Bolivia economy

Bolivia, long associated with poverty and more recently state takeovers, seems to be riding high and enjoying a growing clout.

On Thursday Standard and Poor’s, the credit rating agency, upped the Andean country’s qualification by one notch – to BB from BB-, with a stable outlook. Continue reading »

Bolivia, often labelled as one of South America’s poorest countries, might pull a surprise in 2o13: the IMF expects this landlocked Andean country to grow by 6.7 per cent – its highest rate in ten years.

Despite the fierce anti-capitalist rhetoric and nationalisation policy of President Evo Morales (pictured), Bolivia’s gross domestic product has tripled to $27bn since he took office in January 2006, and economic growth has been chalking up an impressive 5 per cent average. As a consequence, the financial sector has also grown substantially. Any worries? Continue reading »

Can I nationalise you?

For a country with a fondness for nationalisations and getting its way, going to full arbitration might feel a little, well, odd. Bolivia has been placing companies under state control on and off since May 2006.

So how did UK-based power company Rurelec manage to get Bolivia to go to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague over the nationalisation of the assets of its local subsidiary, Guaracachi, almost three years ago? Continue reading »

Trying to carve out a Bolivian mining industry purely on his own terms is proving tricky for Bolivia’s leftwing President Evo Morales.

Recently, he was forced to give out some disappointing numbers about the performance of the Colquiri mine, which the government took over from London-listed commodities giant Glencore in June of last year, during a dispute between rival mining unions. Continue reading »

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Walking around the Uyuni salt flats, all you see is a dry and crusty white nothingness stretching to the horizon. But underneath this almost-lunar landscape in Bolivia’s Andean plateau is half the world’s lithium – the lightest metal on the planet, used in the batteries that drive a host of modern gadgetry and a potential power source for electric vehicles.

Now Bolivia wants to cash in on the value to be added to this precious resource, with the opening of the country’s first lithium processing plantContinue reading »

He believes capitalism has grown a little old. He believes that system is in decline. He believes nationalisations would not scare away foreign investors. He believes people would rush to buy his bonds. He believes he has the right alternative. Let beyondbrics introduce you Bolivia’s finance minister, Luis Arce Catacora (pictured).

“We are facing a structural crisis of capitalism. Capitalism is the old man around, an old man that is no longer responding to the advances of mankind demands. It is time for a change.” Continue reading »

It’s been a bad week for mining in Bolivia.

President Evo Morales’ government moved 600 troops to the site of Glencore’s Colquiri tin mine on Friday after 15 people were wounded in ongoing protests between two sets of miners.

Company miners want to “nationalise” the site, which is already owned by state mining company Comibol, but operated by Glencore. Co-operative miners who want access to more parts of the site oppose the move. Continue reading »

Is Bolivian president Evo Morales the poster boy for Latin America’s extreme left? Or for orthodox macroeconomic management?

Morales, a charismatic former coca union leader who swept to power in 2006 on promises to rebalance centuries of inequality, can do fiery rhetoric as well as his leftist allies Rafael Correa of Ecuador and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. But just as Morales swapped his bobbly batwing jumpers for tailored suits with an indigenous fabric trim, has he taken a more conservative line when it comes to Bolivia’s bottom line?

Many economists would say yes. Continue reading »