1 JEFF BEZOS IS NOW WORTH MORE THAN BILL GATES AND LARRY PAGE COMBINED WWW.CNN.COM PUBLISHED:2018/07/17      2 APARTMENT COMPLEX FOR YOUNG FAMILIES UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN ERDENET WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2018/07/17      3 NUM GRADUATES INVITED TO WORK FOR TOSHIBA CORPORATION WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2018/07/17      4 RUSSIA & UNITED STATES CAN COMPETE & WORK TOGETHER IN ENERGY MARKET - PUTIN WWW.RT.COM PUBLISHED:2018/07/17      5 TESLA IS GETTING A CHINA FACTORY. THIS $4 BILLION STARTUP WILL BE WAITING WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN PUBLISHED:2018/07/17      6 HOW MINING TYCOONS ARE TRYING TO FOIL A BIG UK BRIBERY PROBE WWW.MINING.COM PUBLISHED:2018/07/17      7 MONGOLIA'S TOURISM REVENUE INCREASES BY 20 PERCENT WWW.NEWS.MN PUBLISHED:2018/07/16      8 WATER LEVELS OF MAJOR MONGOLIAN RIVERS EXCEED ALARM LINE WWW.XINHUANET.COM PUBLISHED:2018/07/16      9 CHINA SETS RECORD DAILY STEEL OUTPUT FOR THIRD MONTH IN A ROW WWW.REUTERS.COM PUBLISHED:2018/07/16      10 RUSSIAN RETAILERS, HOTELS EMERGE AS WORLD CUP WINNERS WWW.THEMOSCOWTIMES.COM PUBLISHED:2018/07/16      ОЛОН УЛСЫН ИННОВАЦИЙН ИНДЕКСЭЭР МОНГОЛ УЛС 53-Т ЖАГСЧЭЭ WWW.MONTSAME.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/07/17     ШАДАР САЙД НҮБ-ЫН ӨНДӨР ТҮВШНИЙ УУЛЗАЛТАД ОРОЛЦОЖ БАЙНА WWW.EAGLE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/07/17     "ТАВАНТОЛГОЙ"-Н ТӨМӨР ЗАМЫН ТӨСӨЛ УРАГШЛАХ ЭСЭХ НЬ SHENHUA-ГААС ШАЛТГААЛАХААР БАЙНА WWW.ZGM.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/07/17     ХӨШИГИЙН ХӨНДИЙН НИСЭХ БУУДАЛД 5.3 ТЭРБУМ ТӨГРӨГИЙН ҮНЭ БҮХИЙ ЦАЦРАГИЙН ХЯНАЛТЫН ТӨХӨӨРӨМЖ СУУРИЛУУЛНА WWW.DNN.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/07/17     2017 ОНЫ САНХҮҮГИЙН НЭГДСЭН ТАЙЛАН ЗӨРЧИЛГҮЙ ДҮГНЭГДЛЭЭ WWW.NEWS.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/07/17     2018 ОНЫ ЭХНИЙ ХАГАСТ ХЯТАДЫН ДНБ 6,8 ХУВИАР ӨСЧЭЭ WWW.GOGO.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/07/17     МОНГОЛ УЛС ЯПОН УЛСАД 100 МЯНГАН АМ.ДОЛЛАРЫН ХҮМҮҮНЛЭГИЙН ТУСЛАМЖ ҮЗҮҮЛЭХЭЭР БОЛЛОО WWW.GOGO.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/07/17     ОУВС-ГААС МАНАЙ УЛС 184.5 САЯ ДОЛЛАРЫН САНХҮҮЖИЛТ АВААД БАЙНА WWW.EAGLE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/07/17     МАНАЙ УЛСЫН ЗЭЭЛЖИХ ЗЭРЭГЛЭЛ ДЭЭШИЛЖЭЭ WWW.EAGLE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/07/16     “ЭРДЭНЭС-ТАВАНТОЛГОЙ” 40 САЯ ДАХЬ ТОНН НҮҮРСЭЭ ОЛБОРЛОЖЭЭ WWW.NEWS.MN  НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/07/16    

Events

Name organizer Where
"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award ICC WTO London

NEWS

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First test flights at Mongolia's new Khushig Valley Airport www.news.mn

The Mongolian Civil Aviation Authority has conducted the first test flights at the Khushig Valley International Airport which is currently under construction The test flights were held on 12-16 December. A Cessna 208 (JU-9993) aircraft owned by ‘Geosan’ LLC was used for the flight along with engineering specialists from the Civil Aviation Authority and Norwegian air traffic control systems leader INDRA NAVIA AS.

