Gary Rodriguez writes in El Deber:
Had the exports bottomed out?
Data from the National Statistics Institute are lapidary: until May the value of Bolivian exports fell by 29%, with a severe drop in revenue for the country to the striking amount of $1,572 million dollars, just in the first five months of this year! Having seven months ahead, it is worth asking: have the Bolivian exports reached the bottom?
Surely many will say yes -for what was seen until May-, but more than an optimist come to the fore stating that “nothing happens” (they say that an optimist is actually a pessimist misinformed), as there will also be those who says -not with little reason, that this situation is not that worse yet, so it still remains to be seen until the end of the year.
In any case, to assess the seriousness of the fact that we live today, we must know how brutal decline by now constitutes the biggest fall of all our republican and multinational history, being the biggest previous downturn had occurred in 2009, when, by the global crisis the country’s exports collapsed at $1,533 million dollars, but … for a whole year!
Given that in just five months, we have seen such a negative impact, that declining international prices is the cause and which, unlike the 2009 crisis, which lasted just a little year- it is not expected a better future scenario, ‘there is no choice’ to think about public policies consistent with the challenge to keep several things: that the royalty and tax revenues continue to fall and affect more investment and government spending, as now; that the Net International Reserves will begin to decline; that from now on we have to rely on more debt and to have a severe social impact of the expected job losses.
This recommendation has to do -furthermore- with an international stage fraught with devaluations and currency depreciation that in the absence of an exchange rate movement upward in Bolivia, hits already -and will even hit more so- to our producers and exporters by loss of competitiveness of their products, both in terms of external market as well as to meet the growing and ruinous competition in the domestic market itself.
To conclude: it is noteworthy that as of May there was a surplus of $27 million in the trade balance when in the same period of 2014 was $1,473 millions, well knowing that if the import of capital goods this year had not fallen by $83 million there would be, rather, a deficit? I think not … and you?