|Frontier's "Invest Mongolia Tokyo 2018"||Frontier Securities||Tokyo Japan|
|"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award||ICC WTO||London|
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday but signaled it still expects one more increase by the end of the year despite a recent bout of low inflation.
The Fed, as expected, also said it would begin in October to reduce its approximately $4.2 trillion in holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities acquired in the years after the 2008 financial crisis.
New economic projections released after the Fed’s two-day policy meeting showed 11 of 16 officials see the “appropriate” level for the federal funds rate, the central bank’s benchmark interest rate, to be in a range between 1.25 percent and 1.50 percent by the end of 2017, or 0.25 percentage points above the current level.
U.S. bond yields rose, pushing up the U.S. dollar after the Fed’s decision, but U.S. benchmark stock indexes were little changed.
U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields rose as far as 2.29 percent, the highest since Aug. 8., a move which helped push bank stock prices higher also.
“The Fed took another step on its path of beautiful normalization, announcing that the gradual balance sheet reduction will start next month and limiting revisions to both projections and policy guidance,” said Mohamed El-Erian, Chief Economic Adviser At Allianz, in California.
In its policy statement, the Fed cited low unemployment, growth in business investment, and an economic expansion that has been moderate but durable this year as justifying it’s decision. It added that the near-term risks to the economic outlook remained “roughly balanced” but said it was “closely” watching inflation.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a press conference after the end of the meeting that the fall in inflation this year remained a mystery, adding that the central bank was ready to change the interest rate outlook if needed.
“What we need to figure out is whether the factors that have lowered inflation are likely to prove persistent,” she said. If they do, “it would require an alteration of monetary policy,” Yellen said.
Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal is planning to increase its investment in Anglo American (LON:AAL) by as much as 1.5 billion pounds ($2 billion), which would make him the biggest shareholder in the diversified miner.
The acquisition of further shares will be done through Volcan Investments Ltd., the family trust of Agarwal, who is the founder and chairman of Vedanta (LON:VED), India’s largest mining company.
The move could give Agarwal a commanding voice at Anglo American, the world's fifth-largest miner by market value, which the businessman described earlier this year as “a great company with excellent assets and a strong board and management team who are executing a focused strategy.”
Volcan, Agarwal’s family trust, said it would acquire an additional £1.25bn to £1.5bn worth of Anglo shares, which would make the Indian tycoon the miner's biggest shareholder.
The investment comes on top of the 12.43% stake he’s built since March, when Volcan boosted its holding in Anglo American..
While some interpret today’s announcement as the beginning of an Anglo takeover, Agarwal has repeatedly said he doesn’t intend to take control of the company. A dubious statement, as the Indian tycoon already approached the London-listed miner last year with an offer to merge with Hindustan Zinc, a mining firm he controls through Vedanta.
But Anglo stopped the approach in its tracks saying a deal didn’t make sense and wasn’t feasible.
The planned investment is a major vote of confidence in Anglo American, which has staged an impressive turnaround since commodity prices began climbing last year. In February, the firm logged a profit of $1.6 billion for 2016, its first annual revenue in five years.
“We are encouraged by the performance of Anglo American since our original investment earlier this year,” Agarwal said in the statement. “The company has made good progress in its operational and financial performance and remains an attractive investment for our family trust,” he added.
In a separate statement, Vedanta confirmed the proposed investment, noting it has nothing to do with the planned acquisition of shares, which is “being made by Volcan alone” with the assistance of JPMorgan.
Anglo American appointed in June a new chairman, Stuart Chambers, who will take over Sir John Parker in November. Chambers, 61 and former chairman of UK chip designer Arm, is known for his active participation in the sale of several UK companies, including the one where he was chairman until 2016, as he oversaw the sale of Arm to Japan’s Softbank.
On September 20, 2017, 267,847 shares of 24 firms listed as Tier I, II, and III were traded. 11 firms’ shares increased, 7 decreased in price and 6 remained unchanged. Ikh Barilga JSC was the top performer, increasing 9.83 percent, whereas APU JSC was the worst performer, decreasing 8.12 percent.
The MSE ALL index decreased by 1.3 percent to stand at 1056.31, while the TOP20 stands at 18,327.56 points - a +47.1 percent increase YTD. The MSE market cap stands at MNT 2,053,457,415,986
Mongolia's central bank retained its policy rate at 12.0 percent "to stabilize inflation around the target rate and thereby facilitate the stability of the macroeconomic environment in the medium to long run."
The Bank of Mongolia (BM) cut its rate by 200 basis points in June, its first cut this year and the second cut following 100 point cut in December 2016 as the bank unwinds a 450-point rate hike in August 2016 to stabilize the exchange rate of the tugrik and preserve international reserves.
Mongolia's inflation rate rose to 5.0 percent in August from 3.4 percent in July, in line with its target of keeping inflation below 8 percent for 2017 to 2019.
Economic growth in Mongolia in the first half of the year topped forecasts, with growth at an annual rate of 5.3 percent, the BM said in a statement issued on September 19 and based on a meeting by the monetary policy committee on September 15.
