As of December 31, 2019, the portfolio of pension funds (AFP) increased by 11.56% compared to December 2018 as a result of investments in the financial system. AFP Prevision forecast yield rose from 1.59% to 4.87% and AFP Futuro yield increased from 1.73% to 4.71%. The value of the funds in both firms adds $19.1 billion. The number of Individual Capitalization Fund affiliates in 2019 increased by 3.74% to 2.3 million beneficiaries.
Bolivia’s trade deficit reached $700 million as of September 2019, reported the National Chamber of Industries (CNI). Based on data of the National Institute of Statistics (INE), the CNI said that Bolivia’s trade with the world has been negative the last five years: $920 million in 2015, $1.3 billion in 2016, $949 million in 2017, $935 million in 2018 and $700 million by September last year.
The Bulo Bulo Ammonia and Urea Plant registered a $34.4 million loss between 2018 and 2019. The former Hydrocarbons Superintendent, Hugo de la Fuente, said that the building of the plant cost in $110million more than its original budget and was paralysed 50% of the working days.
The State and its executing units at the national, departmental and municipal levels owe the construction sector more than $143.7 million. The financial, labour and tax costs generated by unpaid spreadsheets are absorbed by construction companies, leaving them, in many cases, at risk of bankruptcy, resulting in the loss of employment sources. In the period 2018-2019, the construction sector reduced from 650 thousand to 350 thousand jobs.
Bolivia will be able to export electricity only three months a year to Argentina, in winter times, and it will have to compete with suppliers from Brazil, Uruguay and Chile, said the Strategic Development Manager of the National Electricity Company (ENDE), Jose Padilla Rojas. The project to export Electricity to the north of Argentina has received an an investment of $25 million and will exceed $33 million when the construction of the transmission line is finished.
The level of Bolivia’s Net International Reserves (RIN) continues to decline and reaches six months of imports. Data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in 2018 reveal the following for the region: Brazil is the country with the most RIN, with reserves enough for 13.6 months of imports. Follow Peru (11.1), Uruguay (10.3), Bolivia (7.8), Colombia (7.1), Argentina (7.1), Paraguay (6), Chile (4.5), Ecuador (0.9) and Venezuela, which has no information available. Bolivia’s RIN continued to fall last year to $ 6,468 million (about six months of imports), according to a report by the Central Bank of Bolivia (BCB).
Banks increased interest rates for Fixed Term Deposits (DPFs) to 5.8% and savings banks up to 5%. This service is in effect for a limited time to access these benefits. Attractive rates respond to the economic growth of recent years in Bolivia, which means that more people opt for DPFs as natural and legal people manage more significant amounts of cash resources.
The approval of the credit of more than $40.8 million will allow the financing of public investment projects in the Autonomous Region of Gran Chaco, postponed for more than 20 years. Funding is subject to the Public Investment Project Financing Program Operational Regulations, which provide for the financing of local counterparties and public investment projects with physical advancement.
Once Bolivia completes the Flegt Plan accession process with the European Union (EU), forestry exports expected to increase to more than $20 million, currently exporting timber to the EU worth $12.06 million. The Flegt (Law Enforcement, Governance and Forestry Trade) is a document that confirms that a shipment of wood or products derived from it has been produced legally, following the laws of the exporting country. Only countries that join the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (AVA) with the EU can issue Flegt licenses.
After 12 years of the export ban, in which the country ceased to receive more than $1 billion, the national government enacted the supreme decree authorizing the free export of agricultural products and promoting production; however, President Añez warned that the rule should not mean an increase in prices in the domestic market. The decree exempts the export of products that have self-sufficiency, such as wheat. Soybean Export focuses on four countries: Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Chile. Bolivia seeks to enter China’s Market with soy; currently, the phytosanitary opening is in process. It estimates that this will generate up to $500 million in a year.