|Frontier's "Invest Mongolia Tokyo 2018"||Frontier Securities||Tokyo Japan|
|"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award||ICC WTO||London|
Mongolian National State Emergency Committee (NSEC) led by Deputy Prime Minister U.Enkhtuvshin convened an urgent meeting on the current winter situation in Uvs province on 30 January.
Temperatures in Uvs have gone as low as minus 52 degrees Celsius, while snow measuring up to 31 cm is blanketing 18 soums of the province, threatening the livelihoods of herders who depend entirely on livestock for food, transportation and income. This is considered as an extreme 'zud' situatiion.
Uvs province has 17173 herders and 12909 livestock. Currently, severe winter has been killed 5900 livestock, namely: seven camels, 187 horses, 312 cows, 2122 sheep and 3209 goats.
Mongolia's balance of payments (BoP) totaled 811.9 million USD in 2017, after experiencing a deficit for the past four years.
In 2016, the BoP deficit was 18.2 million USD. The nation's financial account balance had a 2.4 billion surplus, but the capital account balance had a 907.1 million USD deficit in 2017.
As stated in the Bank of Mongolia's Financial Stability Report, the current account deficit was financed with foreign loans and foreign currency reserves from 2013 to 2016, but it was financed with foreign direct investment in 2017.
As of the third quarter of 2017, foreign direct investment totaled 702 million USD, the majority of which came from Canada (285 million USD). Luxembourg invested 155 million USD in 2017, a record investment compared to previous years.
Seventy-nine percent of 2017's investment was made in mining.
Mongolia slaps $155M tax bill on Turquoise Hill's mine; NGO claims company owes more www.business.financialpost.com
Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. and parent Rio Tinto Group’s ambition to build one of the world’s largest copper and gold mines, called Oyu Tolgoi, in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, has hit a number of stumbling blocks in recent weeks.
Last week, Jean-Sebastien Jacques, the chief executive of Rio Tinto, flew to Mongolia’s capital city to meet with prime minister Ukhnaagiin Khurelsuk about how to build “win-win” partnerships.
One looming dispute is the Mongolian government’s claim that Oyu Tolgoi owes an additional US$155 million in taxes — the mine’s second tax dispute since 2014.
In another setback, earlier this month, Turquoise Hill also declared a ‘force majeure’ after a convoy of trucks hauling concentrate from Oyu Tolgoi to China, where it is smelted, was disrupted by protests at the two countries’ border.
Jacques did not announce solutions to either problems, but his visit may not have been fruitless. He announced a working group with the Mongolian government to address issues such as the high funding costs of Oyu Tolgoi, power solutions and how to enable more money to flow to the town next to the mine. The company also announced opening a new office in the country.
By Tuesday, the border protests, which were unrelated to Oyu Tolgoi, had reportedly cooled off.
But if the past is any indication, Mongolia is unlikely to collect $155 million in taxes.
“Oyu Tolgoi LLC has paid all taxes and charges required,” Turquoise Hill Resources stated in a press release.
A company spokesman said it has 30 days to appeal the Mongolian tax audit assessment.
In 2014, appealing proved a successful route for the company. That June, Turquoise Hill announced a Mongolian tax audit had found US$127 million in “unpaid taxes, penalties and disallowed entitlements” for three years, 2010 to 2013, associated with the initial development of the Oyu Tolgoi mine.
By September, an appeal to the Tax Dispute Resolution Council of the Mongolian General Taxation Department slashed the amount owed by more than 75 per cent to US$30 million.
Now, the tax feud centers on withholding taxes: Oyu Tolgoi LLC did not pay taxes from 2013 to 2015 on the management fee taken by Rio Tinto and Turquoise Hill, and the Mongolian government believes it is obligated to do so, among other issues, according to an analyst report released earlier this month by Canaccord Genuity’s Dalton Bareto.
“We believe this situation will likely play out in a similar manner (to 2014),” Bareto wrote, noting he spoke to management.
By one calculation, however, Turquoise Hill owes much more in taxes and not just to the Mongolian government. The Netherlands-based Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations, also known as SOMO, will issue a report on Wednesday finding that Turquoise Hill lobbied the Mongolian government for concessions that have saved the company hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes and other payments, according to a source.
In addition, the report will also say that the company structured its financing in a way that allowed it to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes in Canada, where the company is based and is traded, the source said.
