|"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award||ICC WTO||London|
ULAN BATOR, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia's foreign exchange reserves reached 2.5 billion U.S. dollars in December, a new high since December 2016, the Bank of Mongolia, the country's central bank, said Thursday.
Mongolia's official gold reserves had increased to 18.4 tons, it added.
The growth was attributed to the implementation of the first and second phases of the IMF's Extended Fund Facility program in Mongolia, a significant increase in gold purchases by the Bank of Mongolia, the renewal of a currency swap agreement with China's central bank, it said.
The restoration of investors' confidence in Mongolia and the Mongolian government's policy such as the implementation of the Economic Recovery Program 2016-2020 and the reduction of budget expenditures also led to the increase in foreign exchange and gold reserves, according to the bank.
Experts with the Mongolian central bank predict that by the end of 2019Mongolia's foreign exchange reserves will reach 3.8 billion dollars, and by 2020, 4 billion dollars.
On Dec. 15, the IMF Executive Board completed the first and second reviews of Mongolia's performance under the Extended Fund Facility program and decided to allocate 79.1 million dollars from a 5.5 billion bailout fund to relieve Mongolia's debt burden and stabilize the local currency.
In May, the IMF approved a three-year extended arrangement under Extended Fund Facility for Mongolia in a total amount of about 434.3 million dollars to support the country's economic reform program.
The IMF has raised its 2017 growth projection for Mongolia to 3.3 percent from 2 percent.
On December 21, 2017, 434,267 shares of 28 firms listed as Tier I, II, and III were traded. 12 firms’ shares increased in price, 11 decreased and 2 firms' share unchanged. Khunnu Management /HBZ/ were the top performers, increasing 15.00 percent each, whereas Mongol Securities JSC /MSC/ was the worst performer, decreasing 14.46 percent.
The MSE ALL Index decreased by 0.2 percent to stand at 1,182.41 points. The MSE market cap stands at MNT2,494,025,907,347.
Newcastle, the Australian port that's the biggest export harbor for thermal coal, is planning a shift away from the commodity that generates the overwhelming majority of its trade volumes BHP Billiton Ltd., one of the world's largest coal miners, is considering quitting the industry's global trade body and perhaps the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because it can't reconcile its policies on climate change and energy policy with their more coal-friendly stances National Australia Bank Ltd. promised not to lend to new thermal coal projects and ING Groep NV pledged to reduce its exposure to coal generators to close to zero by 2025 China Merchants Bank Co. joined the lengthening line of lenders disavowing advances for Adani Enterprises Ltd.'s Carmichael project, one of the largest such developments worldwide but one that's highly unlikely to go ahead South Korea, one of the world's biggest coal importers, announced plans to phase out coal by 2079 and sharply cut its use by 2030 The International Energy Agency said that coal demand would remain essentially flat until 2022 — particularly striking given that in recent years it has tended to overestimate coal's prospectsYou'd think from this newsflow that the main benchmark for globally traded coal would be wilting. In fact, it's been on a tear.
Next-month Newcastle thermal coal futures bust through $100 a metric ton last week for the first time in more than a year, after rallying 39 percent since the start of June. For all the doom and gloom about the future of the black stuff — including from this Gadfly — the past two years have been a boom time for coal prices that's only exceeded by their 2010 to 2012 peak.
That's good news in the short term for coal miners like Peabody Energy Corp. and Glencore Plc, which have enjoyed rising profits from digging up soot. In the long term, though, it's another nail in coal's coffin.
Solar module costs since 2011
When businesses whose costs are rising go into competition with ones whose costs are falling, only a fool would bet on the former group. Yet while Newcastle coal prices are 25 percent below their level at the start of 2011, solar module costs have slumped 80 percent.
In Lazard's latest annual analysis of levelized energy costs — essentially, the prices at which new projects will be able to generate electricity — the highest-cost solar and wind projects are now coming in below or equal to the lowest-cost coal generators.
This is unsurprising. Solar modules and wind turbines are manufactured objects, which over time tend to show marked price declines as refinements to repetitive factory processes and supply chains squeeze expenses out of the system. Productivity gains in the mining and engineering industries that are responsible for digging up coal and building generating plants tend to be much slower. Fossil fuels are in a race they can't win.
