An Editorial from El Diario:
Collapse of Bolivian exports
Only last January, exports of various domestic products fell by one third in relation to the same month last year, according to worrying statistic provided by the National Statistics Institute (INE), the crash regarding foreign sales pertains to gas, manufacturing, minerals and agricultural products.
More concretely, the information emphasizes that foreign sales generally fell during that period from $805.9 million to $517.9 million dollars, or 35 percent. The most alarming case relates to hydrocarbon exports, which fell from $320.5 to $212.5 million dollars.
To these declining exports, it adds the low sales abroad of manufacturing, which fell from $215.0 million to $161.3 and those of minerals which continued to fall from $162.6 to $115 million dollars. Likewise, the export of agricultural products also lowered. The low price of oil, from over $100 a barrel to around $35 last week [1st week of March 2016].
The most notable fall in exports, is related to gas and other hydrocarbons that provide foreign exchange to the country, whose prices also recorded even more decreases, at the same time we export less of these natural resources, we get lower prices by the continued decline in stock prices. The fall in oil prices affects Bolivia directly because the price of that energy (gas) is calculated on the base, both for Brazil and Argentina, a formula that takes into account a basket of fuels.
On the other hand, also the country’s economy is affected by the fall in imports, which resulted in a negative trade balance in just the last January of $111 million, something that really attracts attention and about which the authorities are silent. In that sense, considering that this process of decline continues at the same pace and speed in the coming remaining months of this year, the trade deficit could rise from $1,200 million dollars, a likely figure likely, as it is estimated that there will be no recovery in prices of these raw materials and less increase in exports.
We are therefore in a deep crisis, although according to the financial authorities of the country we can cross the hurdle, because not all will suffer the same effects, such as municipalities that are already suffering from the drop in revenue cuts from the HDI.
Bolivia experienced the highest international commodity prices of our exports in all our history … unfortunately under the ten years of ruling of the worst demagogue government ever! Nothing has been done to improve our competitiveness, let alone our innovation capacity. Instead, state-owned enterprises were promoted, which were doom since their inception.
Over $150 billion dollars were wasted by the coca grower leader … and the ruling ochlocracy has managed to erase all the institutionality acquired since we restored our democracy, in early 80s … a shame, a total shame.
No main investors could have been attracted after the relentless hate that this ruler has over the USA and capitalism, he lives and dreams in another world. His egocentrism and envy has clouted all reasoning, even among his followers. We are close to become like Somalia, too much anarchy sprouting all over Bolivian society.