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In response to sanctions from Washington, Venezuela has started reporting its oil prices in Chinese yuan, going against the international trend of listing prices in US dollars.
On Friday, the weekly Oil Ministry bulletin published its prices for September in yuan, rather than the US dollar. The price-per-barrel posted on Friday was 306.26 yuan, or $46.76 on the more commonly-used exchange rate, up from last week’s price of 300.91 yuan, or $46.15.
“This format is the result of the announcement made on September 7th by the President [Nicolas Maduro]... that Venezuela will implement new strategies to free the country from the tyranny of the dollar,” the Venezuelan Oil Ministry said in a statement.
The decision to move to Chinese currency was made last week as a way to get around the sanctions imposed on Venezuela by the US government in August, which froze some Venezuelan assets and prohibited American citizens from doing business with the country.
This has hurt Venezuela’s oil exports at a time when the country is facing a severe economic crisis. At the time, the White House said the sanctions were “carefully calibrated to deny the Maduro dictatorship a critical source of financing”.
“The market is dominated by transactions with the US dollar, and we must develop other ways to conduct international transactions,” Finance Minister Ramon Lobo told VTV earlier.
Venezuela’s decision follows plans announced by China to start a crude oil futures contract priced in yuan and convertible into gold, which could lead to the emergence of a new Asia-based crude oil benchmark.
As China is the world’s biggest crude buyer, the new contract may allow exporters to bypass American sanctions by trading oil in yuan, something that has interested countries such as Russia and Iran.
“In 2012, Iran began to accept yuan for its oil and gas payments, followed by Russia in 2015,” political writer Dan Glazebrook wrote in a column for RT in June.
“If this takes off, this could literally spell the beginning of the end of US global power. The dollar is the world's leading reserve currency, in the main, only because oil is currently traded in dollars. Countries seeking foreign exchange reserves as insurance against crises within their own currencies tend to look to the dollar precisely because it is effectively ‘convertible’ into oil, the world's number one commodity.”
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) is in discussions with Lyft Inc about a possible investment in the ride-hailing company, potentially deepening an existing partnership between the two firms, a person familiar with the talks said on Thursday.
An injection of support from one of Silicon Valley’s largest companies could be a boost to Lyft as the No. 2 ride provider battles rival Uber Technologies Inc for market share.
It was not immediately clear how large an investment Alphabet might make. Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, reported there was at least some discussion of a $1 billion deal.
Alphabet and Lyft declined to comment.
In May, Alphabet’s self-driving car unit Waymo and Lyft announced a partnership to work together on developing self-driving technology; neither offered many details of the agreement.
Recently, Lyft has been in an expansion mode, saying in August that it was available in 40 U.S. states covering 94 percent of the country’s population.
Lyft raised $600 million in fresh funding in April, mostly from large global investment funds. The round valued the company at $7.5 billion, up from $5.5 billion at Lyft’s previous financing more than a year earlier.
Additional investment could further push off discussion of an initial public offering, which Lyft had planned likely for 2018, according to sources close to the company. Lyft previously planned not to raise any more funding prior to its IPO, the sources said.
Alphabet since 2013 has been an investor in Uber through its venture capital arm, known as GV. That relationship, though, became more complicated when Alphabet’s Waymo sued Uber this year for alleged theft of trade secrets.
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The political consultative meeting was held on September 14 in Ulaanbaatar between the Foreign Ministries of Mongolia and the Czech Republic.
The meeting was co-chaired by Sh.Odonbaatar, Director of the Policy and Planning Department of the Mongolian Foreign Ministry, and Ivan Jancarek, Junior Deputy Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic.
The parties discussed cooperation goals to be implemented in near future in the political, trade, economic, agricultural and educational sectors. The sides also exchanged information on the international and regional state and the foreign policy of both countries. They expressed the willingness to broaden the mutually-beneficial cooperation.
The same day, Deputy Foreign Minister of Mongolia B.Battsetseg received Ivan Jancarek. They shared views on the bilateral relations and cooperation in political and economic sectors.
B.Battsetseg hopes that the annual Mongolia-Czech business forum would contribute to creating a new market and partnership between businessmen and companies.
In turn, Ivan Jancarek said he was pleased with a present level of the bilateral traditional relations and cooperation, and added the countries have a chance to expand the economic cooperation.
The decrease in the poverty rate in Mongolia is a slowly developing story that is trending in the direction of success. As of 2015 – due to Mongolia not publishing reports detailing its poverty statistics on a regular basis – the country’s poverty rate stood at 22 percent, which marks a decrease from its previous rate of 28 percent.
While this rate is still dramatically too high, it demonstrates that the correct efforts are being taken to decrease the poverty rate in Mongolia and should be studied and replicated in other impoverished countries.
