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Bolivia turns screw on Brazil

Argentina has agreed to increase the price it pays Bolivia for gas supplies. That will put more pressure on Brazil to agree to new terms, writes Robert Cauclanis

BOLIVIA'S leftist President Evo Morales may be deeply suspicious of capitalism, but he showed in June that he clearly understands one steadfast rule of free markets: the more competition there is between buyers of Bolivia's natural gas, the more his country can charge for its main export. Morales' latest achievement – convincing Argentina to accept a sharp price increase on Bolivian imports – makes him look like a shrewd negotiator, especially because it will exert pressure on Brazil, the largest buyer of Bolivian gas, to accept similar terms. Following weeks of price negotiations, Argentina agreed on 29 June to pay 47% more for the 5.5m cubic metres a day (cm/d) of Bolivian gas it imports

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