That helps explain why banks are becoming increasingly vocal about their unwillingness to lend to coal miners and generators. It's not just altruism. Their bigger concern is that by backing coal technology, they'll be making bad investments, much like their forebears who lent money to the pony-and-trap industry, just as the motor car was taking over. Peter Grauer, the chairman of Bloomberg LP, is a senior independent non-executive director at Glencore.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners....
HONG KONG/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Troubled commodity trader Noble Group on Thursday said it had received an extension on a loan until May next year, giving it crucial time for negotiations over debt restructuring.But the firm, based in Hong Kong and listed in Singapore, said the outcome of the discussions with creditors remained uncertain.
The loan had already been extended twice until mid-December, as Noble (NOBG.SI) battles to recover from years of crisis.
“The company has obtained an extension on a waiver in relation to the financial covenants in its committed unsecured revolving credit facility to 18 May, 2018,” Noble said in a written statement on Thursday.
The company, which has bank debt of about $1.2 billion and bonds aggregating about $2.3 billion, did not indicate the size of the credit being extended.
“Noble ... continues to be in discussions with its creditors,” it said. “No assurance can be given as to the outcome of these discussions.”
Noble’s chairman Paul Brough, a restructuring specialist who was appointed this year, said last Friday it was the company’s priority to keep out of insolvency.
Noble was plunged into crisis in 2015 when Iceberg Research started questioning its accounts, resulting in sharp share price falls, credit downgrades and its bonds trading at distressed levels. Noble has refuted such criticism.
Once Asia’s biggest commodity merchant with ambitions to rival dominant European trading houses like Glencore (GLEN.L) and Vitol, Noble’s stock price has crashed from a peak of S$17 ($12.65) in 2011 to 25 cents. That gives it a market capitalization of just S$318 million, compared with over $70 billion for Glencore.
Its financial woes resulted in the company’s retreat from most financial commodity markets, including oil, natural gas and even coal, Noble’s traditional strongpoint.
The downsizing has also played a part in Noble’s failure to profit from resurgent commodity prices this year.
Despite soaring oil, natural gas and coal markets, the company lost around $3 billion in the first nine months of this year.
The turmoil at the company has also resulted in several high level departures, including chief executive officer (CEO) Yusuf Alireza in 2016, and co-CEO Jeffrey Frase in November.
The Parliamentary Budgetary Standing Committee has backed a project of providing tax exemptions for electricity imports from Russia and China. The Western Energy System Company currently purchases 1kWh electricity from Russia for RUB 2.77, from China for CNY 0.65, and from the Durgun Hydro-Electric Station for MNT 33. The company supplies electricity to households at a cost of 1kWh for MNT 102.3 and makes a loss of MNT 96.7 per 1kWh. The electricity import tax exemption is expected to begin from January, 2018 and last until January, 2021.
Mongolia produces only about 4 billion kilowatt hours of power annually, but relies on imports from its northern neighbour Russia for around four percent of its current consumption and is in talks to import power from China.
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The Cabinet approved the 2030 General Development Plans for Khovd, provincial center of Khovd aimag, Choibalsan, provincial center of Dornod aimag and Baganuur distrirct of Ulaanbaatar on December 20.
Khovd city will be developed as a green development model, and a western region hub for preservation and promotion of multi-ethnic culture and heritage, and development of education, science, information, international tourism, transport and logistics spheres and an industrial park.
Eastern region's tourism, external trade, transport and logistics, agriculture, agricultural industry and industrial park will center in Choibalsan city, the fourth largest city of Mongolia.
Baganuur city is projected to become an eco-friendly manufacturer, combining mining and SMEs, promoting responsible mining, developing tourism and SMEs and reducing unemployment and poverty.
The General Development Plans were formulated based on indicators including the national and regional economic growth, role of cities in population distribution and density, infrastructure capacity and national social and economic development directions. The cities can attract foreign investment with effective utilization of their geographic advantage, the Cabinet sees.
Mongolia is the 19th biggest country in the world, in terms of territory, with over 1.5 million square km of land, which means only 1.76 people live in one square km area on average.
Although the country is sparsely populated in the countryside, it is densely populated in the capital. The gross area of Ulaanbaatar accounts for only 0.3 percent of the national territory, but nearly half of the total population is concentrated in the city. Three hundred people live in one square km area in Ulaanbaatar. As of January this year, the population of Ulaanbaatar was 1.38 million. This is 45.1 percent of the population of Mongolia.