Of the information available regarding the poverty rate in Mongolia, it is even more impressive that the country has managed to reduce its poverty rate in both its urban and, even more so, its rural environments. Urban poverty is typically easier to weed out because urban environments often see the benefits of economic development, which unfortunately take significantly longer to reach rural areas.
In the years 2012 and 2014, rural areas in Mongolia saw their poverty rates fall by nine percent and accounted for half the reduction in poverty during that two-year period. This decrease in poverty can be attributed to the spurt of economic growth that Mongolia has experienced over the past decade. Mainly due to the growth of its mining industry, Mongolia has enjoyed double digit growth rates, significantly helping to generate income for the country’s poor population.
That the Mongolian economy relies on mining, however, may prove to be its downfall and may force the poverty rate in Mongolia to once again take an upward turn. As the demand for coal and copper – Mongolia’s primary mineral resources – continues to fall, it will become imperative to develop a new industry to support the ongoing drop in its poverty rate.
Assisting in the reduction of poverty in Mongolia is the growth of its capital Ulaanbaatar. As it continues to gain significance in Asia and the rest of the world, it will allow for more money to be diverted to poverty reduction efforts and allow more jobs to be created. By creating more jobs in Mongolia’s capital city, people will increasingly be able to save money and eventually climb the economic ladder out of poverty.
ULAN BATOR, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- "The Secret History of the Mongols," one of the oldest surviving Mongolian-language historic and literary works, has been illustrated on felt applique and the artwork was presented to the public here Wednesday.
The work has been embroidered on 108 meters of felt applique with the help of special technology and decorative embroidery and was exhibited in Ulan Bator's central square.
It depicts Mongolian traditions such as animal herding and shamanistic rituals, as well as national ornaments, deer stones and petroglyphs.
The "Craftsmen of Khan Khentii" company in Umnudelger soum of Khentii province initiated the project and craftsmen from various Mongolian regions created it.
The main goal of the project is to pass on the tradition of felt embroidery applique, a traditional Mongolian handicraft, to future generations and to illustrate the lifestyle and traditions of the Chinggis Khaan era.
"For the applique we used 108 meters of felt, 110 meters of white fabric, 120 eyeleteers, 120 needles, 20,000 meters of camel wool thread and over 100 liters of paint in 32 colors," said J. Narantuya, an initiator of the project.
MINSK, 14 September (BelTA) – A Mongolian delegation led by the minister of food, agriculture and light industry is expected to pay a visit to Belarus on 16-20 September, spokesman for the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dmitry Mironchik told a press briefing on 14 September, BelTA has learned. The program of the visit envisages the fourth meeting of the joint Belarusian-Mongolian commission on trade and economic cooperation. The Belarusian part of the commission is chaired by Industry Minister Vitaly Vovk. The parties will discuss intensification of the bilateral trade and economic cooperation, including the expansion of Belarusian equipment supplies to Mongolia. The Mongolian delegation is set to meet with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Agriculture and Food Ministry, Bellegprom Concern, and visit a number of industrial and agro-industrial companies....
ULAANBAATAR, Sep 14 2017 (GGGI) - The Mongolian Sustainable Finance Forum 2017 was held on September 14 at Shangri-La Hotel in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, hosted by the Mongolian Bankers Association (MBA), in collaboration with MET, the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), Arig bank, IFC, BMZ, UN Environment, PAGE, UNDP-Biofin, the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Mongolia, the Financial Regulatory Commission, Ulaanbaatar City Mayor’s Office, and the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI).
The Mongolian Sustainable Finance Forum, now in its 5th year, is the largest gathering of national policy makers, business leaders, private sector investors, bankers, government officials, representatives of civic groups and international organizations. Under the theme of “Fostering Partnerships to Scale Up Sustainable Finance,” the one-day event brought together leading experts from a wide array of fields, including green development, sustainable finance, and innovative technologies.
Following successful editions of the Mongolian Sustainable Finance Forum 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, this year’s event attracted more than 350 participants, including key speakers, panelists and guests from around the world. Among the discussion topics were coming up with a roadmap and taking a collaborative approach to highlight sustainable finance in policies, regulations and non-banking operations, introducing and scaling up a pipeline of projects for the Mongolia Green Credit Fund (MGCF) to potential investors and reaffirming key partners’ commitment going forward, and highlighting the participation of the private sector in preparation for developing green projects.
The Government of Mongolia has expressed commitment to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the Paris Agreement and the banking sector unanimously agreed to accelerate sustainable finance initiative and green economy transition. There is an eminent need to build a partnership platform to discuss, review and innovate policies, actions and initiatives and identify possible areas for collaborative efforts. This year’s event featured a visual exhibition where private sector organizations could display their sustainable and green projects and activities to explore potential partnership opportunities.
