In February 2020, Bolivian exports reached US$1.4 billion, 8% more than the value recorded in the same period in 2019, and the volume exported grew by 5%. The cost of foreign sales of non-traditional products registered an increase of 6%, while in volume dropped 4%. The growth of the jewellery, sugar and sunflower sectors stands out. Hydrocarbon and mineral exports increased 9% in value and 6% in volume concerning February 2019.
The World Bank started to provide financial and technical support Bolivia face coronavirus disease, under an emergency component of an active financing ($300 mn), aimed at the strengthening of country’s health system. The support, totaling US$ 20 million, is focused on attending the immediate and short-term priorities of the health system, including technical assistance to counteract the growth of the virus outbreak in the country.
The National Customs Office anticipated that it would collect 30% of the annual revenue expected for 2020, due to the health emergency caused by the coronavirus. Bolivia will feel the effect in the first half of the year.
The Banco Unión, with a state-owned majority, reprogrammed 80,000 microcredits from clients in the small and medium enterprise sector. The Government also reported that, together with the Central Bank of Bolivia (BCB), it is analyzing the possibility of creating a monetary fund to support this sector, as part of the measures to mitigate the effects of the health crisis caused by the coronavirus.
The Government will inject Bs 156 million ($22.4 mn) in one month to the economy of the city of El Alto for the total quarantine stage, through the Family and Family Basket Bonds.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) registered in March a positive percentage variation of 0.12% compared to February and a cumulative difference in three months of 0.02%, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE).
The Chamber of Industry, Commerce and Services of Tarija (Caincotar) proposes to the central government to inject liquidity of $4 billion to avoid the deep economic recession caused by the coronavirus. It is 10% of the GDP, which is $41.17 billion. To do so, they suggest managing the funds before international organizations, such as the CAF, IMF, World Bank, IDB, Fonplata and others; in addition to requesting the cancellation of bilateral and multilateral debts or deferring payment to creditors to incorporate this money into the country’s economy.
The country stopped receiving Bs 34.6 million ($4.97 million) in March due to the zero tariff on imports of inputs and products aimed at combating the advance of the coronavirus. Besides, National Customs will not collect taxes on these goods until December 31, in compliance with Supreme Decree 4192. The Customs Office has carried out 294 dispatches since the decree was issued and activity has increased by 400%, as more importers are engaged in the importation of medical supplies.
In the last four months, about Bs 2.1 billion ($300 million) was not spent, first because of lower fuel imports and then because of optimization in the oil sector. These savings will cover bonds totalling approximately Bs 1.7 billion ($244.25 mn), between the family basket, the family bond, and the payment of electricity, water and gas.
During the first two months of 2020, Bolivia’s imports totalled $1.39 billion, 19% less than in the same period of 2019, and the volume fell by 20%. About 69% of external purchases represent industrial supplies, capital goods and transportation equipment. The fuel and lubricants category recorded the most significant decline, with 52% in value and 49% in volume.