The population in the capital has been increasing year by year due to the increase of birth rate and the steady rise of migration from the countryside to Ulaanbaatar. Mongolian herdsmen are those who keep the traditional nomadic lifestyle with its cultural heritage and it’s an irremovable part of this country. If the migration to the city carries on constantly the number of herdsmen will keep decreasing. Since 1990, 590,000 people migrated from the countryside to the capital, and over 120,000 people moved to rural areas from the city. Accordingly, there will be a need to build new schools and kindergartens despite of the fact that it is still not enough. This over-centralization causes many problems.
First of all, the population growth causes excessive traffic congestion in urban area of Ulaanbaatar and increases the number of ger districts. There are approximately 460,000 vehicles used for more than 10 years and around 202,000 ger area families in Ulaanbaatar, which are the biggest factors of air hazardous level of air pollution.
Air pollution is one of the most serious environmental problems confronting our society today, if not the greatest. In Ulaanbaatar’s case, air pollution is caused by human activities such as coal burning, mining, construction, transportation, and industrial work.
The amount of dust particulate levels in the air are four times higher than the World Health Organization (WHO)’s target for developing countries, and 14 times higher than WHO’s global guidelines. Air pollution has terrible effects on the health of citizens, especially children and pregnant mothers.
According to a research by Kirk R. Smith, an expert on the health and climate effects of household energy use in developing nations and was recognized by the joint award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, air pollution has direct impact on delivery complications, miscarriage, maternal mortality, intracranial pressure andchronic diseases of lung and heart.
“Children who are born in air polluted cities have slower brain processing speeds and irretentive memory,” Smith says. Infant mortality rate in Mongolia was 486 in 2012 and has increased constantly and reached 611 in 2016.
There also other risks that many to over centralization such as vulnerability to natural disasters such as wildfires, and less commonly, earthquakes. Mongolia has experienced four major earthquakes (Ms>8) and many more moderate earthquakes (Ms 5.3-7.5) in this century. According to the information given by D.Saruul , Hiroshi Kawase and Narenmandula Ho at the 13th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering in Vancouver, Canada, the extremely thin population distribution of Mongolia has contributed to a low impact from the seismic activities of the past. However, because of its shared importance as the political, economic, and population center of the nation, Ulaanbaatar could face a considerable earthquake risk. Ulaanbaatar is the junction point of all the country’s major roads, railway and air service. As the city is situated on the fluvial sediments of the Tuul River, it is susceptible to risks from earthquakes. The majority of existing pre-80`s housing structures are reasonably well built. However, because of the lack of maintenance and the ongoing alterations in their structures, these buildings could pose a serious threat to public safety in the event of an earthquake.
Another factor influencing over centralization is that Ulaanbaatar is the economic and educational hub of the national.
Some 64.3 percent of the total population of the capital city is under 35 years of age, which is directly linked to the number of higher learning institutes. Currently, Mongolia has 95 universities and colleges nationwide (17 state universities and 74 private universities). Some 143,684 students out of the total 157,138 are living in Ulaanbaatar due to 87 universities in the capital city. If most of the bigger universities move to rural areas with their campuses, Ulaanbaatar could potentially have its clear blue sky back and experience less traffic jams. Furthermore, this centralization of institutes contributes to the development of infrastructure and workplaces in the countryside.
In order to eliminate most of the problems related to over centralization, it is vital for the government to work together with citizens. If the government supports projects to develop rural settlements instead of spending on unsuccessful projects to decrease the air pollution, more and more people might realize there are better living opportunities available than that offered by the capital.
Moreover, every province and soum should formulate a plan to attract young and educated people through good job opportunities and clean living environment. This way, Ulaanbaatar’s problems related to over centralization can be gradually and sustainably resolved, bringing back the “eternal blue sky” Mongolia was so famous for....
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The Cabinet resolved that Mongolia should join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes and the Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS).
The matter was discussed at the Cabinet’s regular meeting on December 20, and Mongolia’s decision to forward a request to join comes after the EU blacklist of tax havens, which includes Mongolia.
Corresponding Ministers were assigned to study the necessity to sign the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting and Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.
The Cabinet assigned Finance Minister Ch.Khurelbaatar and advised Mongolbank Governor N.Bayartsaikhan to take measures to create the legal environment for exchange of information from customer database of banking and financial institutions for only tax purposes.
The Finance Minister was also instructed to revise and make necessary amendments to some laws in order to improve the legal environment surrounding tax, and introduce the bills within the first season of 2018.