In a statement Tuesday, the company challenged the report as “inaccurate or unsubstantiated”, but declined to comment on details.
“Turquoise Hill and Oyu Tolgoi are committed to tax transparency. Turquoise Hill believes that our tax practices are not only compliant with local laws, international standards and voluntary commitments … Oyu Tolgoi’s operation is making substantial contributions to Mongolia’s economy and long-term development,” the company said in a statement.
In 2016, the Oyu Tolgoi mine paid approximately US$189 million in taxes, according to the website for Oyu Tolgoi LLC. Meanwhile, Turquoise Hill reported $1.2 billion in revenue and $210 million in net income, according to the company’s 2016 annual report.
The vast mining operation in the middle of the Gobi Desert, about 80 kilometres north of the Chinese border, is currently operating as an open pit.
Turquoise Hill is engaged in a years-long process of developing an underground portion that will bring development costs to $12 billion. The financing has come from a number of sources including a massive $4.4 billion deal inked in 2016 that includes Export Development Canada, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Finance Corporation, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation of Australia.
That underground portion contains 80 per cent of the mine’s value, and is not expected to begin production for several years and will not reach peak copper production until 2025, according to disclosures to investors by Turquoise Hill....
Executives at Toyota Motor have released the company's annual global unit sales for 2017. It shows that Toyota and its group have fallen to 3rd place, trailing behind Volkswagen at number 1, and the Renault group at number 2.
Company officials say the Toyota group including Daihatsu Motor and Hino Motors sold over 10.3 million vehicles last year. That's a 2.1 percent increase from 2016.
Germany's Volkswagen and its group topped the list for the second-straight year. It sold 10.7 million units for a gain of over 4 percent from 2016.
The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group sold 10.6 million vehicles. All three automakers sold a record number of vehicles in 2017.
Analysts say Toyota's position sank as it failed to boost sales in China compared to its rivals. The carmaker lost the top slot in 2016 for the first time in 5 years.
The US Treasury published the ‘Kremlin list’ on Tuesday. It includes officials and tycoons with political and business ties to the Russian government. But some were blacklisted just for being billionaires.
Worth $1.1 billion, Volozh is the founder and CEO of the Russia’s largest IT company, Yandex. The company is Google’s main rival on the Russian market, offering various services like a search engine, smartphone apps, its own in-house maps and navigation systems, music streaming service, and taxi service. Yandex is a private and publicly-traded company, and has no state participation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin made a public visit to the Yandex Moscow office in September for the company’s 20th anniversary. Does that count as ‘Kremlin meddling’ in company affairs? That seems to have been the logic in Washington.
Sergey Galitsky is the founder and CEO of Magnit – Russia’s biggest supermarket chain and cosmetics retailer with more than 14,000 stores. His net worth is $4.4 billion, according to Forbes estimates.
Magnit is also a publicly-traded company without Russian state participation, with an IPO in 2006. Galitsky is a huge soccer fan, and owns the soccer team FC Krasnodar and a soccer academy. He has invested about $460 million in Krasnodar’s new stadium.
The new stadium was visited by Putin, where Galitsky shook hands with the president. That must have been enough to make the US Treasury’s blacklist.
Oleg Tinkov is the founder and owner of Tinkoff Bank, which has issued 6.4 million credit cards and has an almost 10-percent market share in Russia. Working online mostly, Tinkoff claims to be the largest internet bank in the world. Oleg Tinkov is worth $2.4 billion, according to Forbes.
Tinkov is famous in Russia for his flamboyant behavior, but has repeatedly said he is apolitical. He claims he saw Putin only once in his life in 2000. Some mainstream media outlets have even branded Tinkov as opposition to the Kremlin.
Russia’s most influential tech investor, Yuri Milner was an early investor in Facebook and Twitter. He is worth $3.5 billion, and has interests in Chinese tech companies, including online retailers Alibaba and JD.com, and smartphone producer Xiaomi.
Yuri Milner, founder of DST Global © Sputnik
“While growing up in the Soviet Union, my father’s advice was ‘stay away from politics.’ My father was a wise man, and ‘staying away from politics’ was one of the reasons I became a scientist early on. I have been following this principle ever since,” Milner said in a Forbes interview last September.
