The split of revenues from the gas industry in the Margarita-Huacaya field is source to a new interdepartmental conflict, between Tarija and Chuquisaca. The Government of Tarija claims that they did not receive US$ 400 million from the proceeds of royalties and the Direct Tax on Hydrocarbons (IDH) because YPFB did not take into account the interdepartmental limits.
The Bolivian Central Bank’s international reserves are down to US$8.5 billion, the lowest in 9 years
The head of the BCB, Pablo Ramos announced that international reserves would reach US$9 billion at year-end 2018, up from the current US$8.5 billion reported in mid-November. The Minister for the Economia had previously showed numbers indicating that reserves stood at US$10.3 billion at year-end 2017.
Opic, the US’ government’s development finance institution will invest $800 million to develop projects in Argentina. From this amount. $350 million will be allocated to the construction of a gas pipeline linking Neuquén and Rosario. This will thus allow the northern part of the country to be supplied by the production coming from Vaca Muerte, thereby replacing Bolivian gas.
The Bolivian government expects to reach a gross domestic product (GDP) of $US40 billion in 2018, higher than 2017 when the GDB was $US37.8 billion. Economic minister, Mario Guillen stated that the GDP should be $US50 billion by 2025.
President Evo Morales stated that the Bolivian economy does not depend on gas exports. He added that the engine of the economy is the internal demand. Morales attended the presentation of the book “12 years of economic stability in Bolivia”, edited by the Economic ministry. Although the president is optimists, economic experts warned that Bolivia still depends on hydrocarbons, the economy needs to diversify, and the fiscal deficit needs to be tackled. Economists José Gabriel Espinoza and Germán Molina said that the fiscal deficit in 2018 would be around 8% or more due to the high level of state indebtedness.
The milk industry aims to treble production to 1.5 billion litres per year. Because of this the government and the private sector are collaborating to export powder milk to Mexico.
The chestnut sector in Bolivia is suffering a crisis due to a reduction in prices and a decrease in production. Moreover, the state initiatives are not helping the small producers. According to the Farmer Unions in the Madre de Dios region, in Beni, the creation of the state-owned Empresa Boliviana de Almendras (EBA) did not help small producers, as the company is paying worse than private distributors. Eslimer Tirina, conflict secretary of the farmer unions at Madre de Dios, said that prices went down to Bs.120 per 24 kilos of chestnuts from Bs.300, and production decreased by at least 30 per cent.
A total of 22 retailers that will show 60 models and sugar mills that produce bio-ethanol will attend the 4th car-fair in Santa Cruz. Bio-ethanol began to be commercialised las 1 November for the first time in Bolivia.
The Bolivian government has invested Bs.50 million in Mallku Khota mine since its reversion to the state in 2013. However, the Mining Minister, Cesar Navarro, noted that the project needs an injection of $US620 million to allow the exploitation of 15,000 to 40,000 tonnes of minerals per day. He added that the government consider a joint venture for the project.
The Bolivian political opposition is convinced that the delay in the presentation of the national budget reflects the financial difficulties of the Morales administration. According to Unidad Nacional (UN) senator, Oscar Ortiz, the delay not only goes against constitutional provisions but it reflects the difficulties of the government after Argentina announced its intention to reduce the volume of gas shipments from Bolivia.