“In Mongolia, investment required to finance the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) focusing on energy efficiency, renewable energy, buildings, waste and transportation amount to USD 7 billion. Apart from that, businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need an additional investment of USD 1.5 trillion in the coming five years mostly for construction and manufacturing sector projects. Additionally, tackling critical sustainability issues such as air and soil pollution requires financing equal to USD 4.3 billion. To fill in this investment gap, all partners – public, private and international organizations – need to act together,” said Mr. Orkhon. O, President of the Mongolian Bankers Association.
“GGGI will continue to provide tailor-made and result-oriented support for Mongolia, specifically in relation to the development of bankable projects and the operation of the Mongolia Green Credit Fund (MGCF), the first and the only dedicated financial vehicle for climate finance in the country. In addition, GGGI’s Mongolia team has been working closely with city and national government partners to improve the regulatory and institutional frameworks needed to launch a green, inclusive Public-Private-Partnership investment program. Once launched later this year, the program is expected to mobilize between USD 8-10 million to finance energy efficiency retrofit projects in Ulaanbaatar’s public buildings,” said Dr. Frank Rijsberman, Director-General of GGGI.
“Public and private partnerships play important roles in the development of green finance. Policy makers and financial regulators need to understand the needs of private investors just as much as private investors need to get familiar with Government systems and articulate their needs better. The two must come together,” said Ms. Mahua Acharya, Assistant Director-General and Head of the Investment and Policy Solutions Division.
With the support of GGGI and PAGE, the MGCF’s Business Plan has been developed and relevant legal and market assessments have been conducted. Based on the findings of the market assessment, the initially determined target markets for the fund are i) Cleaner Alternative Heating Solutions for the Ger Segment, ii) Energy Efficiency Products for Large Energy Consumers, and iii) Affordable Green Housing and Mortgage Schemes. Further preparatory activities will be conducted under the Readiness and Preparatory Program of the Green Climate Fund and the MGCF’s set up of operations will take place through 2017 with a view to commence MGCF’s operations by Q4 2017 to tackle air pollution in Ulaanbaatar city....
The gold price ended higher on Wednesday as safe haven demand returned and investors in exchange traded funds continued to buy the metal.
In another day of heavy volumes with just under 33m ounces changing hands on the Comex market in New York gold for delivery in December edged up to $1,333.60 an ounce. Gold dipped in the morning after unexpectedly strong jobs figures and a jump in inflation put a hike in US interest rates back in focus.
But the losses were reversed after North Korea responded to new sanctions by threatening to "sink" Japan and beat the US to death "like a rabid dog."
Despite the pullback from one-year highs over the last week, gold is still trading more than $120 an ounce higher than its summer lows struck in early July.
Hedge funds speculating in gold futures and options have built up long positions – bets on a rising price – for seven straight weeks and in a recent commentary Saxo Bank pointed out that the ratio between long and short futures positions is at a near five-year high at 20 longs per 1 short.
Gold bulls have also continued to pour money into gold-backed ETFs with September shaping up to be one of the best months of 2017.
In a new research note Capital Economics argues that the latest leg-up in the net-long positions "does not appear to have been driven by a revision of expectations of Fed tightening":
Instead, we think that the surge in net longs and the inflows into gold ETFs reflect safe-haven demand on the back of an escalation of the North Korean crisis.
ULAANBAATAR, Sep 14 2017 (IPS) - Rapid growth of a coal-fired economy often leads to environmental degradation, and Mongolia is a case in point.
Alongside an impressive 5.3 percent GDP growth rate, the country has also been witnessing its worst levels of air pollution and is now trying hard to shift to a greener economic model, said experts at the Mongolian Sustainable Finance Forum (MSFF) 2017 held Sep. 14 in the capital of Ulaanbaatar.
Speaking exclusively to IPS on the sidelines of the event, Frank Rijsberman, Director General of the Seoul-based Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), which is a key partner of the forum, said the forum had just helped establish a Mongolia Green Climate Fund which would see a flow of funds for projects that would bring in more green economic growth through cleaner energy, cleaner transport and projects to make Mongolia’s cities more sustainable.
“In Mongolia, the economy has grown very rapidly. That has led to some serious environmental issues. For example, Mongolia has used a lot of coal-based energy. As a result, it now has the worst level of air pollution in the region. If (the pollution in) in New Delhi is bad and worse in Beijing, then it’s the worst in Ulaanbaatar. In fact the country had to declare a national emergency over the brown haze,” said Rijsberman.
The MSSF, which is now in its 5th year, has been working to address this key challenge of poor air quality, besides other environmental issues such as renewable energy and sustainable cities. This year, the forum focused on roping in more partners and increasing the involvement and contribution of current ones in funding the green projects within Mongolia.