Following his father's advice didn't help the entrepreneur stay out of the crosshairs of the US government.
Kaspersky Lab is one of the largest antivirus producers in the world. Founder Evgeny Kaspersky’s net worth is $1.3 billion.
Kaspersky Lab has long been targeted by Washington. The company’s software has faced bans over alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.
The company has fiercely denied it conducts espionage on behalf of the Russian government. Kaspersky has said he would move the company out of Russia if he was asked to spy for the Kremlin.
“They are just hitting at everything Russian. Since we are working there, we got hit, too” he said in response to US government action against his company.
Following Cabinet's report on its first 100 days, on January 29, Minister of Mining and Heavy Industry D. Sumiyabazar briefed journalists on Mongolia's representation at the 2018 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and the current state of gasoline prices.
Minister D. Sumiyabazar said, “Davos 2018 determined directions for 2018, including the mining sector. I met with representatives from 40 nations that are mostly mining producers. It is predicted that commodity reserves will increase by one million tons, because 40 million electric cars are going to be produced by 2030.
The Government of Mongolia and the Mining Ministry stated that Mongolia needs a strategic partner to discover reserves of rare earth minerals.”
He spoke about gasoline prices and said, “The cabinet and the Mining Ministry will work on preventing retail price pressures for consumers. I spoke with Russian Deputy Minister for Industry and Energy Arkady Dvorkovich about keeping gasoline prices stable.”
He also answered questions regarding the Tavan Tolgoi project. He noted that the ministry will submit proposals to Cabinet and Parliament with careful consideration and research.
He said, "We will focus on enhancing the mine’s efficacy and benefits for the public."
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ In 2017 financial account balance of Mongolia had a surplus of USD 2.4 billion.
Whereas, current and capital account balance had a deficit of USD 907.1 million. As mentioned in a financial stability report, current account deficit had been mainly covered by foreign loans and resource of foreign exchange reserves in 2013-2016, but it was funded by direct investment inflow in 2017.
Bank of Mongolia reported that as of the third quarter of 2017, foreign direct investment to Mongolia was USD 702 million, among which USD 285 million from Canada and USD 155 million from Luxembourg. 79 percent of the foreign direct investment was made in mining sector.
Mongolia sits between Siberia and China and harbors the northern tip of the Gobi desert, desert plains and its legendary steppes. These inhospitable environments do not easily lend themselves to the cultivation of crops. In response to their harsh surroundings, Mongolians developed a society around animal husbandry that has served them well over the millennia. Unfortunately, the introduction of the Soviet system in the early twentieth century, combined with an increase in adverse weather conditions due to climate change, have damaged sustainable agriculture in Mongolia. Today, the Mongolian government, in conjunction with other nations and international aid organizations, is fighting to make Mongolia self-sustaining agriculturally.
Seventy-three percent of the land in Mongolia is used for agriculture and makes up 13.3 percent of the country’s GDP. Less than 1 percent of that land is arable. This land is located mostly in the north, where the river valleys allow for irrigation. Some land in the center of the country is used for the cultivation of wheat and barley, or hardy vegetables such as potatoes, cabbage and carrots. Some fruits and vegetables are grown in and around cities.
The European Commission on International Cooperation and Development sees these small-scale gardening projects in and around cities as an excellent way to help Mongolians improve their food security. Because much of Mongolia’s fruits and vegetables are imported, the urban poor of Mongolia’s cities have less access to these foods. To increase sustainable agriculture in Mongolia and access to food, the EC helped to construct glass and plastic greenhouses in and around cities in Mongolia. The growing season for the beneficiaries increased from six to nine months and 3,000 people are now able to sustain a balanced diet.
Small-scale projects like the one led by the EC are helpful to a few people in a small area, but in time can grow to impact and influence people on a larger scale. Time is not on Mongolia’s side. Climate change has increased the presence and power of two major enemies of sustainable agriculture in Mongolia: desertification and dzuds, extended periods of harsh winter conditions.
Since 2006, the FAO has funded and supported projects to increase the sustainability of agriculture in Mongolia. Most of the funding goes to the livestock industry. The FAO, along with the Mongolian government, wants to increase the security and sustainability of herders and their livestock. This is based on both economic and historical precedent; 72.6 percent of land in Mongolia is used as pasture.
