The excess of rainfall and the high concentration of magnesium and potassium in brine are two of the challenges for efficient exploitation of lithium in Bolivia, according to the Earth Observatory, an institute dependent on the National Administration of the Space and Aeronautics (NASA). According to the institute, these two factors added costs to the exploitation of lithium and make it less competitive to the lithium produced in Argentina and Chile.
The absence of labour policy and clear rules for private investments are the main reasons stopping the arrival of fresh capital for sectors that demand skilled labour. The Millennium Foundation noted that for example in the mining sector, Bolivia has become less and less competitive. The think tank said that Bolivia is in position 74 (of 83) in the Attracting Investment Index.
The management of alternative ports such as Ilo in Peru and those over the Tamengo channel on the Paraguay-Parana waterway begin to impact on the cargo flow over the Chilean port of Arica. According to PortalPortuario.cl, Arica managed 103.688 tonnes less of Bolivian cargo in the first quarter of 2019. According to Empresa Portuaria Arica, the Chilean port managed 470,227 tonnes in the first three months of 2019, while in the same period of 2018 it mobilised 573,915 tonnes.
Bolivia and Paraguay aim to invest $1 billion to boost trade through the Paraguay – Parana Waterway. During a ceremony to create a Bi-national Commerce Chamber, the Paraguayan Ambassador in Bolivia, Terumi Matsuo de Claverol, that there are high expectations among the private and public sector to increase the development of both countries. The president of the Bolivian Chamber of Commerce, Rolando Kempf, said that the collaboration between Paraguay and Bolivia will help to balance the trade between the two countries.
Bolivia and China signed an agreement to commercialise Bolivian meat in the Asia country. President Morales announced that Bolivia’s Foreign Minister, Diego Pary, went to China to sign the agreement. He added that Pary will also sign an agreement with Chinese President of Customs to facilitate the shipments of Bolivian meat to China.
Highways projects, agriculture expansion, cattle industry, dams and hydroelectric projects are increasingly threatened the Amazonian forest in Bolivia. Since 2016 deforestation in Bolivia reached 300.000 hectares. According to ERBOL radio, between 2005 and 2010 60% of Bolivia’s deforestation was caused by cattle activities. The meat export projects to China and Vietnam will increase the impact. The production of biofuel will also impact on Bolivian Forests, according to former Bolivian Ambassador to the UN, Pablo Solon, the objective of producing 380 million litres of ethanol by 2025 will imply an expansion of sugar plantations from 150.000 to 305.000 hectares. This means that the expansion of the agricultural border will double the annual deforestation in the country.
Bolivia’s state electricity company (ENDE) obtained a license to operate in Argentina and will commercialise 500.000 volts of electricity in this country. ENDE expects a monthly income of $2 million. The shipment of electric power will go through a 110-kilometre cable that runs from Yaguacua in Bolivia to Tartagal in Argentina.
Bolivia will export to Europe more than 11 million litres of anhydrous alcohol for $7 million. Anhydrous alcohol is used in various industries such as special liquors, biofuels, perfumery and medicine. According to the Development Minister, Nelida Sifuentes, the product has a 99% purity, has a high added value in the international markets and does not suffer the price oscillations of raw materials. She said that the first shipments will begin next week.
Bolivia’s international reserves recovered in the last week to reach $8.4 billion, according to the Economy Ministry. At the beginning of April, the international reserves were $7.9 billion. The Economy Ministry explained that behave of the international reserves depend on different variables such as trade balance or the net capital flow. The government expects a $1.2 billion reduction of the international reserves for 2019 due to the “heavy investments” that will take place in the country.
The Financial System Authority (ASFI) said that the credit portfolio of the financial system in Bolivia registered a healthy growth and that financial arrears represent 2% of credits, the lowest level in the region. According to ASFI, Colombia has the highest level of financial arrears with 4.4% followed by Ecuador with 3.5%, Peru (3.4%), Argentina and Brazil both with 3.1%, Paraguay (2.5%), Uruguay (2.4%), Chile and Bolivia both with 2%.