"Furthermore, economic growth is expected to accelerate and inflation is expected to stabilize around the medium term target rate of 8 percent," the BM said, adding the economy is currently stimulated by improved external demand, relatively high prices of major export commodities and increased investment in the mining sector.
While the bank noted the positive sentiment in financial markets and the economy, it added that "further prospects are highly conditional on export prices and volume."
The exchange rate of the tugrik has been depreciating since July as it reverses a rise in the first 7 months of the year. The turgrik was trading around 2,465 to the U.S. dollar today, up 0.6 percent since the start of this year.
In May the IMF approved a 3-year, $434 million loan to Mongolia as part of a total financing package worth $5.5 billion that was supported by Japan, Korea, China, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, the fourth-largest package in IMF history.
The package supports the government's economic recovery program that is aimed at building foreign exchange reserves, putting debt on a sustainable path, strengthening the banking sector and securing sustainable growth.
With minerals, such as copper and coal, accounting for 90 percent of Mongolia's exports, the country was hit hard by the sharp drop in commodity prices and a slowdown in export markets.
Mongolia's Gross Domestic Product grew by an annual rate of 4.2 percent in the first quarter of this year, up from 1 percent in the fourth quarter of last year and a contraction of 1.6 percent in the third quarter of 2016.
The Bank of Mongolia issued the following statement:
"The Monetary Policy Committee meeting was held on 15 September 2017, and it was decided to keep the Policy rate unchanged at 12 percent.
As of August 2017, annual inflation measured by the consumer price index has reached 5 percent nationwide and 5.4 percent in Ulaanbaatar city. In the first half of this year, growth of the Mongolian economy exceeded forecasts and reached 5.3 percent (on annual basis). Furthermore, economic growth is expected to accelerate and inflation is expected to stabilize around the medium term target rate of 8 percent.
Mongolian economy is currently stimulated by improved external demand, relatively high prices of the major export commodities and increased investments in the mining sector. While the Bank observes positive changes in market sentiment and positive trends in economic activities, further prospects are highly conditional on export prices and volume.
The Bank’s decision to maintain the policy rate unchanged is consistent with its mandate to stabilize inflation around the target rate and thereby facilitate the stability of macroeconomic environment in the medium to long run.
Extracts of the meeting minutes will be released in two weeks on the Bank of Mongolia’s website."
Last week, an EU court ruled Italy cannot ban the cultivation of an EU-approved genetically modified crop, thus publicly supporting GMO. At the same time, Russia has been ramping up production and export of organic food.
GMO has been banned in Russia since 2016.
"Recently the organic food market has definitely expanded in Russia. The organically produced food industry held a market valuation of $178 million in 2015, an increase from 2010’s $116 million total,” economist Iryna Kobuta at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia told RT.
“Euromonitor has also noticed increased spending on pre-packaged organic food and drink in Russia. 2015 saw consumers purchase close to $12 million worth of packaged eco-foods. Russia exports organic buckwheat, millet, alfalfa, flax, and wildly grown products – including wild berries, mushrooms, cedar nuts, and herbs – to a variety of countries. Russia also exports organic wheat to the EU,” she added.
In 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to make the country the largest supplier of healthy, ecologically clean and high-quality food which Western producers “have long lost.”
While Russia already has a significant share of the European market at around $2 billion, or 11.8 percent of Russia's overall agricultural exports, there are obstacles in increasing that share, admits Kobuta.
“The main obstacles to increasing exports of agri-food goods to the EU market are non-conformity with EU food safety requirements, small tariff import quotas applied by EU for agricultural goods, infrastructural and regulatory issues. With regards to the export of organic products, in Russia there is no official certification system or certifying agency,” the economist said.
Due to lack of proper regulation in Russia, local producers keen to operate in organic food have to obtain official certification from third parties like the United States or the EU, to label their products as officially certified bio or organic, and be able to export them outside Russia, Kobuta said.
The draft law "On the Production of Organic Agricultural Products and Amendments to Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation" has not yet been adopted. However, the situation has improved after Russia adopted the national standard for organic products, she added.
E-commerce will become a new engine of business cooperation among BRICS countries to improve both regional and global economic growth, experts said on Tuesday.
"E-commerce can help construct a more convenient custom clearance, modernized logistics and ideal investment environment," said Wang Jinzhen, vice-chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, at the Public-Private Partnership Forum on BRICS E-commerce.
BRICS, which involves Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, has 44 percent of the world's population－a potential huge market, Wang said.
The rising middle class group and upgrading consumption structure in those countries also laid a foundation for developing the e-commerce industry, he said.
It's necessary for each member to establish more related laws and regulations and inclusive and sustainable financing and investment systems when conducting overseas business, he added.
The five countries contributed 50 percent to the growth of the global economy, while the business volume only occupied 16 percent.
"With the promotion of modern trading, the number will change," he said.
Wang Zhen, director of the Asian-Pacific region of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, said at the forum that there is great potential for e-commerce cooperation among BRICS countries.
