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Prime Minister reports on government’s foreign policy www.theubpost.mn

During Parliament’s Friday session, Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh gave a statement regarding Cabinet’s foreign policy.

At the beginning of his speech, the Premier highlighted that as executing a robust foreign policy is significant for achieving national prosperity, when it comes to foreign policy, carrying out a consistent foreign policy is of great important for the country to succeed in strengthening its relations and cooperation with the world. Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh stressed that the government will seek to strengthen Mongolia’s relations and cooperation in politics, economy and other sectors with other countries; improve its position among the international community; and maintain a foreign policy for strengthening independence and sovereignty through development. He noted that strengthening the country’s relations and cooperation with the two neighbor countries by promoting collaborations between intergovernmental commissions, task forces and other cooperation mechanisms, and pursuing mutually beneficial cooperation is priority for the government.

U.Khurelsukh emphasized that as mutual collaboration in areas along the Mongolia-Russia border under a medium-term program for the development of Mongolia-Russia strategic partnership is a key cooperation area, and noted that there should be a greater focus on enhancing the legal and regulatory environment for taking this collaboration to a new level, and the government is collaborating with Russia to establish an intergovernmental agreement to move forward with this cooperation. He said that to increase trade turnover between Mongolia and Russia, the government is working to establish a free-trade agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and Mongolia to eliminate challenges regarding tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade. Russia and Kyrgyzstan, out of EAEU’s five member states, have supported Mongolia’s proposal to set up a joint task force to study the feasibility of the free-trade agreement.

The Prime Minister pointed out that to develop Mongolia and China’s comprehensive strategic partnership in all sectors, the government is actively working to accelerate cooperation between the Mongolia-China intergovernmental commission on trade, economy, science, and technological cooperation, and council of mineral resources, energy and infrastructure cooperation. U.Khurelsukh said moving forward with megaprojects, improving the efficiency of loans granted by China to Mongolia, and deal with other issues facing the two countries’ economic cooperation are also areas of focus for Cabinet.
Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh noted that the government is discussing to launch mining, energy, construction, agriculture, and roads and transport megaprojects through mutually beneficial cooperation with China, and will carry out Mongolia’s Development Road project in connection with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

He also stated that as the economic corridor program by Russia, China and Mongolia will be developed in not only transport and customs, but also in other sectors, the government will seek other collaboration opportunities under this program.

The Premier emphasized that consultative mechanisms between Mongolia and the United States on political, security and regional issues is an example of strengthening relations and cooperation between the two countries and noted that Mongolia is hoping to increase US investment in the country. U.Khurelsukh stressed that another example of successful cooperation of the two countries are the shared values of democracy, freedom, and human rights, which led to the US’s Millennium Challenge Corporation to grant 350 million USD in aid under its second compact agreement with Mongolia to improve water supply facilities in the ger districts of Ulaanbaatar where a large percent of the country’s population are residing.

He underlined that Mongolia is focusing on strengthening friendly relations and developing cooperation with countries in the Asia and Pacific region, and the country is successfully developing strategic partnerships with Japan and India, a comprehensive partnership with South Korea, and expanded partnership with Australia. The Premier cited that since the economic partnership agreement between Mongolia and Japan entered into force, trade between the two countries has increased by 18 percent.

U.Khurelsukh pointed out that defense and security cooperation between Mongolia and India have been deepening in recent years, and as a joint study to establish an economic partnership between the two countries has been completed this year, the two sides will start negotiations next year about establishing the economic partnership, which is expected to help Mongolia free up trade, develop a wide range of economic cooperation with India and increase people to people exchange between the two countries.

In his speech about cooperation between Mongolia and the European Union, U.Khurelsukh said that as the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and its member states and Mongolia entered into force on November 1 this year, Mongolia has opportunities to cooperate with the EU’s 28 member states in the areas of trade, economy, education, culture and science.

