|Frontier's "Invest Mongolia Tokyo 2018"||Frontier Securities||Tokyo Japan|
|"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award||ICC WTO||London|
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.”
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The Ministry of Foreign Affairs plans to organize the regular trilateral meeting on the Mongolia-Russia-China Economic Corridor Program within the first quarter of 2018 in Ulaanbaatar.
The National Working Group on the implementation of the Economic Corridor Program held its regular meeting on January 26 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Chaired by B.Battsetseg, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, the meeting was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Road and Transport Development, the Ministry of Energy, the National Development Agency, the Communications and Information Technology Authority, the Customs Authority, the General Agency for Specialized Inspection, the Agency for Standardization and Metrology, the Development Bank and Erdenes Mongol LLC.
At the meeting, the government officials discussed Mongolia’s policy and position towards the Central Railway Corridor and Central Road Corridor priority projects within the Economic Corridor Program.
The officials also exchanged views on determination of feasible trilateral projects on electrical grid renovation and measures to be taken until the trilateral meeting.
The National Working Group was formed pursuant to a Prime Ministerial ordinance issued on May 30, 2017.
Anglo American (LON:AAL) has officially left the coal sector in South Africa with the sale of its New Largo mine to a group of black-controlled companies.
Seriti Resources Pty Ltd., Coalzar Pty Ltd. and South Africa’s Industrial Development are paying Corp. are paying $71 million for the asset, Anglo said in the statement.
The operation, in the eastern province of Mpumalanga, has an estimated 585 million tonnes of coal below ground, most of it earmarked to supply state-owned power utility Eskom Holdings, South Africa’s biggest coal buyer and provider of almost all of the nation’s power.
The energy giant has said it wants suppliers to be black-controlled, as South Africa pushes companies to boost black involvement in the economy to make up for discrimination during apartheid.
Partly because of that pressure, Anglo has been selling coal assets that exclusively supply to Eskom, including New Vaal, New Denmark and Kriel collieries. Those assets were acquired last year by Seriti, which is led by Mike Teke, chairman of South Africa’s Chamber of Mines.
Thanks to the massive assets sale kicked off in 2016, Anglo — which was founded in South Africa in 1917 — came out in good shape from the recent and sharp rout in metal prices that hurt the mining industry since late 2015 until early 2017.
Last year, the company not only posted its first annual net profit in five years, but chief executive Mark Cutifani has also announced there was no need to offload any more assets, even some iron ore, and nickel operations he had previously declared non-core.
Cutifani, however, continued trying to reduce Anglo’s exposure to both thermal coal and South Africa, as the country recently approved a new mining charter, which imposes new taxes and ownership requirements.
New Largo’s deal is subject to regulatory approval and expected to close in the second half of 2018
ULAN BATOR, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Surgeons at the National Cancer Center of Mongolia successfully performed the nation's first liver transplant from a living donor on Sunday.
A team of 42 surgeons transplanted a section of liver from a 20-year old man into his 42-year old uncle. The surgery lasted for seven hours with support from doctors of the Samsung Medical Center of South Korea.
According to sources, conditions of both donor and recipient are stable.
Liver cancer is now the most lethal health problem in Mongolia. The rate of liver cancer in Mongolia is six times higher than the global average.
On average, 1,950 people are diagnosed with liver cancer annually in Mongolia, and 1,600 of them die after one or two years, according to statistics.
During the last two years, over 160 people with liver cancer had liver transplantation surgery in India and South Korea. They paid 11,000-15,000 U.S. dollars for the procedure, a big financial burden for most of the patients. Enditem
A 300 million yuan ($47 million) three-year corporate bond has been issued on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE), becoming the first official bond related to China’s massive Belt and Road infrastructure initiative.
It was introduced by privately owned cement maker, Hongshi Holding Group. Proceeds are allocated for the purchase of equipment for a cement plant in Laos with an expected daily capacity of 5,000 tons.
According to an SSE press release, Hongshi priced the three-year notes at par to yield 6.34 percent and the offering was 2.67 times covered.
Market participants say the official label suggests that China's regulators are seeking more control over the use of the term. “It is just a new label under the CSRC (China Securities Regulatory Commission),” a source close to Hongshi's deal told CNBC. “It does not seem to bring pricing benefit for issuers and it doesn't guarantee that the proceeds can be used offshore.”
In the past few years, there have been multiple self-labeled BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) and Silk Road bonds from Chinese banks and corporate issuers, both offshore and onshore.
Despite the CSRC's support for the government initiative, the format is unlikely to become mainstream because of restrictions on cross-border capital flows, market participants claimed.
“We don't feel BRI bonds will go big, as offshore use of the proceeds remains an issue,” said a Shenzhen-based syndicate banker.