The Cabinet sees that Mongolia was blacklisted for failing to join the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes and comply with the BEPS initiative. In order to leave the list, Mongolia must join and express its affirmative stance on the conventions.
If the domestic legislations permit the tax authority gain access to bank information, it will also create access to the activities of Mongolian taxpayers in foreign financial institutes.
The EBRD is providing a US$ 40 million syndicated loan to Mongolia’s XacBank for financing private micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) around the country. The operation will enable XacBank to continue to provide much-needed funding to MSMEs.
“The project focuses on maintaining XacBank's regional penetration and on attracting new MSME clients, which will ultimately promote the competitiveness and resilience of the local economy,” said Nick Tesseyman, EBRD Managing Director for Financial Institutions, who signed the project with XacBank’s CEO, Bold Magvan.
Bold Magvan added: “We are pleased to express our gratitude to our long-standing partner, the EBRD, for their professionalism and goodwill in leading yet another successful syndication for XacBank. The loan proceeds will be deployed to fund MSMEs, which are the heart of job creation and economic growth in Mongolia. Ultimately, XacBank will be able to contribute to improving the well-being of the Mongolian people.”
In her speech at the signing ceremony, Natasha Khanjenkova, EBRD Managing Director for Central Asia, Russia and Mongolia, said: “We are proud to be supporting the micro, small and medium-sized businesses in Mongolia and contributing to the recovery and sustainable development of the country’s economy together with such worthy and longstanding partners as XacBank”..
Xacbank is the fourth largest bank in Mongolia (measured by total assets and loan portfolio). An EBRD client since 2006, it has historically been focused on MSMEs. This loan follows up on similar loans previously extended by the EBRD to Xacbank, including the first syndicated loan to a Mongolian FI which will be repaid by the end of 2017.
The loan is split between US$ 10 million A loan provided by the EBRD from its own account and US$ 30 million B loan provided by a syndicate of lenders consisting of TRANSKAPITALBANK, IIV-Mikrofinanzfonds, BANK IM BISTUM ESSEN EG, and responsAbility SICAV (Lux) (acting for its sub-funds responsAbility SICAV (Lux) Mikro- und KMU-Finanz-Fonds, responsAbility Sicav (Lux) Micro and SME Finance Leaders, and responsAbility SICAV (Lux) Financial Inclusion Fund).
This will also be the first syndicated loan to a Mongolian FI since the country’s recent economic difficulties and the first syndicated loan since a new IMF programme was put into place.
The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Mongolia, with over €1.424 billion invested in over 92 projects in the country to date. The Bank’s investments aim to make the local economy more competitive, integrated and resilient.
The bitcoin sell-off continued on Wednesday after the leading platform for buying and selling the cryptocurrency, Coinbase, announced it was rolling out support for rival bitcoin cash.
“Sends and receives are available immediately. Buys and sells will be available to all customers once there is sufficient liquidity on GDAX. We anticipate that this will take a few hours,” the exchange announced in a blog post on Tuesday.
Coinbase said in an updated tweet that buying and selling would likely not be available until Wednesday. Bitcoin cash trading has also been suspended on GDAX until noon on Wednesday.
The news sent the value of bitcoin cash soaring more than 50 percent to $3,800 per coin. It then retreated to $3,549 per coin as of 7:20 GMT.
The original bitcoin, which was trading at more than $19,000 on Tuesday, slid to $16,353 in less than 24 hours.
Bitcoin cash split off from bitcoin on August 1 after a group of developers decided to try to improve transaction speeds and costs. The majority of those who supported the conventional bitcoin failed to reach an agreement this fall on their own upgrade proposal – SegWit2x.
At first, the split did not impact the price of bitcoin. The newly minted bitcoin cash became worth around $600 per token. However, since August, the value of all bitcoin cash in circulation has soared from about $10 billion to $60 billion.
Bitcoin payment processor BitPay and major cryptocurrency storage company Blockchain recently said they would support bitcoin cash.
The community of bitcoin supporters have also split into rival camps, with some shifting to bitcoin cash.
The co-founder of Bitcoin.com, Emil Oldenburg, recently criticized the cryptocurrency as the “most risky investment you can make,” after he transferred his investment to bitcoin cash. He has encouraged investors to sell the “high risk” bitcoin, calling bitcoin cash “the future.”
“I’ve actually sold all my bitcoins recently and switched to bitcoin cash,” Oldenburg said. “As soon as people realise that this is how it works, [they] will start selling.”