Located 52 km south of Ulaanbaatar, the new international airport, when it opens, will provide excellent safety and reliability standards, good links to the city and will contribute to the economic development of Mongolia.

Originally slated to open in 2016, the planned date for the first commercial flights is now August 2018. Khushig Valley International Airport is being built in the Sergelen soum of Tuv Province.

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President of BOM N. Bayartsaikhan attends SEACEN governor's conference meeting www.montsame.mn

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ Officials led by N.Bayartsaikhan, President of Bank of Mongolia attended at the 53rd Meeting of South East Asian Central Banks (SEACEN) Governors’ Conference/High-Level Seminar which was held on December 15-17 in Bangkok, Thailand.

During the conference President of the BoM N.Bayartsaikhan met David Lipton, First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and they exchanged views on current state of Mongolian economic situation, implementing policies and progress of reform in bank sector.

The conference was attended by SEACEN 20 member state as well as presidents of central banks that intend to join the SEACEN, delegates of observer countries and international financial organizations.

In frame of general topic ‘Pursuing Stability in a World of Instability’, the delegates discussed geopolitical risks, technological advancement in financial field and role and participation of central bank to ensure financial stability.

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IMF Executive Board Completes First and Second Reviews under the Extended Arrangement for Mongolia and Approves US$ 79.1 Million Disbursement www.imf.org

Mongolia’s economy is recovering with GDP growth projected to be better than expected. All quantitative targets under the program have been met.

The combination of a strong policy implementation and a supportive external environment has helped the authorities over-perform on all of the quantitative targets under the program.

The authorities are moving ahead with an ambitious structural reform agenda that will help sustain growth over the medium term, promote diversification and competitiveness, and mitigate the boom-bust cycle.

On December 15, 2017, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed the first and second reviews of Mongolia’s performance under the program supported by a three-year extended arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF). Completion of the review enables Mongolia to draw the equivalent of SDR 55.912 million (about US$ 79.1 million), bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 83.868 million (about US$ 118.6 million).

Performance under the program thus far has been strong. Growth in 2017 is projected to reach 3.3 percent, considerably better than forecasted at the time of program approval. The combination of strong policy implementation and a supportive external environment has helped the authorities over-perform on all of the quantitative targets under the program. Performance on structural reforms has also been strong, notwithstanding the delays due to the change in government in September.

Mongolia’s three-year extended arrangement was approved on May 24, 2017, in an amount equivalent to SDR 314.5054 million, or about US$425 million at the time of approval of the arrangement (see Press Release No. 17/193 ). The government’s Economic Recovery Program, supported by the IMF, aims to stabilize the economy, reduce the fiscal deficit and debt, rebuild foreign exchange reserves, introduce measures to mitigate the boom-bust cycle and promote sustainable and inclusive growth.

Following the Executive Board’s discussion of the review, Mr. Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Acting Chair and Deputy Managing Director, said:

“Mongolia’s performance under the Fund-supported program has been positive, despite delays related to political developments. Growth has recovered more strongly than anticipated and confidence is returning, allowing the exchange rate to stabilize, external financing costs to fall, and foreign exchange reserves to recover. The authorities have cut the fiscal deficit and have started structural reforms that would improve the quality of growth going forward.

“All quantitative targets under the program have been met. Fiscal results have been better than expected, supported by stronger revenues and tight expenditure control, and the fiscal deficit this year, at 7.6 percent of GDP, is less than half of what it was in 2016. The recently approved 2017 Supplementary Budget and the 2018 Budget are in line with the program. About half of the revenue overperformance will be saved, thus helping to reduce borrowing and control debt, while the remainder will be used to fund productive spending in line with the government action plan and for a one-off bonus to civil servants. Net international reserves have improved, reflecting strong coal export performance, capital inflows into the bond and money markets, and donor disbursements.

“Despite an unsettled political environment, the authorities are moving ahead with ambitious structural reforms that will help sustain growth over the medium term, promote competitiveness and diversification, and mitigate the boom-bust cycle. The rehabilitation and strengthening of the banking system is underway: the results of the comprehensive Asset Quality Review are expected imminently and the Bank of Mongolia is taking steps to improve the regulatory and supervisory framework. Important legal reforms regarding the governance and operations of the Bank of Mongolia, the Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the banks are expected to be passed soon. On the fiscal side, progress is being made in strengthening tax administration, tax policy, and budgetary controls, including through the establishment of a high-level working group on tax policy. To strengthen the social safety net and target pro-poor expenditures toward the most vulnerable, the government is focusing the Child Money Program on less affluent families and using the savings to increase food stamps for the poor.

