Bolivia's low inflation in 2020, expressed as a cumulative change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 0.67 per cent, reflects the current contraction of the economy and an obstacle to the country's recovery from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Data from the General State Budget (PGE) of 2021 show that current expenditure for public administration grew by 12% concerning the budget in 2020. Between 2006 and 2021, funds for the state apparatus increased almost fivefold.
Little by little, the numbers of foreign trade are recovering in the country. According to the latest report of the Foreign Trade Statistical Bulletin, prepared by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), in November the country registered a trade surplus of $99 million, the highest in 2020. However, total exports from January to November 2020 reached $6.17 billion, showing a decrease of 24.2% compared to 2019.
Net International Reserves (NIR) fell by 18.43% in 2020, reaching the same levels as 13 years ago. The figure comes from the weekly statistical information published by the Central Bank of Bolivia (BCB).
The president of the National Tax Service (SIN), Mario Cazón, reported that more than 1,300 people registered as beneficiaries of the 5% Value Added Tax (VAT) refund in the first days of the registration process. The beneficiaries are self-employed workers, self-employed persons, pensioners, and dependent professionals from the public or private sector with a monthly income equal to or less than Bs 9,000 ($1,307.93).
Natural gas exports fell by 28 per cent in 2020 due to the drop in hydrocarbon prices caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. According to data from the Bolivian Institute of Foreign Trade (IBCE), between January and November 2020 the country received $1.86 billion for the export of 8.28 million kilos of hydrocarbons. The value is 29% of the $2.6 billion received in 2019 for the export of 8.35 million kilos. In this context, the export outlook is uncertain for 2021, given the resurgence of the disease.
In December 2020, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded a positive change of 0.22 per cent compared to November, while the cumulative 1-month change was 0.67 per cent. The incremental change was mainly due to higher prices in health and education.
With international soybean prices at over $500 per ton, the Association of Oilseed and Wheat Producers (Anapo), sees favourable prospects for producers and the opportunity to get a fair price for their production, $420 per ton in Santa Cruz. Anapo estimates that the country can generate about $1.2 billion in exports of value-added products such as soybean oil and cake, representing a 50% increase over the value of exports in recent years.
The government paid the Doppelmayr company a debt of $22.2 million and the Austrian firm withdrew the arbitration case it had filed against the state-owned company Mi Teleférico.
The World Bank expects Bolivia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to grow by 3.9% in 2021, two tenths above average in Latin America and the Caribbean. By 2022, the international financial body projects that Bolivia's GDP will reach 3.5%.