The Central Bank of Bolivia (BCB) said that as 31 December 2019, the international reserves reached $6.5 billion (16% of the GDP), which is enough to keep the dollar exchange fixed at Bs.6.96. The BCB also said as 6 of January, the level of deposits reached Bs.180.5 billion ($26.1 billion).
Tarija received at least 77,000 tourists, between nationals and foreigners, in December 2019, generating an economic movement of $us 12 million, according to data from the Ministry of Tourism of the Municipal Government.
In 2019 the country spent $700 million for the import of diesel and $300 million to import gasoline. This situation equates to 50% of the $2 billion YPFB received for natural gas exports. Bolivia imports 60% of the fuels required by the domestic market, as YPFB production does not meet demand. By 2020 the state-owned company’s budget is $387.9 million, of which 40% would go to exploration and another 40% for distribution. In 2019 YPFB executed only 38% of its budget.
As September 2019, State-owned YPFB reported a loss of $443.7 million. The president of YPFB, Herland Soliz said that YPFB is still a solid company with an equity of $9.1 billion.
Bolivia will not be able to support a fixed exchange rate in the context of commodity dependence. Fitch downgraded Bolivia in November to B+, citing the central bank’s declining reserves and political turmoil. It added that Bolivia has sustained its currency by burning international reserves at an unsustainable pace. Since 2014 they have fallen to less than $8 billion, Bolivian dollar bonds due in 2028 have reduced their yield to 4.94%.
The National Chamber of Commerce (CNC) is organising the “International Supply Chain Fair”, with the aim of strengthened Bolivia’s international trade. The event will take place the 6th and 7th of February and will bring together 177 companies between providers and requesters from the US, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina and others. The fair will create a platform to promote Bolivia’s products and services, explained Mauricio Ortega, Marketing Manager of the CNC.
Bolivia’s YPFB had to buy 150 million litres of anhydrous alcohol (ethanol) from sugar mills in 2019, but only acquired 47 million or 31%. Although the non-compliance created economic problems, sugar mills are still betting on the project, hoping that the State-owned company will buy the full volume committed for 2020, which will increase by a range of 7 and 33%.
As of December 31, 2019, the portfolio of pension funds (AFP) increased by 11.56% compared to December 2018 as a result of investments in the financial system. AFP Prevision forecast yield rose from 1.59% to 4.87% and AFP Futuro yield increased from 1.73% to 4.71%. The value of the funds in both firms adds $19.1 billion. The number of Individual Capitalization Fund affiliates in 2019 increased by 3.74% to 2.3 million beneficiaries.
Bolivia’s trade deficit reached $700 million as of September 2019, reported the National Chamber of Industries (CNI). Based on data of the National Institute of Statistics (INE), the CNI said that Bolivia’s trade with the world has been negative the last five years: $920 million in 2015, $1.3 billion in 2016, $949 million in 2017, $935 million in 2018 and $700 million by September last year.
The Bulo Bulo Ammonia and Urea Plant registered a $34.4 million loss between 2018 and 2019. The former Hydrocarbons Superintendent, Hugo de la Fuente, said that the building of the plant cost in $110million more than its original budget and was paralysed 50% of the working days.