“With debt still high and the economy still exposed to global commodity developments, it is critical to maintain strong commitment to the program. Sustained implementation of the reform agenda, will help cement solid growth, improve confidence, strengthen fiscal revenues and foreign reserves, and mobilize donor support.”

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China's copper, zinc output jumps to 3-year high on higher prices www.mining.com

China's refined copper production in November jumped nearly 10% from the same time last year to 786,000 tonnes, the highest rate in at least three years data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Monday as smelters make the most of higher copper prices.

For the January – November period this year production is up 6.8% and 2017 should comfortably outpace last year's total of 8.44m tonnes of refined copper production.

China's smelters working at capacity helps to explain the decline in imports of refined metal and still growing concentrate imports.

Shipments of copper concentrate in October increased slightly from last year to total 1.78m tonnes in November, a new monthly record and up nearly 30% from October's disappointing figure. Year to date Chinese concentrate imports are up moderately from last year's record 17m tonnes. Refined copper imports are trending down with recently released data showing cargoes are down some 5% over the first 11 months of 2017 to 4.24m tonnes compared to the same period in 2016. Full year imports in 2016 hit a record 4.94m tonnes.

Chinese zinc production also lept, totalling 603,000 tonnes in November up 7.5% from the same month last year. However year to date zinc output is down 1.3% to 5.65m tonnes. Lead production also rise sharply to 424,000 tonnes for the month. For the first 11 months of the year, lead output is up 4.9% compared to 2016 to 4.52m tonnes.

In brisk trading on Monday in New York Comex copper enjoyed its ninth straight session of gains touching a three-week high of $3.1475 a pound ($6,940 per tonne). Copper is up nearly 25% in 2017 as it continues to recover from six-year lows struck early last year. Zinc prices have followed a 70% surge in 2016 with a nearly 25% gain this to comfortably above $3,000 a tonne. Lead is up 26% year to date.

Iron ore production grows even as imports jump
China's scores of iron ore mining companies produced only 0.2% more crude ore in November, but the year to date figure shows a 6.5% increase in 2017 to 1.16bn tonnes as mines make the most of higher prices and record-breaking steel output. On a 58–65% Fe content basis tonnage is closer to 200m–220m tonnes for the year.

Chinese steel mills battling Beijing's pollution crackdown have changed over to higher quality imported ore as domestic producers struggling with grades around 20% are forced out of the market.

Chinese iron ore mine production peaked at more than 400m tonnes in 2013 representing a third of steelmakers demand. Steel mills are expected to source only around 15% domestically by 2021.

Imports of high-quality iron ore fines and lump ore from Australia, Brazil and South Africa jumped 19% from October to 94.45m tonnes last month. November imports were up 2.8% from a year ago after topping 100m tonnes in a single month for the first time in September.

Total shipments for the first 11 months of the year are up 6% to 990m tonnes putting the country on track to top record imports in 2016 of just over 1 billion

The Northern China import price of 62% Fe content ore jumped 5.2% to the highest since September trading at $74.40 per dry metric tonne on Monday according to data supplied by The Steel Index. Although down sharply from its 2017 high struck in February iron ore has averaged $70.60 since the start of the year compared to $56.50 over the course of 2016.

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December 18, 2017 trading report www.mse.mn

On December 18, 2017, 379,532 shares of 27 firms listed as Tier I, II, and III were traded. 14 firms’ shares increased in price, 7 decreased and 6 firms' share unchanged. Silk Net /GFG/ and Jinst Uvs /JIV/ were the top performers, increasing 15.00 percent each, whereas Darkhan Khuns JSC /DHU/ was the worst performer, decreasing 13.29 percent.

On the secondary market for government bonds, 114 bonds with a value of MNT11.2 million were traded.

On the secondary market for corporate bonds, 200 bonds with a value of MNT20.0 million were traded.

The MSE ALL Index decreased by 1.71 percent to stand at 1,146.71 points. The MSE market cap stands at MNT2,418,047,961,569.

