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Traditional and non-traditional goods generated record Bolivian exports in 2022

by | Mar 19, 2023

Bolivian exports of the country’s traditional and non-traditional sectors reached a value of USD 6.9 billion, with a participation of 51% in the total value of shipped products in 2022. This is according to data provided by the Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Foreign Ministry pointed out in its Foreign Trade of Bolivia 2022 report that “the generation of added value and diversification of  Bolivian exports are fundamental components of this new cycle.”

As of December 2022, Bolivia’s sales to the world reached the highest level in the country’s history of foreign trade, with a value of USD 13.6 billion.

All sectors of Bolivian exports registered growth in 2022

According to economic activity registered between January and December 2022, Bolivian exports achieved dynamic growth in all economic sectors (agriculture 75%, hydrocarbons 31%, minerals 11%, and manufacturing 23%), with a variation of 24% on average, compared to 2021.

Another way to analyze the composition of Bolivian exports to the global market is through the classification of goods into those traditional and non-traditional. In the case of the latter class of goods, they are characterized by the generation of added value in the Bolivian manufacturing sector.

In 12 months of 2022, in terms of value, traditional exports reached USD 9.7 billion with a positive variation of 17% compared to 2021, and non-traditional exports totaled a value of USD 3.8 billion with a positive variation of 43%.

In terms of volume, traditional exports presented a negative variation of 11%, and non-traditional exports had a positive variation of 31% compared to 2021.

Based on the provisions of the Foreign Ministry report, traditional Bolivian exports continue to take advantage of the international situation of high prices for the primary raw materials (gas and minerals). This is mainly due to the war between Ukraine and Russia and the sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union on the Russian economy.

Non-traditional exports also benefitted from high international prices. However, unlike traditional exports, they have a high volume and value-added component.

Generally, the growth of exports (traditional and non-traditional) constituted a significant source of foreign exchange and income collection for the Bolivian economy. The non-traditional export sector generated jobs, added value to production, and had a multiplier effect for other sectors of the Bolivian economy.

Traditional Bolivian products

Within the main products exported in this category, metallic gold exports reached a value of USD 3 billion, with a growth of 18% in value and 35% in volume; the sale of natural gas reached a value of USD 2.9 billion, reporting a 32% increase in value and a 15% decrease in volume; and shipments of zinc ores and their concentrates reached a value of USD 1.8 billion with an increase of 32% in value and 10% in volume.

Sales of metallic gold reached an export volume of 64 tons, 17 tons higher than in 2021. The main destination markets were India (75%) and the United Arab Emirates (17%), and the central exporting regions were La Paz (75%), Beni (15%), and Santa Cruz (7%).

The sale of zinc ores and concentrates registered an export volume of 772 thousand tons, 73 thousand tons higher than in 2021. The main destination markets were Japan (45%), South Korea (12%), Belgium (12%), China ( 12%), and Belgium (11%). The leading regional exporters were Potosí (87%), Oruro (6%), and La Paz (4%)

Non-traditional products

Between January and December 2022, non-traditional Bolivian exports reported a positive variation of 43% in value and 31% in volume compared to 2021. This was driven by the growth in value and volume of exports from the agri-food sector: oilseed complex (soybeans and derivatives, sunflower, and derivatives), foodstuffs, chestnuts, beef, sugar, and bananas.

Industrial products also have a contribution, among which granulated urea, chemical products (basically lithium carbonate and potassium chloride), and ethyl alcohol stand out.

Bolivian exports of soybeans and derivatives (grain, crude and refined oils, soybean meal, and cake) constituted an important source of foreign exchange generation for the country. Sales of soybeans and derivatives recorded a value of USD 2,2 billion and a volume of 3.54 million tons.

The main destination markets for these products were Colombia (42%), Peru (26%), Ecuador (13%), and Argentina (11%). The leading exporter was Santa Cruz (98%).

Shipments of Brazil nuts (with and without shells) registered a value of USD 198 million and a volume of 26,435 tons. The main destination markets were the Netherlands (34%), Peru (26%), the United States (22%), the United Kingdom (12%), and Germany (11%). Beni (80%) and Pando (18%) were the main exporters.

The mobilization of sunflower derivative products (oils and cakes) registered a value of USD 157 million and a volume of 159 thousand tons. The main destination markets were Ecuador (64%), Colombia (12%), and Peru (10%). The leading exporters were Santa Cruz (95%) and Cochabamba (5%).

Exports of beef, edible offal, and preparations registered a value of USD 128 million and a volume of 20,373 tons. The main destination markets were China (81%), Hong Kong (9%), Ecuador (4%), Peru (4%), and Russia (2%). The leading exporter was Santa Cruz (100%).

The placement of Bolivian exports of fresh bananas in foreign markets registered a value of USD 47 million and a volume of 127,457 tons. The main destination markets were Argentina (98%), Uruguay (1%), and Chile (1%). The main exporter was Cochabamba (99%).

Finally, the same was done with granulated urea, which totaled a value of USD 193 million. The volume exported reached 383 thousand tons. The main destination markets were Argentina (45%), Brazil (42%), and Peru (8%). The leading exporters were Cochabamba (98%) and La Paz (2%)

For information related to opportunities for foreign direct investment in Bolivia, contact LATAM FDI.

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