Unlike many nations, Bolivia has no large earnings from tourism or shipping to compensate for trade deficits. After World War II, falling exports and rising imports led to depletion of the nation's gold and foreign currency reserves. By 1969, in part because of increased US aid, the unfavorable balance had been considerably reduced; five years later, thanks to import restrictions and a sharp rise in export earnings, Bolivia had a favorable payments balance of $72.5 million. In the late 1970s, Bolivia's international financial position again began to worsen, and by the end of 1986, the country had accumulated $3.7 billion in foreign debt (perhaps $100 million of it in the private sector), an amount equal to the GDP. External debt equaled $4.4 billion at the end of 2000.
In 2000, foreign direct investment stood at $750 million, some 25% lower than in 1999, due in part to the completion of capitalization contracts. Foreign direct investment was concentrated in the hydrocarbons and service sectors. Bolivia's inclusion in the IMF/World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative will provide the country significant debt relief by both bilateral and multilateral creditors.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2001 the purchasing power parity of Bolivia's exports was $1.2 billion while imports totaled $1.5 billion resulting in a trade deficit of $300 million.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports that in 2001 Bolivia had exports of goods totaling $1.29 billion and imports totaling $1.49 billion. The services credit totaled $236 million and debit $502 million. The following table summarizes Bolivia's balance of payments as reported by the IMF for 2001 in millions of US dollars.
|Balance on goods||-209|
|Balance on services||-266|
|Balance on income||-210|
|Direct investment abroad||-2|
|Direct investment in Bolivia||662|
|Portfolio investment assets||-23|
|Portfolio investment liabilities||…|
|Other investment assets||-202|
|Other investment liabilities||-104|
|Net Errors and Omissions||-79|
|Reserves and Related Items||-34|