The Prime Minister stated the government is working to increase Mongolia’s participation in international and regional cooperation organizations to promote mutual interests of landlocked developing countries, host the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asia Security, and increase participation in UN peacekeeping missions. Mongolia is serving as a member of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights from 2015 to 2018, and during its three-year term, the country has worked under effective leadership to make contribution to activities of the international community; strengthen protection of human rights; promote gender equality; protect the rights of children, women and people with disabilities; combat human trafficking; eliminate race and gender discrimination; abolish the death penalty; and promote freedom of expression.

The Prime Minister emphasized that the government will task over 40 diplomatic missions representing Mongolia to actively collaborate with other countries to bring investment, new ideas and initiatives, soft loans and other assistance to Mongolia’s small and medium-sized enterprises. He added that the government plans to establish a permanent council of technology, innovation and information under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that will provide national enterprises and entrepreneurs new information by learning more about innovative technology and innovation based on scientific achievements, successful international experiences, and opportunities to access international markets.



Copper price plunges www.mining.com

Copper futures trading in New York cratered on Tuesday on doubts about the strength of Chinese demand for the metal, an improving supply picture and a jump in warehouse stocks of the metal.

Copper on the Comex market for delivery in March, the most active contract declined 4.7% from Monday’s settlement price in heavy volume of more than 4.3 billion pounds touching a low of 2.9430 a pound in afternoon trade, a 10-week low.

On the LME, benchmark copper closed down 4.2% at $6,542 a tonne, which was the worst drop in a single session since July 2015. LME copper also came under pressure from an uptick in warehouse inventories with headline stocks rising 10,650 tonnes to 192,550 tonnes.

Last week a gauge of manufacturing activity in China, responsible for nearly half of global consumption of the metal, declined to the lowest in five months in November, but factory managers' views of the outlook for the next 12 months fell to the lowest level in more than five years.

In a research report released on Tuesday, Capital Economics predicts copper prices will edge lower over the next six months as "optimism about China’s demand fades and both mine supply and refined production revive":

After falling to US$6,250 per tonne in June 2018, we expect the price of copper to pick up on the back of strong growth in new sources of demand, particularly electric vehicles and renewable energy. Prices could reach $7,000 and $8,000 at end-2018 and end-2019 respectively, up from $6,700 today.
Capital Economics estimates that 2017 will record the first decline in copper mine supply since 2005 as a result of disruptions at the world's largest copper operations including Escondida in Chile, a joint venture between Rio Tinto and BHP, and Grasberg in Indonesia, owned by Freeport McMoRan.

Capital Economics predicts a 3.5% drop in primary copper supply this year, but a recovery to 2.8% growth in 2018 as world number two producer Peru adds some 300,000 in new production and mines like Norilsk's Bystrinsky mine in Russia ramp up output. Industrial action in Latin America, particularly in Chile, and more onerous environmental regulations could crimp expected production growth however.

The research firm expects modest 2% output in growth in 2019, but points to numerous projects coming on stream in coming years, including at Rio's Oyu Tolgoi operation in Mongolia, First Quantum's Cobre Panama mine and in Zambia where Glencore is expected to restart operations after refurbishing its Mopani mine.



Mongolian and China to cooperate on border jam www.montsame.mn

Beijing /MONTSAME/ “Mongolia and China reviewed the actions and measures taken in 2017 within bilateral cooperation and identified the main directions for 2018,” said D.Gankhuyag, Ambassador of Mongolia to the People’s Republic of China on December 5.

Speaking to MONTSAME correspondent in Beijing, the Ambassador illustrated the outcome of the official visit of Minister of Foreign Affairs D.Tsogtbaatar to China on December 3-5.

Mongolian Foreign Minister D.Tsogtbaatar and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held official talks on December 4, following which a joint communique was released.

“The Ministers discussed the issue of Gashuunsukhait border crossing in detail. The Foreign Minister Wang Yi assured that China will cooperate on reducing the logjam of coal trucks,” the Ambassador said.