In 2009-2010, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 9.2 million heads of livestock, or 25 percent of the Mongolian livestock population, were killed due to a dzud. FAO emergency funds for the Mongolian project were used to protect the livestock in the seven most affected provinces immediately following the dzud and help replace the animals that were lost.
Urbanization and mining also contribute to the loss of pasture lands. Not all farmers are able to obtain assistance from the state after the loss of their animals during dzuds or the average harsh climate of Mongolia. Many of these farmers and their family are forced to move to cities to find work, food, and shelter.
Climate is not the only factor in the loss of farmers or pastoral lands. The edges of the Gobi desert are slowly creeping forward deeper into Mongolia, affecting the grasslands near deserts. Changes in weather patterns often whittle away at the grassland and help spread the desert soil and sands further. Tin, copper, coal, tungsten and gold are just a few materials that lie beneath the surface of Mongolia. The mining has been useful in improving the economy but is detrimental to the environment and sustainable agriculture in Mongolia.
Sustainable agriculture in Mongolia will improve with time. By working with different international bodies the government has proved that it wants to improve this sector of the economy. Food security and sustainability will also improve the quality of life in Mongolia. Hopefully, once again the families of the steppes will be able to live self-sustaining lives, now in conjunction with the Mongolians of the cities.
– Nick DeMarco...
China's four major power generation groups have asked the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic regulator, to increase coal supplies and regulate, reduce coal prices after snowstorms sweeping across central and southern provinces led to major losses for the thermal power sector.
The four top utilities, China Huaneng Group, China Datang Corportion, China Huadian Corporation and State Power Investment Corporation, said in a joint report they are facing pressure due to tight gas and coal supplies and have warned of potential heating and electricity shortages as blizzards continued to buffet some central and southern provinces.
The high coal prices have led to a 40.2 billion yuan ($6.3 billion) loss in the coal power sector for the country's top five power generation groups, they said.
China's thermal coal futures hit record highs on Monday, with the most-active futures CZCcv1 reaching 679.6 yuan, the highest since the contract began in 2015.
Thermal coal futures have jumped over 10 percent this year, extending a month long rally, as utilities rush for supplies to deal with soaring power demand and cold weather swept across swathes of the nation.
Analysts believe the price rally was caused by the countrywide blizzard, which has blocked highways and boosted demand for heating.
Wu Lixin, deputy director of the strategic planning research department at the China Coal Research Institute, said the price rally won't ease for the moment considering the need to ensure a warm winter for the public during the upcoming Lunar New Year starting Feb 16.
"It is challenging to temper a month long rally in coal prices. China is currently at its peak period for heating and the government needs to ensure a trouble-free holiday," she said.
However, Wu expected the coal prices to fall eventually as they were already beyond what the country's utilities could afford.
China has made great efforts to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants, with emissions of half of the country's coal-fired power plants similar to those of gas-fired power plants, she said.
Coal is expected to remain the primary energy source in China, making up some 50 percent of total energy consumption in 2030, unless there are any significant breakthroughs in renewable energy storage technology, she added.
Chinese utilities are under particular pressure this winter because of low natural gas supplies after Beijing ordered millions of households and some industrial plants in northern China to change to gas heating from coal as part of its war on pollution.
The prices of 5,500 kilocalorie coal in the northern ports has risen to 740 yuan per metric ton, up 130 yuan per ton compared with the same period last year.
With the upcoming Spring Festival and potential large-scale extreme weather, there are concerns heating could not be ensured for households.
Local authorities in Jiangsu asked utilities to ensure sufficient power for heating because of bad weather and snarled transportation last week. The province has 7.46 million tons of coal inventory, enough for 13 days of demand, but seven utilities have less than seven days of stock, it said....
Prime Minister U. Khurelsukh reported on his first 100 days in office on January 29, joined by members of his Cabinet.
Minister of Finance Ch. Khurelbatar said, “It is the fifth day of meeting with the International Monetary Fund working group. We reached an agreement on waiving personal income tax increases at all levels. We are now working on making amendments to the Law on General Taxation, along with Law on Corporate Income Tax and the Law on Personal Income Tax.”
The premier noted that the government will grant reimbursement for January tax increases that were paid. He added, “We will give the public an opportunity for men to voluntarily retire at age 60 and at age 55 for women. It has been decided that the retirement age will be extended by three months per year.”