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EBRD and EU to Strengthen Mongolian Business Associations www.applicatio.com

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) launched a new initiative to strengthen Mongolian Business Membership Organisations (BMOs) today. The initiative is implemented in coordination with the Mongolian Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry and complements similar initiatives implemented in the previous years. The 2017-2019 “Building Effective Business MembershipOrganisations (BMOs) in Mongolia” project is part of the Small Business Initiative of EBRD and funded by the European Union.

Today, Ms Irina Kravchenko, Head of Office of EBRD in Mongolia officially launched the initiative in the presence of the associations selected for support, the consultants that support the initiative as well as various guests.

EBRD already supports BMOs since 2014, at that time focusing on organisational strategy development for 16 - mostly rural - associations. The new initiative, that is to support twelve BMOs for around 18 months focuses on creating an enabling environment for SME by supporting selected business membership organisations in improving their effectiveness and efficiency by achieving goals related to organisational strategy, advocacy, managerial capacity and development of new services.

After an intense joint assessment phase during which the associations assess themselves with the assistance of local and international consultants, the associations will be assisted and coached in developing action plans for improvement. As of May 2018, a series of workshops, conferences and individual consultancy and coaching sessions will enable associations to improve membership base, develop new services and strengthen their financial sustainability.

The EBRD has contracted APPLICATIO Training & Management GmbH and ICON Institute of Germany to implement the activities, which started today with an official opening event. Both companies have been working in Mongolia for several donor organisations since the early 1990s. More than 10 Mongolian experts and numerous international experts are involved in the programme.

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Disney buying Fox film, TV units for $52 billion in digital push www.reuters.com

(Reuters) - Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) has struck a deal to buy film, television and international businesses from Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (FOXA.O) for $52.4 billion in stock, giving the world’s largest entertainment company an arsenal of shows and movies to combat growing digital rivals Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O).

The deal brings to a close more than half a century of expansion by Murdoch, 86, who turned a single Australian newspaper he inherited from his father at the age of 21 into one of the world’s most important global news and film conglomerates. The new, slimmed down Fox will focus on TV news and sport.

Early indications are that the deal will not face strong resistance from antitrust regulators as AT&T Corp’s (T.N) bid to acquire Time Warner Inc (TWX.N) has done. U.S. President Donald Trump, who has attacked the AT&T deal, spoke to Murdoch on Thursday and congratulated him on the deal, according to the White House.

Shares of Fox, which have surged more than 30 percent since talk of the deal surfaced in early November, closed up 6.5 percent. Disney shares rose 2.7 percent, spurred on by the company’s plan to buy up to $20 billion of its own shares to offset dilution from the all-stock deal. Disney will also assume about $13.7 billion of Fox debt in the deal.

Fox stockholders will receive 0.2745 Disney shares for each share held and will end up owning about a quarter of Disney.

Under the deal, expected to close in 12 to 18 months, Disney acquires 21st Century Fox’s film and television studios, its cable entertainment networks and international TV businesses.

That brings marquee franchises like “Avatar” and “The Simpsons” inside the Mouse House, on top of Iger’s previous purchases, including Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Entertainment and “Star Wars” producer Lucasfilm.

The deal also includes 22 of Fox’s regional sports networks that have the rights to televise live games of U.S. professional baseball, basketball and hockey teams as well as popular college and high school games.

Disney’s global footprint expands with the acquisition of Fox’s international satellite assets, including Star TV network in India and a stake in European pay-TV provider Sky Plc (SKYB.L) and sports rights in several countries.

The new pipeline of shows and movies will help Disney battle technology companies siphoning audiences away from traditional TV networks.

Amazon is on track to spend at least $4.5 billion on video this year, according to analyst estimates, while Netflix plans to spend $8 billion on content next year. That is closing the gap on Disney, which spent $13.5 billion on content, half of that on sports, in the latest fiscal year, according to analysts.

“The deal illustrates the huge strategic challenge traditional media companies face and how they need to reinvent their business models to compete with digital, online competitors such as Netflix, Google and Amazon,” said Nick Jones, partner and head of technology at Cavendish Corporate Finance. “(It) helps Disney dramatically reduce its reliance on traditional television, a business that has declined over the last two decades.”

‘NEW’ FOX

Immediately before the acquisition, Fox will separate the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, its sports channels FS1, FS2 and the Big Ten Network, into a newly listed company that it will spin off to its shareholders.

“This will be a growth company, centered on live news and sports brands and the strength of the Fox network,” 21st Century Fox Executive Chairman Murdoch told investors. He said Fox was not retreating, rather “pivoting at a pivotal moment.”

Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger, 66, will extend his tenure through the end of 2021 to oversee the integration of the Fox businesses. He has already postponed his retirement from Disney three times, saying in March he was committed to leaving the company in July 2019.

If Iger sees out his new term, that would rule out a presidential bid in 2020, which had been the subject of some speculation.

“This acquisition reflects a changing media landscape, increasingly defined by transforming technology and evolving consumer expectations,” Iger told investors on a conference call.

He said new technology would be necessary to meet the demands of viewers who want to access content anytime. Fox’s regional sports networks and cable network puts Disney in a better position to sell more shows directly to more consumers, he added.

Disney has been struggling to bolster its TV business as cancellation of cable subscriptions is pressuring its biggest network, sports channel ESPN.

The company plans to launch its own streaming service in 2019, a calculated gamble that it can generate more profit in the long run from its own subscription service rather than renting out movies to services like Netflix.

It is not clear who will head the new Fox. Iger said current Fox CEO James Murdoch, Rupert’s younger son, will help with the transition and that the two will discuss whether he will have a longer-term role at Disney.

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State Structure Standing Committee receives feedback from discussions on constitutional amendments www.theubpost.mn

Secretary General of Parliament Secretariat Ts.Tsolmon presented Head of Parliament’s State Structure Standing Committee D.Lundeejantsan with the conclusions from the open discussions on constitutional amendments, which took place throughout Mongolia from late July to early September.

Ts.Tsolmon underlined that 550 representatives from the Parliament Secretariat, task forces on constitutional amendments and government officials from districts and provinces actively worked together to increase public participation in discussions on constitutional amendments and to increase people’s proposals regarding the amendments, and used various channels such as online and postal submissions to receive public comments and thoughts related to the amendments.

He noted that the task force got feedbacks from people who participated in discussions; 143,894 people took part from 21 provinces and 116,527 from Ulaanbaatar’s nine districts, and 63,638 proposals were collected through postal submission and 3,316 proposals through online submission.

The Secretary General said, “Unfortunately, some people who submitted comments and thoughts to the task force did not provide some required background information such as permanent address and first name or last name, and the proposals of 272,895 people who provided required information have been put into an online database by Parliamentary Secretariat’s Information Technology Department, which is open for the submitters to make sure that their proposals are included.”

Ts.Tsolmon added that 47.3 percent of the 272,895 proposals were given by men, while 52.7 percent were from women. 32.2 percent were from young people between the ages of 18 to 35; 19.8 percent by people between the ages of 36 to 45; 16.1 percent by people between ages of 46 to 55; and the remaining were submitted by older people aged above 55.

People voted on the first draft of the amendments to the Constitution, which was debated by the public in open discussions, and 72 percent supported a proposal to ban the increase of expenditures that have been outlined in the draft state budget. Some 70.9 percent voted for the proposal to extend Parliament’s spring or fall sessions’ duration to 75 working days.
78.2 percent of the public who participated in discussions supported the proposal to introduce a merit system in state services to ensure continuation and stability.

75.5 percent accepted the proposal to legislate a strict ban on the mass dismissal of state officials after an election. 71.6 percent voted for the proposal to increase the members of the General Council of Courts to 11 members. 71.4 percent approved of that the proposal that after Parliament approves judges of the Supreme Court proposed by the General Council of Courts, the President shall ratify it, and the President shall appoint judges proposed by the General Council of Courts.

With 69.9 percent vote, the public supported the proposal that the Supreme Court judge nominees must be above the age of 40, and judges must be above 30 years of age.
50.7 percent of people voted against the proposal to eliminate the President’s power that instructs Cabinet on issues in the areas of his or her full power.

53.4 percent agreed with the proposal to eliminate the President’s authority to put forward a bill to Parliament. 60.5 percent of voters supported a proposal that one-third of Cabinet members can have a seat in Parliament. 68.1 percent voted to reduce the President’s authority to dissolve Parliament. 59.4 percent voted for a proposal that Cabinet must have five permanent ministries; the Ministry of Justice and Internal Affairs; the Ministry of Finance; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of Defense; and the Ministry of Environment, and the Prime Minister is eligible to put forward a proposal to form up to seven new ministries in social, economic and infrastructure sectors depending on the country’s socio-economic state.

53.3 percent agreed that the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar should appoint mayors of districts; mayors of provinces will appoint mayors of soums; district mayors will appoint heads of khoroos; and mayors of soum will appoint heads of bagas. 68.1 percent of voters agreed with the proposal that Parliament will have the right to form a temporary committee to review a public interest issue, and more than a quarter of MPs or a group of a political party or a coalition in Parliament will have the right to propose to create a temporary committee to the Speaker of Parliament.

