LA PAZ – The decline in oil prices will not have negative effects on Bolivia’s economy, with previous drops in the price of the commodity not affecting economic growth, Economy Minister Luis Arce told state media.
Bolivia’s economy is expected to grow 5.7 percent this year, making it one of the best performers in the region even though it will not top last year’s record 6.5 percent growth, Arce said.
The Andean country’s economy managed to grow despite the drops in the price of crude that occurred in 2008, 2011 and 2012, the economy minister said.
“We not only faced a collapse in the price in 2008, but it fell from $113 (per barrel) to $75 (per barrel) in 2011 and nobody said anything, not one columnist or pundit commented on that drop. In 2012, we also had a drop in petroleum from $109 (per barrel) to $77 (per barrel),” Arce said.
The gross domestic product has continued to expand because of the “communitarian productive economic model” implemented by President Evo Morales’s administration, which abandoned the neoliberal policies of previous governments, Arce said.
Bolivia does not export petroleum, but its economy relies on sales of natural gas to Brazil and Argentina at prices that are adjusted quarterly based on the price of crude.
Bolivia’s gas exports are expected to total more than $6 billion this year, accounting for more than half of the value of its overall exports, government projections show.