The departure of a convoy of barges with the first 25,700 tons of iron from Mutún, set a historical milestone in Puerto Busch, is the first Bolivian mineral export for the steel company Arcelor Mittal, worth $3 million, to Argentina. Mittal will buy 200,000 tons of iron until December.
The crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic will leave 25 million people out of work in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2020, according to the Bank, which forecasts a loss of at least 25 million jobs by 2020, a figure that could be worse depending on how the situation evolves over the next five or six months. Also, it predicted that 50 million Latin Americans would fall below the poverty line.
The biggest economic crisis in recent decades in Latin America is in full swing, with regional unemployment exceeding 13%, which in practice means that 41 million people have lost their jobs. Projections of a drop in economic growth for this year are around 9%. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) anticipates that the countries that could recover their pre-pandemic growth level by the end of 2022 are Colombia, Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Panama. The rest will have to wait until 2023, 2024 and 2025, including the three largest economies in the region: Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.
The lack of liquidity in more than one link of the productive chain in Santa Cruz, attributed to the loss of operating capital due to the fall in prices, the drop in demand and the paralysis of economic activities during the quarantine to contain the Covid-19 in the country, puts food production at risk. The crisis left thousands of producers without operating capital, which added to the low prices and difficulties caused by the Covid-19 are leading them to bankruptcy. A 12 to 15% drop in production expected.
The Government explained the five pillars of the plan to revive the economy. The first one is direct employment which consists in seeking opportunities for the unemployed and which receives an allocation of Bs 100 million ($14.37 mn), the second pillar is the offer of a new line of credit at an annual interest rate of 3%, the third pillar is tax incentives, it prepares a rule that will help tax payments. The fourth pillar is an incentive for the consumption of Bolivian products. The fifth pillar is a reduction of 15% to all the sectors in the General Budget of the Nation.