The Chinese Shenzhen Stock Exchange is also set to embrace its first BRI bonds. Last month, Asia's biggest warehouse operator, Global Logistic Properties (GLP), announced that it is obtaining approval from the CSRC to issue up to 12 billion yuan (almost $2 billion) of Belt and Road corporate bonds in Shenzhen. It said the proceeds would be used to repay debt linked to GLP's recent acquisition of logistics assets in Europe.
Bitcoin investors should remember issues like high volatility, possible price manipulation and data loss or data theft, according to Markus Mueller, global head of the Chief Investment Office at Deutsche Asset Management.
In an interview with Bloomberg, he said that Deutsche Bank does not advise investing in cryptocurrencies at present. “We do not recommend that. It’s only for investors who invest speculatively,” Mueller said, adding: “There is a realistic risk of total loss.”
According to him, recent price increases reflect a lot of imagination, driven by the current situation in the market. There is hardly any return scope left in other asset classes such as fixed income.
More regulation, security and transparency is required in order to establish cryptocurrencies as some kind of asset class in the future, Mueller believes.
“Important issues such as liability and documentation are unclear. We are still at the very beginning.”
Companies that issue cryptocurrencies should work together with regulators, according to the banker. “When security and trust are created, cryptocurrencies can be assessed like established asset classes. It is possible that the governance required will exist in five to 10 years from now,” he said.
Mueller stated that he did not understand why so many followers of cryptocurrencies see something negative in regulation, which protects against abuse and crime.
Traditional money is supported by the underlying economic power of a country, according to the investment chief, and gold is a bit more abstract but is at least of a “physical nature.” Cryptocurrencies would only function as a store of value if the issuing companies had a sustainable business model, he said.
DAVOS - Participants of the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting, which closed Friday, have turned to the Belt and Road Initiative for cures for the fractured world and to create a shared future.
They expected the initiative to tie together the destiny of people living in different countries and regions through further specific actions to promote connectivity, improve living standards, boost free trade, among others.
Proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative is aimed at promoting the connectivity of Asian, European and African continents and their adjacent seas and realizing diversified, independent, balanced and sustainable development in the countries involved.
Embracing the spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit, the initiative has gained support from more than 100 countries and international organizations.
"The Belt and Road is the best place to start working on the fractures in the world and creating connectivity," Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said in a panel discussion.
He said the Belt and Road can link countries and create shared prosperity, which coincides with the theme of this year's gathering -- creating a shared future in a fractured world.
"We feel that something concerning the fractured world is discussed in Davos, Belt and Road is probably the best way to address this," said Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Russia's sovereign wealth fund with a reserved capital of $10 billion.
Chan Chun Sing, Singapore's minister in Prime Minister's Office, said the impact of the Belt and Road Initiative is threefold. Firstly, it connects markets, facilitates trade and improves people's livelihoods. Secondly, it catalyses local economies. Thirdly, it sets a system for the global economy.
Mutually beneficial projects
With regard to specific projects under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, Abbasi said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a "visible part."8 Dmitriev said that from the Russian point of view, the time cost of cross-border transportation of goods has been markedly reduced thanks to the completion of a bridge linking China's Tongjiang city in the northeastern Heilongjiang province and the Russian town of Nizhneleninskoye.
Calling for "significant collaboration," US businessman Michael Burke said: "The size and scale of infrastructure projects along the Belt and Road cannot be done by any one country, neither private sector alone or public sector alone."
Burke is the chairman and chief executive officer of AECOM, an American firm which designs, builds, finances and operates infrastructure assets in more than 150 countries and regions.
Burke said his company has been involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, collaborating with state-owned enterprises in various countries in an effort to combine "their expertise together with our private expertise."
As regards the strategy of investing in infrastructure along the Belt and Road, Jin Liqun, president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), an international lender created by China that has attracted 84 members so far, laid out three basic criteria -- financial sustainability, environment impact and local support.
"We would be very much willing to consider any projects proposed by member countries, but we have to look at the basic requirements of those proposed projects." Jin said.
Jin said the AIIB would finance infrastructure projects in ways that will neither "leave a big footprint" on the environment, nor create problems for local communities.
In addition to infrastructure projects, WEF participants were also interested in seeing the Belt and Road Initiative play a more prominent role in strengthening financial collaboration among relevant countries.
"Growing collaboration in the financial and investment sphere is an integral part of this cross-linking of integration initiatives," said Sergey Gorkov, chairman of Russia's Vnesheconombank, a state-owned development bank
The integration of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union will tap the potential of national, regional as well as international development institutions operating in the Eurasian region, he added.
Proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2014 to draw closer economic ties among former republics of the Soviet Union, the Eurasian Economic Union is a regional cooperation mechanism that includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia....