Bolivia’s international reserves are at their lowest levels since 2008, falling from $8.9 billion in December 2018 to $6.7 billion as of 7 November 2019. At the end of 2008, Bolivia’s international reserves reached $7.7 billion. The decline in reserves is the result of the country’s trade deficit, according to economic analyst Rene Martinez from the Jubileo Foundation.
Of 59 operating fields in Bolivia, 41 are in decline, according to data from State-owned YPFB. Between 2006 and 2018, oil revenues reached $37.5 billion, while investment on exploration reached $2.5 billion.
Monthly inflation in November this year was 1.11% compared to October. The 11-month cumulative rate reached 3.06% and cumulative 12-month inflation was 3.41%, according to the National Statistical Institute (INE) report.
The Government is considering returning $449 million (as at end-November) which had been allocated to the hydrocarbon exploration fund, in force since December 2015. The Incentives Act (Ley de Incentivos) will not be overturned, but the Government will assess whether or not the funds were or will be deployed. The funds were initially taken from regions, universities and others.
Bolivia could import crude oil and process it in the country’s refineries to reduce fuel imports, said the Hydrocarbons Minister, Victor Hugo Zamora. In 2018, Bolivia spent $1.251 billion on imported diesel and gasoline and as of October this year, it spent around $1.3billion.
Work on the Carrasco-Cochabamba Pipeline (GCC) was completed and soon operations will return to normal levels which will allow the supply of natural gas to the western cities of Cochabamba, Oruro and La Paz as well as the industrial sector impacted by the lack of supply.
Bolivia will prioritise electricity exports to Argentina, said the Energy Minister, Alvaro Guzman. Bolivia has currently can produce 3,000 megawatts (mw) and the domestic demand reaches around 1,500 mw, leaving the surplus for exportation. Currently there is an export project to Argentina and there is the potential to sell electricity to the Brazilian state of Matto Grosso.
Bolivian oil companies Andina and Chaco report profits of Bs.104 million ($15.1 million) and Bs.72.2 million ($10.5 million), according to data from the Bolivian Stock Exchange (BBV). Both companies are subsidiaries of State-owned YPFB.
Bolivia expects to sign an addendum to the gas contract with Brazil by 31 December, before the current contract ends, said the Hydrocarbon Minister, Luis Zamora. In an interview with the newspaper Página Siete, he said the the current reserves of 8.95TCF will allow the country to keep its business with Brazil. He added that the challenge now is to find new reserves.
Bolivia’s trade deficit reached $748 million, reported the Bolivian Institute of Trade (IBCE). As to October 2019, exports reached $7.3 billion while imports reached $8.1 billion. The main markets for exports were Brazil, Argentina, Japan, India, Colombia and the US. Imports came mainly from China, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, the US, Chile and Japan.