an industrial complex consisting of three plants: one of lithium cathode materials, another for battery production and a lithium hydroxide factory totalling $1,8 bn. The Bolivian state would receive 68% of the three plants annually, a total of $1.5 bn and ACI Systems would receive $717 million. On December 7, 2018, the Bolivian government issued Supreme Decree 3738 that formed the joint venture but abrogated it on November 2, 2019. ACI Systems maintained that it wants to resolve the conflict.
The Program projects a growth rate of 3.5% and inflation of 3.4%. Its objectives are to maintain macroeconomic stability, to boost the domestic market, to encourage investment and to support the development of productive activities. The programme envisages a downward trajectory of the deficit until 2022, maintaining an appropriate balance between fiscal sustainability, economic growth and the preservation of social protection mechanisms.
The estimated demand for diesel in Bolivia in 2020 will be approximately 2,1 billion litres. YPFB launched a bid to import cheaper and best quality fuels, aligned to international atmospheric emission standards EURO IV. The Government will publish the outcome of the bid at the beginning of March.
Bolivia closed past management with annualized inflation of 1.47%, the lowest rate of the last decade, underpinned by a negative record in December of 1.54% compared to November. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded a negative change of 0.03% in January compared to December 2019. Prices fell, mainly from the food and non-alcoholic beverages division, closed 2019 with annual inflation of 1.47%
YPFB increased the reference price for the purchase of diesel oil in its bid: ‘Supply liquid hydrocarbons by ships West 2020’, from $15.3 to $34 per cubic meter (m3). The proposal establishes the reduction of the volume of purchase, placing it at 237,427 m3; despite this decline, the total cost will increase by $4.4 million that YPFB will have to pay for the product until the end of the year.
Imports of $1 billion subsidized liquid fuel (petrol and diesel) are unsustainable for the state. The Ministry of Hydrocarbons reported that it would take the following measures: 1) Import oil for further refining in Bolivia, as refineries have an idle production capacity of between 50% and 60%. 2) Strengthen the production of biofuels obtained from the processing of cane and sorgo. The Government expects a cost reduction of between 30% and 40%
The Hydrocarbons Ministry and YPFB are working on an audit of Bulo Bulo’s Ammonia and Urea Plant, which will last between 60 and 90 days. Construction demanded more than $950 million. The objective of the factory was to produce 2,100 metric tons of fertilizer; however, to date, it operated at 8% of its capacity. Since January, the factory stopped the production, due to excess stock and reengineering is required as a matter of urgency. Among the alternatives is his transfer to Santa Cruz, the estimated cost of it is $160 million. The government decided to investigate the use of the urea produced as a precursor substance for the production of cocaine.
The following projects are currently implementing: Forest Preservation Program, $10.9 million donations. Okinawa Colony Road Improvement, $38.6 million – donation; Preventive Disaster Measures in the Fundamental Road Network, $15.8 million – grant; Construction Laguna Colorada Geothermal Plant: $637.4 million – loan. Delivery of medical equipment for third-tier hospitals: $4.54 million – donation; Japanese private investment in Bolivia: Minera San Cristobal, by Sumitomo Corporation $1.8 billion. Bolivia is the largest exporter of zinc and the second-largest exporter of lead for Japan.