|"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award||ICC WTO||London|
The Mongolian memory team claimed 57 medals out of 90 available at the 26th World Memory Championships, which took place in Jakarta, Indonesia from December 1 to 3.
The Mongolian team, comprised of 20 athletes, won 21 gold, 21 silver and 15 bronze medals in total, and won the championships through team result after collecting 22,531 points.
Mongolian athletes broke seven world records, namely International Grandmaster N.Munkhshur in the one-hour cards category (adult); International Grandmaster A.Yanjaa in the names and faces, and images categories (adult); and International Master E.Lkhagvadulam in the historic/future dates, speed cards, binary digits, and one-hour cards categories (junior).
Memory athletes B.Namuun, S.Maral, N.Namuundari, D.Saikhanbileg, B.Ariunbileg and M.Uyanga qualified for the International Grandmaster title condition, and N.Munkhshur, N.Enkhshur and A.Yanjaa received a title promotion.
In the adult category, world number one Alex Mullen of the USA became the world champion with 9,055 points. He was followed by N.Munkhshur of Mongolia with 7,880 points and A.Yanjaa with 7,425 points.
International Grandmaster E.Lkhagvadulam of Mongolia won the gold medal in the junior category, earning 6,959 points. Second and third places went to M.Uyanga (5,552) and B.Namuun (5,302).
Mongolia’s International Grandmaster B.Ariunbileg came in first place in the kids’ category. Sh.Naranbat and T.Ujin secured silver and bronze medals.
World and Asian champion N.Munkhshur was awarded the Best Athlete of Asia 2017 trophy during the 2017 World Memory Championships.
More than 130 competitors from 21 countries competed in 10 different memory disciplines at the tournament for three days.
The 2017 World Memory Championships was the 45th international tournament for Mongolian memory athletes. After collecting 57 medals from this year’s tournament, Mongolia currently has 742 medals from 45 international memory tournaments.
From 11 to 15 December 2017, policy makers from Bhutan, Mongolia and Nepal will join the International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) team in Bangkok, Thailand, for a five-day training on how to achieve long-term reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and short-lived climate pollutants from the waste sector.
Organized jointly by IETC and the Asian Institute of Technology, Regional Resource Centre for Asia and the Pacific (AIT RRC.AP), the event will gather five representatives from Mongolia, Bhutan and Nepal from national and local governments as well as implementing partner organizations.
Through a mix of interactive learning methodologies including lectures, peer-learning sessions and field visits, participants will gain a better understanding of the tools available to select suitable environmentally sound technologies and to improve waste management systems. Participants will also be trained on current opportunities in climate financing.
The training is part of the Waste and Climate Change project, funded by the German International Climate Initiative (IKI) and implemented by UN Environment International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC).
The BRICS counties are considering starting an internal gold trading platform, according to Russian officials. When this happens, the global economy will be significantly reshaped, and the West will lose its dominance, predicts a precious metals expert.
In 2016, 24,338 tons of physical gold were traded, which was 43 percent more than in 2015, according to Claudio Grass, of Precious Metal Advisory Switzerland.
“We have to put the BRICS initiative into a broader context. It is just part of a geopolitical tectonic shift which started decades ago. We have seen a constant outflow of physical gold from the West to the East. At the same time, the West has lost the economic war, and as a consequence, the focus now turns to the financial system. China dominates the world economy and has displaced the US as the world’s most formidable economic powerhouse,” he told RT.
The creation of a new gold standard by BRICS is also a step to end the US dollar’s domination of the global economy
“As Bejing and Moscow understand that America used the dollar to control the world, by implementing a new kind of ‘Gold standard 2.0’ they want to distance themselves from this control. Furthermore, the vast majority of the people in Asia sees gold as superior, or ‘real’ money, something the West has forgotten, because of all the paper wealth (credit) they have accumulated,” said Grass.
The expert notes the BRICS countries account for 40 percent of the world’s population and around 23 percent of the world’s domestic product.
"In combination with the announcement of pricing oil in yuan, using a gold-backed futures contract in Shanghai, the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank, China is setting up an alternative to the post-Bretton Woods establishment. This is certainly a game changer,” said Grass.
The level of trust between BRICS countries can help them establish intragroup gold trading, which would be 100 percent physically backed.
“This will present a viable challenger that could over time lead to a break up of the current system since the West will likely still trade paper gold in the meantime,” Grass said.
According to London gold clearing statistics for 2016, the total trading volume in the London Over-the-Counter (OTC) gold market is estimated at the equivalent of 1.5 million tons of gold. The volume of 100oz gold futures on New York's COMEX reached 57.5 million contracts during 2016 or 179,000 tonnes of gold, the analyst notes.
