Bolivia’s forestry sector closed with a positive trade balance of $ 2.36 million in 2019, as it exported $55.54 million and imported US$53,18 million in timber products, reported the Bolivian Forestry Chamber (CFB).
Bolivia’s Bank association (Asoban) wants to review the regulated portfolio quotas, especially in the productive and social housing loans. According to Asoban, last year productive and social housing loans represented 62% of the portfolio.
Drought and flooding have compromised soybean production in Santa Cruz, in eastern Bolivia. Floods in the region have left at least 1,000 hectares of soybeans under water, while the recent drought has reduced the yield potential of about 400,000 hectares, resulting in a loss of 500,000 tons of soybeans or a loss of about $140 million.
The president of the state-run YPFB, Herland Soliz, announced that the company will begin exploration for unconventional hydrocarbons in the Miraflores area of the department of Chuquisaca. He added that there is a great possibility of finding a reservoir with a potential higher than 400 TCF.
Beer was the main alcoholic beverage imported in 2019 with $11.6 million, according to a report by the Bolivian Institute of Foreign Trade (IBCE) with data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE). Beer imports were followed by rum (US$8 million) and whiskey (US$4.5 million).
About 114,028 companies are engaged in commercial activity, employing 790,000 people, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE). According to official data, the sector has grown by 4.68% in 2019.
Lithium prices in the international market fell from $16,500 MT in 2018 to $10,500 MT in 2019, due to the oversupply. Despite the drop, new lithium projects in the region are developing and so is the technology for its exploitation. In Mexico, a 100,000 hectare project is being developed in Sonora, and a fund created by Bill Gates invested in Lilac Solutions, to develop sustainable methods for lithium extraction.
State owned YPFB and other operators in Bolivia plan to invest $452 million in exploration. The sector also plans to invest this year $221 million for exploitation. The investment will allow the operation of 12 exploratory wells.
The number of international tourists in Bolivia in 2019 grew by 5% compared to 2018, according to the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE). In 2018, 2.12 million foreign visitors arrived in the country, while in 2019, 2.23 million visited Bolivia.
Farmers in at least 46 municipalities reported to the Instituto Nacional de Seguro Agrario (INSA) more than 13,000 hectares of crops damaged by climatic effects such as hail, frost and flooding. For the 2019-2020 agricultural season, INSA registered 119 municipalities and more than 226,000 hectares of crops covered by the insurance. The state institution covers up to 1,000 bolivianos ($144.8) per hectare lost.