There were over 350 participants including national policy makers, business leaders, private sector investors, bankers, government officials, representatives of civic groups and international organizations. They came from a wide array of fields, including green development, sustainable finance, and innovative technologies.
“A key achievement of the forum this year was setting up of a new credit system called the Mongolia Green Credit Fund,” noted Rijsberman.
Launched later this year, the new credit fund is expected to mobilize between 8-10 million dollars to finance energy efficient projects in Ulaanbaatar’s public buildings.
Highlighting his own organization’s involvement in the MSFF and the new credit system, Rijsberman said that GGGI was trying to help Mongolia develop “bankable projects” for the funders.
Mongolia is one of the largest coal-producing countries in the world. According to statistics shared by the Mongolia‘s Ministry of Energy, over 80 percent of the country’s energy is coal-fired. Statistics by other research organisations such as Index Mundi show the air pollution level, measured at 2.5 pm (particulate matter), is dangerously high, while the country’s annual carbon emissions are 14 metric tonnes.
However, the government has committed to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the Paris Agreement by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 14 percent by 2030. Now, the country needs about seven billion dollars to finance its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) focusing on energy efficiency, renewable energy, buildings, waste and transportation. The banking sector – the main participant and organizer of the MSFF – has agreed to accelerate sustainable finance initiatives and a green economy transition.
“Apart from that (seven billion dollars), businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need an additional investment of 1.5 trillion dollars in the coming five years mostly for construction and manufacturing sector projects. Additionally, tackling critical sustainability issues such as air and soil pollution requires financing equal to 4.3 billion dollars. To fill in this investment gap, all partners – public, private and international organizations – need to act together,” said Orkhon O., President of the Mongolian Bankers Association.
Rijsberman said GGGI has helped develop MGCF’s Business Plan and conduct market assessment to identify the most crucial areas that require investment to achieve the NDCs. These areas are 1) Cleaner Alternative Heating Solutions for the Ger Segment, 2) Energy Efficiency Products for Large Energy Consumers, and 3) Affordable Green Housing and Mortgage Schemes.
There will be more such assessments in the future, with a special focus on tackling air pollution in Ulaanbaatar .
Asked how the Mongolian Sustainable Finance Forum is different from other Green Growth forums as the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF ) of Denmark or the Indonesia Sustainable Finance Forum, Rijsberman said that the forum in Mongolia was organized mainly by a group of banks including the Bank of Mongolia, Credit Bank, Trade & Development Bank and several others. So, it is a forum where investment is a high priority besides fostering partnerships.
“We are especially focusing on energy and sustainable cities and working closely with city and national government partners to improve the regulatory and institutional frameworks needed to launch a green, inclusive Public-Private-Partnership investment program,” he explained....
In a national effort to combat air pollution, Mongolia is joining forces with UN Environment by joining the BreatheLife campaign. It is the first country that in its entirety joins the campaign, taking a bold stand against the harmful health effects that air pollution has for its citizens.
Air pollution is high on the policy agenda in the Asian nation, with the average air quality in the capital Ulaanbaatar frequently measured as being 7.5 times higher than the World Health Organization’s safe limit.
The nation’s challenge with air quality includes persistent indoor sources of air pollution, such as the use of coal and wood-based cooking and heating methods, as well as outdoor sources like coal-fueled power plants and polluting sources of transportation, the burning of garbage, unpaved roads, and dust coming in from the desert
“Pollution is devastating for health, the economy and the climate. Mongolia is standing up to say that its citizens deserve a better deal,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment.
“We have the solutions, and more and more cities and countries around the world are starting to see that a focus on clean air is just that: a breath of fresh air.”
By joining the campaign, Mongolia commits to take real action to bring the air quality in urban area’s back to safe levels. Supported by the organizations behind BreatheLife, they will aim to; manage fuel and emission standards in the transport and energy sectors; limit usage of raw coal for household fuel; facilitate diffusion of leading low carbon technologies, products, systems, services, and infrastructure; support policy implementation and holistic knowledge on waste management; and inform, educate and empower citizen through public awareness campaigns.
To achieve the development of a long term sustainable and green economy, the government of Mongolia is supported by the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE). This partnership supports nations and regions in transitioning key economic sectors into a more sustainable model by addressing inequality, create green jobs, advance green industrial development, and improve skills, knowledge and institutional capacity.
Air pollution is an extremely urgent and widespread health risk, affecting nine out of ten people around the world. According to the World Health Organization, it contributes to the deaths of some 6.5 million people worldwide every year. Air pollution is also a significant contributor to climate change, threatening ecosystems around the world.