The amount of mined gold is much smaller
“If we now take into consideration that only approximately 180,000 tons of gold have actually been mined up to today the scam is just gigantic and obviously unsustainable. The paper scams in London and New York will either blow up when the paper price of gold drops to zero or when just a fraction of investors insists upon receiving physical gold in return,” Grass said.
The expert believes that with paper gold trading, the established gold exchanges could cease to exist sooner or later.
“They will likely become obsolete and lose their importance over time. Although one cannot predict exactly how fast this will happen, the trend is clear: OTC and COMEX are working toward their own destruction,” he said.
“It will definitely lead to higher prices for physical gold. Imagine if you could buy on COMEX and OTC gold at a much lower price and still have the option to sell it in Asia for a much higher price; this would kill the old paper scams immediately. Therefore, I would guess that both could come up with new restrictions that only cash settlements will be allowed to avoid this. We know for example that even today 99.96 percent of COMEX gold futures are settled in cash,” Grass wrote.
The final battle: Gold vs. US dollar
The analyst recollected the Heartland Theory of Halford Mackinder, a British geostrategist at the beginning of the 20th century who influenced the likes of Kissinger and Brzezinski. Following the theory, we will soon face a war between physical gold and the US dollar.
“As per my understanding, we are moving into the final phase, the battle between currencies – one that will be backed by a hard asset which was real money since time immemorial until 1971 and the other one, backed by promises that future generations will pay through debt, inflation and ever-rising taxation,” he said....
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The newest way to bet on bitcoin arrived on Sunday, with futures of the cryptocurrency that has taken Wall Street by storm starting trading for the first time.
The first bitcoin future <0#XBT:> trades kicked off at 6 p.m. (2300 GMT) on CBOE Global Markets Inc’s CBOE Futures Exchange.
Bitcoin January futures were at $15,940 (11,905.3 pounds), with 398 contracts traded, after having opened at $15,460.
The futures are cash-settled contracts based on the auction price of bitcoin in U.S. dollars on the Gemini Exchange, which is owned and operated by virtual currency entrepreneurs Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.
On Sunday, bitcoin was up 2.62 percent at $14,990 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange. On the Gemini Exchange, it was at $15,600.
Copper and iron ore prices bounced back on Friday after customs data showing a sharp increase in imports by China as the country's winter anti-pollution program cuts down domestic refinery and blast furnace production.
In brisk trading New York Comex copper for delivery in December added nearly 1% from Thursday's settlement price touching a high of $2.9915 a pound ($6,595 per tonne). Copper is still down sharply for the week after suffering its worst one-day decline in almost three years on Tuesday.
November customs data from China showed import volumes of unwrought copper rose sharply totalling 470,000 tonnes during the month, up more than 42% from October and the highest since December 2016. While imports were up 23.7% from November last year, 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.
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. China consumes nearly 50% global copper output.
"Chinese traders appear to have bought more copper abroad because some copper smelters in the country have reduced their production for environmental reasons or because the traders expect production to be cut," Commerzbank analysts said in a note.
"The fact that copper concentrate imports climbed to a record high in November does not tally with this argument, however. It points rather to an ongoing high level of refined copper production in China."
Iron ore shipments set for another record year
China consumes more than two-thirds of the seaborne iron ore market and produces as much steel as the rest of the world combined. Beijing's war on smog has concentrated on the country's steelmaking hubs near the capital where mandated cuts of as much as 50% came into effect in October.
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 tonnes.
China's iron ore imports rose in November even as steel mills are cutting output as part of a government drive against pollution as some analysts said traders were stockpiling inventory.
Iron ore imports "were not necessarily just by steel mills but could have been also purchased by traders," said Helen Lau at Argonaut Securities in Hong Kong.
The Steel Index benchmark price for Northern China 62% Fe ore climber 3% on Friday to trade at $68.40 a tonne. While down sharply from highs struck early in 2017, iron ore has recovered by 19% from lows hit two months ago. Year-to-date iron ore has averaged $70.60 a tonne compared to $56.50 over the course of 2016....
Fake news and corruption are two significant issues testing the fabric of Mongolian democracy today.
Although these challenges have been widely covered global trends, with fake news becoming somewhat of a buzz word in the realms of politics and international development, neither issues are new but will continue to test the integrity of developing democratic systems around the globe. As a result, democracies such as Mongolia will require strong investigative journalism to counter their toxic and disruptive effects. The role of a free, open and credible press is now more critical than ever to help inform citizens and inject transparency and accountability into anti-corruption efforts.
