LatinNews Daily - 13 March 2023

In brief: Currency pressures weigh heavily on Bolivia

* Bolivia’s central bank (BCB) has revealed that it directly sold over US$24m to citizens from 6-12 March, as it works to assuage ongoing fears of a shortage in US dollars. The BCB’s “direct sale” of dollars comes amid reports of dollar shortages which have caused long queues to form outside the central bank. A BCB statement released on 12 March blamed the concerns over possible dollar shortages on “commentators and pseudo-analysts linked to the de-facto regime [the former government of Jeanine Áñez (2019-2020)] and neoliberal governments, which seek to generate uncertainty in the population.” The BCB’s president, Edwin Rojas, said that the official exchange rate will remain pegged at B$6.96/US$1, and urged citizens not to fuel speculation by unnecessarily buying US dollars. Rojas’ call for people to stop buying dollars is likely to fan fears over the bank’s dwindling reserves of hard currency, which have caused sovereign bonds due in 2028 and 2030 to sink to record lows and sparked speculation that a devaluation could be in the pipeline.

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