The sides agreed on increasing the number of coal trucks passing the border by 150-200. “Working groups from both sides will discuss means of environment-friendly coal transport from Mongolia to China and settle this issue before the visit of Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh to China,” he added.

Moreover, the Ministers touched upon possibilities of meat export from Mongolia to China and other third markets. “China agreed to assist Mongolia in exporting its meat and meat products,” said FM D.Tsogtbaatar during a press conference held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on December 5, after his return to the country.

During his meeting with authorities of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, FM D.Tsogtbaatar exchanged views on the wastewater treatment plant of Ulaanbaatar. “The wastewater treatment plant construction will be financed by a Chinese loan. The Mongolian Embassy in China will look into this matter in cooperation with the Export-Import Bank of China,” said Ambassador D.Gankhuyag.

FM D.Tsogtbaatar instructed the Mongolian diplomatic mission in China to take some actions directed at promoting Mongolian SMEs and their products.

Mongolia and China are working towards increasing bilateral trade turnover to USD 10 billion by 2020. “Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi remarked that bilateral turnover could exceed USD 10 billion. As such, the two sides will focus on increasing the amount of coal passing through border without harming the surrounding environment,” noted Ambassador D.Gankhuyag.

According to the Ambassador, the Foreign Ministers also touched upon and agreed to activate transfer of prisoners from China to Mongolia.



First tax havens blacklist published by EU www.bbc.com

The European Union has published its first blacklist of tax havens, naming 17 territories including Saint Lucia, Barbados and South Korea.

A "watchlist" of 47 countries promising to change their tax rules to meet EU standards has also been issued.
The "grey list" includes several with UK links, including Hong Kong, Jersey, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, as well as Switzerland and Turkey.
Both lists have been criticised as omitting the most notorious tax havens.
The lists follow the leaking of the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers, revealing how companies and individuals hid their wealth from tax authorities around the world in offshore accounts.
EU tax commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the blacklist represented "substantial progress", adding: "Its very existence is an important step forward. But because it is the first EU list, it remains an insufficient response to the scale of tax evasion worldwide."
To determine whether a country is a "non-cooperative jurisdiction" the EU index measures the transparency of its tax regime, tax rates and whether the tax system encourages multinationals to unfairly shift profits to low tax regimes to avoid higher duties in other states. In particular these include tax systems that offer incentives such as 0% corporate tax to foreign companies.
EU members have been left to decide what action to take against the offenders. Ministers ruled out imposing a withholding tax on transactions to tax havens as well as other financial sanctions.
Some states, such as Luxembourg and Malta, opposed stricter sanctions, according to officials. EU Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said "stronger countermeasures would have been preferable".
Panama is one of the 17 countries listed by the EU but its president, Juan Carlos Varela, said the country was "not in any way a tax haven".
The EU is encouraging member states to take what it calls "defensive actions" against those countries that do not reform their tax systems.
The UK-based charity Oxfam last week published its own list of 35 countries that it said should be blacklisted.
Oli Pearce, Oxfam's inequality and tax policy advisor, said: "It is disturbing to see mostly small countries on the EU blacklist, while the most notorious tax havens - UK-linked places like Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Jersey and the Virgin Islands - escape with a place on the 'grey list'.
"Although we recognise this is a step in the right direction, if EU leaders let too many tax havens off the hook we'll all lose out. A place on the grey list must not mean tax havens get off scot-free."
However, tax campaigner Richard Murphy said some countries on the grey list could still face heavy sanctions if they failed to reform their tax systems.
He said EU countries will be encouraged to disallow payments made to these places for tax purposes, or to charge withholding taxes on interest payments to them.
That tactic could "utterly neuter their so-called status as 'tax neutral international financial centres' by ensuring that all monies they receive have been taxed before getting there", Mr Murphy said.
"The EU is also saying to the UK that it is taking real measures against British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, and the message is - if you go the same way as them with a similar low-tax regime after Brexit, you'll be sanctioned too."
The 17 blacklisted territories are:
American Samoa
South Korea
The Marshall Islands
Saint Lucia
Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates
The EU made exceptions for countries faced with natural disasters such as hurricanes, and put the process temporarily on hold.