According to the latest report by Mongolia’s Independent Authority Against Corruption—an independent government body tasked with raising public awareness and supporting corruption prevention activities, a wide range of inappropriate practices and illegal budget spending practices have recently been uncovered. The investigation, which assessed the activities of local government activities across all 21 provinces, including state institutions from 98 soums (counties) revealed a host of corrupt practices being carried out by local governments. These corruption violations purportedly include government officials concurrently taking charge over multiple political positions; unreasonable dismissal of local government employees; the dissemination of salaries during periods of unemployment; obtaining illegal donations and financial assistance; and hiring unqualified candidates for government positions.
Admittedly, addressing corruption and abuse of public resources and the authority of local officials remains a formidable challenge; however, an invaluable first-step is for such abuses to be uncovered and revealed to citizens. As a democratic country with an open media environment and free press, Mongolian journalists can play a key role in Mongolia’s fight against corruption by bringing transparency and accountability to violations and patterns of corruption.
Since 2014, IRI has supported transparency and accountability in local democratic governance through a dual-track approach that targets both the supply side (government) and demand side (civil society) of the democratic governance equation. IRI works directly with the Capital City Governor’s Office and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar to counter corruption and increase transparent governing practices while also bringing together municipal civil servants, civil society organizations and ordinary citizens to fight corruption. Through its partnership with the Ulaanbaatar Mayor, IRI has facilitated a jointly implemented Transparent UB Academy where government officials, civil servants and civil society organizations collaborate and create a citizen-focused information campaign. With technical support from IRI, these groups have worked on initiatives that improve transparency and accountability—from budget analysis and citizen budget seminars to workshops for public servants in decision-making positions focused on legal knowledge of anti-corruption statues and international ethics standards. For instance, this year alone, IRI has trained nearly 300 civil servants throughout Ulaanbaatar.
More recently, in cooperation with the Public Affairs Section of U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, IRI trained journalists from Ulaanbaatar and Darkhan. The participating press learned how to identify opportunities for investigative stories and contribute to the propagation of accurate news in Mongolia, which can go a long way in helping journalists and citizens uncover both cases of fake news and corruption abuses.
The case is clear that there is a role for investigative journalism to supplement anti-corruption efforts; however, more work needs to be done to enable and empower Mongolia’s press to call out corruption and serve as a check on abuses of local public office. Due to a weak institutional framework for the growth of a vibrant media whereby underpaid and undertrained media outlets are susceptible to corruption in addition to an overall lack of a universal code of conduct among Mongolian journalists, media outlets still struggle to report factual, citizen-centered information.
Despite highly publicized exposés highlighting corruption and misuse of government funds spearheaded by many prominent Mongolian journalists, most journalists and news agencies are susceptible to political pressures and remain disempowered. Within this context, IRI works to build the capacities of Mongolian journalists to maintain ethical standards and to develop high-quality, unbiased and accurate content relevant to Mongolian citizenry to address the problem of fake news in the digital age. Despite robust buy-in on the part of Mongolian journalists and media outlets to partner with IRI and past support from the Public Affairs Sector of the U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar for empowering journalists, IRI’s current analysis has revealed a clear need for continued support and capacity building for journalists to counter the toxic and disruptive effects that fake news and corruption have on Mongolia’s democracy.
Craig CastagnaProgram Officer, Asia Division
Mongolia’s Supreme Court has ruled the government is not allowed to nationalize a 49% stake little-known Mongolian Copper Corp (MCC) owns in a former Russian copper mine.
The Mongolian parliament had voted in February to seize MCC’s holding in Erdenet mine after the legislators' own probe concluded the $400 million-sale by state-owned Russian holding company Rostec to MCC was unconstitutional. This, because it was agreed without the legislators’ approval.
Industry sources quoted by Reuters said MCC would now seek compensation through international arbitration as it claims the Mongolian government breached international rules on investors’ rights.
Erdenet, which produces 530,000 tonnes of ore annually, is one of Asia’s biggest copper and molybdenum mines and a top tax contributor to the country’s $12 billion economy.
The Mongolian government, which owns 51% in the mine, has vowed to make things easier for miners and explorers as part of renewed efforts to attract foreign investment.
In May, the landlocked country bordering China and Russia decided to open more than one-fifth of its territory for mining exploration, hoping to shore up its finances following an International Monetary Fund-led bailout.
Since mining accounts for around 25% of Mongolia’s GDP and more than 80%vof exports, experts believe that increasing mining exploration could potentially raise the Asian nation’s GDP and economic security.
While bitcoin enthusiasts are bracing for the much-anticipated investor acceptance of digital currency when futures trading starts this weekend, the world’s biggest banks have reportedly halted the move.
