Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Dollar in Bolivia

I just want to gripe for minute. The value of the U.S. dollar in Bolivia has been dropping for several months now. It was as high as 8.05 Bs (Bolivianos) to one U.S. dollar. It has been slowly dropping and is now at 7.70 to 1. I'm not sure who is in charge of adjusting the exchange rate. I read in the paper that Bolivia wants to adjust it so that they are on a competitive par with their South American neighbors. When the value of the dollar goes down, the price of imported goods goes down, but the price of exported Bolivian goods goes up, thus decreasing the competitiveness of the Bolivian economy. I am griping mainly because we get paid in U.S. dollars, so our buying power is less than it used to be. This, combined with an annual inflation rate of over 8% this year, is hurting our family economy. I guess I shouldn't complain too much, our salary is well above the average in Bolivia we are still able to live at a level that is better than we could in the U.S. In general, most imported items (electronics, clothes, cars, etc.) cost more here than they do in the U.S., but food, housing and other basic things cost about half of what they cost in the U.S. For the average Bolivian this still isn't too helpful because, when they can find steady employment, they earn about $5.00 a day. That is about like someone from the U.S. trying to support their family on $10.00 a day. How would you like to try that?

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