Mongolia's president vetoes 2018 budget www.reuters.com

ULAANBAATAR (Reuters) - Mongolia’s president on Tuesday vetoed the 2018 budget passed by parliament in November, saying the planned deficit would violate the terms of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout agreement.

Mongolia and the IMF agreed to a $5.5 billion bailout in May to stabilize its floundering economy and its currency, the tugrik, which went into freefall last year.

In return, Mongolia agreed to end expansionary monetary policies, introduce austerity measures, raise some taxes and reduce welfare spending.

But parliament, known as the State Ikh Khural, did not meet the terms agreed with the IMF after failing to narrow the deficit in next year’s budget, President Khaltmaa Battulga said in a notice published on his official website.

The president said the 2018 budget deficit would amount to 2.5 trillion tugrik ($1.03 billion) or 9.5 per cent of gross domestic product, with planned expenditure at 7.7 trillion tugrik.

He said both expenditure and the deficit for 2017 and 2018 have continued to rise at the same rate as in previous years.

“The State Ikh Khural made a number of decisions to shift the burden onto citizens,” the president said in the statement, adding that the budget violated Mongolia’s constitution.

In Mongolia’s parliamentary system, the legislature can vote to overturn the president’s veto with a two-thirds majority.

Battulga, who was elected in July, belongs to the opposition Democratic Party, while the Mongolian People’s Party controls 65 of the 76 seats of the State Ikh Khural.

Battulga also criticized “inefficient investment projects” and plans for the construction of state-owned buildings while citizens were forced to pay higher taxes.

A new progressive income tax will be levied at between 10 and 25 percent starting from Jan. 1, compared with a flat rate of 10 percent now.

Last week, Finance Minister Chimed Khurelbaatar told Reuters he expected the pace of economic growth to rise, aided by more foreign investment and a recovery in commodity prices. He projected 4.2 percent growth in 2018, compared with 1 percent last year.

The Finance Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.



December 05, 2017 trading report mse.mn 2017 12 06

On December 05, 2017, 960,758 shares of 25 firms listed as Tier I, II, and III were traded. 11 firms’ shares increased in price, 11 decreased and 3 remained unchanged. APU JSC /APU/ was the top performer, increasing 15.00 percent, whereas Sharyn Gol JSC /SHG/ was the worst performer, decreasing 5.79 percent.

On the secondary market for government bonds, 806 bonds with a value of MNT77.6 million were traded.

On the secondary market for government bonds block trading, 1,049 bonds with a value of MNT116.1 million were traded.

On the secondary market for corporate bonds, 890 bonds with a value of MNT89.0 million were traded.

The MSE ALL Index increased by 1.87 percent to stand at 1,280.64 points. The MSE market cap stands at MNT2,771,086,026,454.



Mastercard to repurchase up to $4 billion of its shares www.reuters.com

(Reuters) - Payment processor Mastercard Inc (MA.N) said on Monday it would buy back up to $4 billion of its class A shares.

The new share repurchase program will be effective at the completion of the company’s previously announced $4 billion share repurchase program, Mastercard said.

Under the previously announced buyback, the company has about $1.5 billion remaining, the statement added.

The company said it also increased its quarterly cash dividend to 25 cents per share, a 14 percent increase over the previous dividend of 22 cents a share.

Mastercard had 1.04 billion class A shares and 15.1 million class B shares as of Oct. 26.



Mongolia Growth Group Ltd (YAK.V) Shares in Focus as They Run Lower For the Week www.stockdailyreview.com

Mongolia Growth Group Ltd (YAK.V) shares are showing positive momentum over the past week as the stock has clocked in with gains of -6.45%. In taking a look at recent performance, we can see that shares have moved 0.00% over the past 4-weeks, -19.44% over the past half year and 3.57% over the past full year.