The Futures Industry Association (FIA) has sent a cautionary draft letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which approved the start of bitcoin futures trading last week. The lobby group, which includes all the large Wall Street banks, warned the regulator over a swift launch of bitcoin futures that “did not allow for proper public transparency and input,” the Financial Times quotes the letter as saying.
The price of bitcoin has surged to another record of over $15,000 on Thursday, with the market value of the digital currency now exceeding $250 billion, according to data from CoinMarketCap.
The FIA reportedly stressed that ill-prepared financial system wouldn’t cope with the increased volatility of the cryptocurrency's price.
Last week, NASDAQ announced plans to launch bitcoin futures in 2018. Earlier, the Chicago-based exchanges CME and Cboe said they would start bitcoin futures trading on December 17, as the CFTC had approved the step.
The draft letter, obtained by the media, allegedly claims the exchanges should not be allowed to operate bitcoin futures under a self-certified regime as regulators will have minimal time to formally review them.
“A self-certification scheme for these novel products does not align with the potential risks that underlie their trading and should be reviewed,” the letter says.
“We remain apprehensive with the lack of transparency and regulation of the underlying reference products on which these futures contracts are based and whether exchanges have the proper oversight to ensure the reference products are not susceptible to manipulation, fraud, and operational risk,” the FIA said in the draft.
The Mongolian Bankers Association (MBA) released a report on the banking industry's performance in the third quarter of 2017.
The banking sector's total capital reached one trillion MNT in Q3'17, a 9.1 percent increase over the previous quarter and a 13.8 percent increase compared to the same period in 2016.
Q3'17's capital is the highest figure on record in the past three years. Absolute capital of the banks was 25 trillion MNT in the first three quarters of the year, increasing by 2.3 trillion MNT within one quarter.
Seventy-eight percent of the hike was generated from increased deposits. It was estimated that deposits at 12 banks have increased.
Rio Tinto-controlled Turquoise Hill (TSX:TRQ) is expecting its majority-owned Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in Mongolia to churn in 2018 more than double the amount of the precious metal forecast for this year, with operating costs dropping about 2.8%.
In an update that went almost unnoticed, the Canadian miner said earlier this week it expected the massive Mongolian mine to produce 240,000 to 280,000 ounces of gold concentrate next year, more than double the 100,000 to 140,000 ounces initially expected for 2017.
The Vancouver-based company also forecast the mine to generate 125,000 to 155,000 tonnes of copper in 2018, slightly less than the 130,000 to 160,000 tonnes predicted for this year.
Operating cash costs for 2018 are expected to be about $700 million, down from the $720 anticipated for this year as a result of lower concentrator and logistics costs.
Capital expenditures for 2018 on a cash-basis are expected to be approximately $150 million for open-pit operations and $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion for underground development, Turquoise Hill noted.
Open-pit operations are expected to mine in Phase 6 in early 2018 and Phase 4 throughout the year, while it will also expects to process stockpiled ore in 2018.
The increased gold production relative to the 2016 technical report, Turquoise Hill said, can be explained by the splitting of Phase 4 into two parts (4A and 4B) and also by bringing production forward from future years, it noted.
Situated in the southern Gobi desert of Mongolia, about 550 km south of the capital, Ulaanbaatar and 80 k north of the border with China, Oyu Tolgoi is jointly owned by the government of Mongolia (34%) and Turquoise Hill (66%, of which Rio Tinto owns 51%).
The mine is expected to be world's third-largest copper operation at peak production in 2025, with output of over 550,000 tonnes per year.
While Oyu Tolgoi is Mongolia’s highest profile asset, the country hosts a number of other copper, gold and coal mines and projects, including Canada’s Erdene Resource Development (TSX:ERD), the company that literally struck gold earlier this year after finding its new gold project was richer than previously thought.
Australian explorer Xanadu Mines (ASX:XAM) is also among the established companies in Mongolia, with its underway Kharmagtai copper-gold project, south-east of Ulaanbaatar, returning exceptional results in the first months of this year.
Searching for the next Oyu Tolgoi
Aware of the country’s mineral potential, Rio Tinto and Turquoise Hill revealed earlier this year they are already exploring the area close to Oyu Tolgoi, following the country’s renewed efforts to attract foreign investment.
In May, the landlocked country bordering China and Russia decided to open more than one-fifth of its territory for mining exploration, hoping to shore up its finances following an International Monetary Fund-led bailout.
Since mining accounts for around 25% of Mongolia’s GDP and more than 80%of exports, experts believe that increasing mining exploration could potentially raise the Asian nation’s GDP and economic security....