With 64.8 percent support, voters agreed that the Prime Minister must submit his or her decision to appoint or dismiss a Cabinet member to the President and Parliament, and the President is to have the power to ratify or veto the Prime Minister’s decision within 72 hours. 65.9 percent of people voted for the proposal on the local administration hierarchy of Mongolia; specifically, a province will be made up of soums; a soum will be made up of bagas; the capital will consist of districts; and a district will be made up of khoroos.

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China about to knock out petrodollar by trading oil in yuan www.rt.com

As one of the world’s top energy importers, China has successfully completed its fifth dry run in yuan-backed oil futures contract trading. The step has been already called Beijing’s challenge to the US dollar.

According to Bloomberg, which cited a statement from the exchange, 149 members of Shanghai International Energy Exchange traded 647,930 lots in the rehearsal with a total value of 268.2 billion yuan. The system met the listing requirements of crude futures after the exercise, it added.

“This contract has the potential to greatly help China’s push for yuan internationalization,” said Yao Wei, chief China economist at Societe Generale in Paris.

She added, however, “its success will hinge critically on the degree of freedom allowed for the capital flows related to the contract.”

A former China division chief at the International Monetary Fund, Eswar Prasad said: “It is not unreasonable to envision a world in which the overwhelming share of commodity contracts, especially for oil, are no longer denominated just in dollars.”

But “the yuan’s role in global finance will ultimately be determined by the degree of commitment of Xi Jinping’s government to economic and financial market reforms.”

Since the 1970s, the global oil trade has almost entirely been conducted in US dollars. The largest energy consumer, China, is interested in having oil contracts in yuan. Beijing plans to introduce its own oil benchmark which will rival Brent or West Texas Intermediate. Analysts say Chinese authorities will need to first convince large oil producers and consumers to use the yuan and invest in the Shanghai benchmark.

The Chinese government announced plans to start a crude oil futures contract priced in yuan and convertible into gold earlier this year. The contract will enable the country's trading partners to pay with gold or to convert yuan into gold without the necessity to keep money in Chinese assets or turn it into US dollars.

The new benchmark will reportedly allow exporters, such as Russia, Iran or Venezuela to avoid US sanctions by trading oil in yuan.

In September, Venezuela ditched the greenback for oil payments. Caracas has ordered oil traders to convert crude oil contracts into euro and not to pay or be paid in US dollars anymore. The measure followed the rolling out of sanctions by the United States against the country.

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Indian captive power plants running at half capacity due to coal shortage www.mining.com

The Indian Captive Power Producers Association or ICPPA held a press conference on Thursday where its president, Rahul Sharma, denounced that most captive power producers are getting half of the coal they need from state-owned Coal India and are considering increasing their imports.

The scarcity of the mineral is due to the government’s decision to divert most of the country’s output to electricity generators in order to prevent outages. Coal India’s shipments to power plants rose 9.2 per cent to 290.6 million tonnes in the eight months ended November 30, 2017. This accounted for 79 per cent of the overall supplies of 368 million tonnes during the period. Local reports state that India’s thermal power capacity of 137 GW requires about 1.43 million tonnes of coal daily and, despite the increased supply, power plants currently have enough stock for eight days, when they are required to pile up 21 days worth of coal.

Given this situation, the public company is trying to engage states and the Central Electricity Authority in an assessment process that would provide a clearer picture of each region’s revised power demand for the next three years. Coal India’s goal is to use this information to do a more efficient job dealing with increasing demand.

But power plants that distribute electricity to the population are not Coal India’s only clients. The firm, which generates more than 80% of the country’s coal, is also in charge of supplying the mineral to ICPPA member-companies who generally produce electricity for their own use.

Chemical factories and aluminum smelters are among the latter and, according to the aforementioned Rahul Sharma, the local shortage is pushing them to make costlier overseas purchases, which has increased their power costs by 50 per cent.

Thermal coal at the Australian port of Newcastle, which is an Asia-Pacific benchmark, is trading near $100 a tonne after gaining about 17% in the financial year that started in April, Bloomberg reports.

High costs combined with reduced power generation is rendering operations economically unviable with huge risk of plant closure, Sharma and his team said at today’s event. The ICPPA requested urgent government intervention in this matter.

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