Investors may be watching the ebb and flow of the current market environment and be wondering what the next few months have in store. They may be deciding whether now is a good time to sell off some first half winners or hold on for further gains. This can be one of the toughest decisions that an investor has to make. Just because a stock has been steadily heading higher for an extended period of time doesn’t necessarily mean that it will continue to do so. Building the confidence to make the tough portfolio decisions may take some time and a few good trades under the belt. New investors may be prone to get discouraged after a few sour trades in a row. Anyone who wants to succeed in the stock market knows that there is no substitute for research and hard work. Being able to bounce back and learn from mistakes may help the investor stay in the game and get back on the road to healthy profits.

Investors may be tracking certain levels on shares of Mongolia Growth Group Ltd (YAK.V). The current 50-day Moving Average is 0.30, the 200-day Moving Average is 0.36, and the 7-day is noted at 0.30. Moving averages can help spot trends and price reversals. They may also be used to help find support or resistance levels. Moving averages are considered to be lagging indicators meaning that they confirm trends. A certain stock may be considered to be on an uptrend if trading above a moving average and the average is sloping upward. On the other side, a stock may be considered to be in a downtrend if trading below the moving average and sloping downward.

Traders may be relying in part on technical stock analysis. Mongolia Growth Group Ltd (YAK.V) currently has a 14-day Commodity Channel Index (CCI) of -165.23. Despite the name, CCI can be used on other investment tools such as stocks. The CCI was designed to typically stay within the reading of -100 to +100. Traders may use the indicator to determine stock trends or to identify overbought/oversold conditions. A CCI reading above +100 would imply that the stock is overbought and possibly ready for a correction. On the other hand, a reading of -100 would imply that the stock is oversold and possibly set for a rally.

At the time of writing, the 14-day ADX for Mongolia Growth Group Ltd (YAK.V) is 38.74. Many technical chart analysts believe that an ADX value over 25 would suggest a strong trend. A reading under 20 would indicate no trend, and a reading from 20-25 would suggest that there is no clear trend signal. The ADX is typically plotted along with two other directional movement indicator lines, the Plus Directional Indicator (+DI) and Minus Directional Indicator (-DI). Some analysts believe that the ADX is one of the best trend strength indicators available.

The Relative Strength Index (RSI) is one of multiple popular technical indicators created by J. Welles Wilder. Wilder introduced RSI in his book “New Concepts in Technical Trading Systems” which was published in 1978. RSI measures the magnitude and velocity of directional price movements. The data is represented graphically by fluctuating between a value of 0 and 100. The indicator is computed by using the average losses and gains of a stock over a certain time period. RSI can be used to help spot overbought or oversold conditions. An RSI reading over 70 would be considered overbought, and a reading under 30 would indicate oversold conditions. A level of 50 would indicate neutral market momentum. The 14-day RSI is currently sitting at 42.82, the 7-day is at 34.72, and the 3-day is spotted at 27.96 for Mongolia Growth Group Ltd (YAK.V).



Mongolia focuses on challenges of people with disabilities www.theubpost.mn

The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection organized a meeting to share successful practices of providing jobs to people living with disabilities on Sunday, in observation of International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The annual observance was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

This year’s theme for International Day of Persons with Disabilities was “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all”. The theme reiterated the 2030 agenda of leaving no one behind and encouraged the development of a society that is sustainable and resilient.

At the meeting, representatives from the ministry, the Mongolian Employers’ Federation, and other organizations thanked and gave certificates of appreciation to Nomin Holdings, Thermal Power Plant No.4, Gem International, Max Group, and Gobi Cashmere for providing permanent employment to disabled people.

