Lithium: Government seeks ‘friendly exit’ with German company ACI Systems

The Deputy Minister of Electricity and Alternative Energy, Humberto Leigue, said on Tuesday that a "friendly exit" will be sought to dissolve the partnership formed by the government of the Movement al Socialism (MAS) with the German company ACI Systems, to exploit the lithium of the Salar de Uyuni, in Potosí. It is to ask them that the deposits they made in the formation of the joint venture be recovered by Germany and Bolivia. The joint venture project had a directory in which Bolivia only by name had the majority; in fact, it had a veto from the minority companies that placed the resources.

Peru suspends import of agricultural products from Bolivia

Peru's National Agricultural Health Service (Senasa) announced the suspension of imports of plant products and other animal products as published by El Comercio. The fact is in response to the measure imposed by the Bolivian government, which suspended the importation of Peruvian vegetables, "without technical sustenance". Peru and Bolivia maintain a historic agricultural trade relationship, which during 2019 achieved the import of 896,000 kilos of boneless beef and was allowed to import 10,499 tons of peanuts, 1,614 tons of chia and 617,000 metric tons of soy and its derivatives.

“Strict limits” shall apply to foreign investment in lithium production.

The new executive manager of Bolivian Lithium Sites (YLB) reported that they plan strict limits on foreign investment in the metal extraction and processing. They seek to strengthen the local know-how and work with specialized international advisors. Bolivia produces 400 metric tons of lithium per year in a test plant. They expect to produce about 50,000 tons over the next five years. The agreement signed by the MAS administration for lithium industrialization with Chinese firm Xinjiang TBEA is under analysis. The project for the construction of a lithium plant with a capacity of 15,000 tons per year will remain.

Bolivian meat production and export to China increase

According to data from the Federation of Cattlemen of Santa Cruz (Fegasacruz), in 2019 it was able to export 3533 tons of meat worth $16.1 million. The number of producers increased from 30,000 to 32,000 last year, with 9.7 million animals across the country. The sector generated an economic movement of $us 500 million during 2019 in the domestic market. Domestic consumption is 200,000 tonnes per year, and 40,000 tonnes of surplus remains for export.

Bolivia renegotiates natural gas contract with Argentina

Bolivia opened technical negotiations with Argentina to amend the fourth addendum of the natural gas export contract signed in 2006 in effect until 2026 to avoid fines for non-compliance. An estimated volume between 12 and 14 million cubic meters per day (MMm3/d). Argentina currently pays an annual average of $6.7 per million BTU for the import of natural gas from Bolivia.

Oversupply affects cotton producer economy

The cotton sector expanded the planted area from 1,800 to almost 8,000 hectares in the 2018-2019 agricultural cycle, focused on partially meeting the demand for raw materials of the Textil TSM S.A. The lack of cash conditioned the purchase of the balance of 45,000 quintals produced, representing more than $3 million. The situation has created liquidity problems for the payment of operating expenses and is committed to the planting of cotton 2020.

Urea plant inactivity affects agricultural producers

The urea and ammonia plant installed in Bulo Bulo (Cochabamba) paralyzed for 72 days. It estimates a loss of $30 million in unrealized sales to customers mainly in Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina with 24,750 tonnes unaccommodated. The Bolivian agricultural sector requires between 10,000 and 20,000 tonnes per year, they are now unprovisioned, and the alternative is to import at much higher costs.

Bolivia’s industry sector proposes freezing national minimum wage at $307

The National Chamber of Industries (CNI) proposed the Government to increase the basic salary by 1.47% and to freeze the national minimum wage at Bs.2122 ($307.06). CNI's economist explained that the proposal to freeze the minimum wage is because of the lost of competitiveness in Bolivia's companies, while the increase on the basic salary is be in line with 2019's inflation.