Head of the Department of Population Department at the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection S.Tungalagtamir introduced state policies and ongoing projects aimed to support employment and protect the rights of people living with disabilities. She stated that the government approved the National Program on Human Rights, Involvement and Support for the Development of Persons with Disabilities last week and underlined it as a major achievement.

“The program strives to make real changes to the quality of life of people living with disabilities by raising public awareness and knowledge about them at all social platforms, include their challenges in state and local policies and decisions, improve services dedicated to them, and boost sectoral cooperation in this area. First of all, we want to provide inclusive health, education and employment services as these are the most urgent challenges for people with disabilities. We also want to make public transportation, roads, homes, public offices and venues more accessible to them, as well as upgrade related statistics,” S.Tungalagtamir said.

According to 2016 studies by the National Statistics Office, there were 100,993 people living with disabilities in Mongolia, out of which 43,083 had been born disabled and 10,740 were children under the age of 17. Reportedly, 19,563 people with disabilities were employed and 2,727 of them had reached the retirement age.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection reported that it has been taking progressive measures to secure the rights of people with disabilities. For example, over the past two years, it established an unofficial council to protect their rights, approved a document related to their employment, developed a regulation for the Disabled Children’s Health, Education and Social Protection Committee, and received government approval to form a sub-council for the protection of the right of the disabled.

The ministry stated that its newly-launched My Help 104, the very first local special hotline for residents with disabilities, has been showing good results. Officials plan to carry out projects to increase the population of disabled persons with jobs, change employers’ attitude towards people with disabilities, and improve related legal environment in the near future. Looking at details of disabled people with jobs, 41.7 percent of them run their own business, 35.7 percent have jobs with stable salary, 20.1 percent work without a salary at small industries and service companies, 1.6 percent are employers, and 0.3 percent are a member of a fellowship or cooperative.

Through the Program to Support Employment of Persons with Disabilities, 1,980 out of 4,626 people with disabilities who applied found jobs in 2016 and a total of 2.3 billion MNT was spent by the program. A total of 4.2 billion MNT was budgeted for the project this year. As of July, 951 people had applied and 827 new workplaces were created with 1.6 billion MNT, according to the ministry.



PM gives assignments in relation to construction www.montsame.mn

Ulaanbaatar/MONTSAME/ On December 4, Prime Minister U. Khurelsukh met Kh. Badelkhan, Construction and Urban Development Minister, and representatives of the sector, including J.Hicheengui, General Director of ‘State Housing Corporation’ state-owned industry, P. Bayarkhuu, deputy governor of Ulaanbaatar city, and E. Anar, general architector and head of the General Planning Office of Ulaanbaatar City, B. Batbayar, CEO of Development Bank of Mongolia as well as others.

At the meeting, they shared views on policy priorities of the sector and issues required to be resolved. The PM was briefed about present situation of mortgage loan issuance, the number of citizens who received mortgage loans, experience of foreign countries on mortgage loan and possible options of mortgage loan issuance.

Afterwards, he assigned the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development (MCUD) to formulate a new version of amending the mortgage loan regulations, in collaboration with the Bank of Mongolia and the Ministry of Finance, and report at the Cabinet Meeting within this month. 

He also instructed to resolve a financing worth MNT56.8 billion to complete unfinished flats for 1562 households, which is being constructed under the order of the State Housing Corporation, and put it into utilization in 2018.

Moreover, the MCUD and Ministry of Finance were obliged to accelerate construction of temporary accommodation flats for 1008 households in Nogoonnuur, 9th khoroo of Sukhbaatar district with Chinese non-refundable assistance worth CNY 350 million, for re-planning ger area. 

They also were reported about extension works of drainage system in aimags and process of building ‘micro sub-unit’ or ‘service center’ with partial engineering system to be constructed within the framework of re-planning of ger area.
In the end, the PM expressed his support for MCUD’s proposal on establishing ‘Urban planning, science and planning institute’ which will be responsible for formulating a general plan on population settlement development.