The number of netizens from those countries surpassed 1.46 billion last year, among which about 700 million go shopping online, he said.
The trading volume of the internet retail business reached $800 billion, about 11 percent of which came from cross-border e-commerce, he added.
"E-commerce played an important role in boosting regional economic growth," he said. "It also benefits small and medium-sized companies and provides job opportunities for women and young people."
Common challenges for BRICS countries to develop e-commerce include the less developed information network and logistics, as well as a lack of talent and mature market regulation and credit system, according to the E-commerce Development Report of the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises of BRICS Countries released at the forum.
The report was co-launched by the UNIDO and Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
The solution includes establishing unified international rules, multilateral negotiation and dispute-settlement mechanisms, as well as eliminating tariff barriers, the report said.
BRICS should also promote the sales of each other's major products and simplify the regulation of cross-border trade, it said.
The forum is being held during 2017 China International Fair for Investment and Trade, China's major bilateral investment promotional event held in Xiamen, Fujian province, from Monday to Thursday.
It is widely accepted that potential foreign investors in the geological and mining sector will look for an improved legal environment and stable policies, but no less important is to allow them easy and detailed access to geological information. To this end, The Mineral Resources and Petroleum Authority of Mongolia (MRPAM) has taken up the Mongolian Geological Information Catalogue System (MonGeoCat) project to prepare, according to international standards, an integrated geosciences database which will provide Mongolia’s geological information and data to investors and others interested in them. The Australia-Mongolia Extractives Program (AMEP) is financing the project, and also providing technical assistance, while a domestic geoscience IT company, Oyunii Tsomorlig Impex LLC, is developing the metadata catalogue system.
The MRPAM made a presentation on the project at a meeting on 18 August, which was attended by, among many others, G.Nandinjargal, State Secretary, John Langtry, the Australian Ambassador, the AMEP project team, representatives from the National Security Council, and D.Amarsaikhan, Advisor to Oyunii Tsomorlig Impex.
In his introductory remarks, B.Baatartsogt, Head of the MRPAM, expressed his gratitude to all who had contributed to the development of MonGeoCat. State Secretary Nandinjargal called it “a huge first step” and added that the database was the result of the dedicated work of generations of geologists. Ambassador Langtry highlighted the major role of AMEP in the project. He said Australia could attract “quality investment only by making geological information easily accessible to all”. He was happy that Australia had now shared its experience in this with Mongolia and hoped that the system would help make the mineral resources sector become the leverage for the country’s economic development.
All MonGeoCat information will be available in both English and Mongolian. At the moment, the cut-off date for contents of the database is March, 2017. The system will be inaugurated in the fourth quarter of 2017.
MonGeoCat provides access to the metadata on geology kept at the Mineral Resources Information Technology Centre (MRITC). This integrated system serves as an information catalogue and consists of two interfaces. The first is a web-based map interface which enables spatial searching with a WebGIS (geographic information system). It is based on the ArcGIS platform which is used for mapping and spatial analysis. The second interface is a metadata catalogue, which enables searching for basic characteristics of documents. It is based on GeoNetwork, catalogue application to manage spatially referenced resources.
The system contains over 8200 geological reports, some 200 geographic information systems and 30 information databases.
MRITC specialists described the possibilities the system opens up. For instance, it can make a spatial search in the Web GMS environment and provide information on various general map data, small and medium scale geological maps, satellite imagery, base-maps with toponyms, location of the mineral deposits, Google map data and other information.
The metadata catalogue of geological information can be accessed through a key word, thereby offering multiple choice tools to get a summary of the information, for instance, the author, owner, size, shape, language selection, how it is linked with other information, information related to exploration, whether it has topographic connection, the access level and other information.
The AMEP project paid for the software and hardware necessary for the development of the metadata catalogue, and facilitated several trainings for the staff of the MRITC on various aspects of the system.
Loma Linda University researchers awarded $1.4 million NIH grant to study tobacco control in Asia www.medical-center.lomalindahealth.org
Grant will develop new research methods for enhancing tobacco-control programs in Cambodia, Laos and Mongolia.
Researchers at Loma Linda University School of Public Health were recently awarded a $1.4 million grant from the NIH to develop new research methods for enhancing the effectiveness of tobacco-control programs in Cambodia, Laos and Mongolia.
Pramil Singh, DrPH, director of the Center for Health Research at the Loma Linda University School of Public Health, is principal investigator for the grant, which will allow him and a team of four U.S. co-investigators to build survey research capacity for tobacco control in the three East Asian nations. He notes that almost half the males in those countries are smokers, and calls the rate very high.
Singh and his colleagues will develop mobile applications for surveys in Asia that will enable 33 tobacco-control scientists and their staff to compile a database of where smokers are buying cigarettes. Street researchers will ask smokers for permission to photograph the tax stamps on their cigarette packets and geo-code the location of where the cigarettes were purchased. They will also record information about cigarettes that were sold without tax stamps, indicating that they were purchased illegally.
The database will help Singh and his team provide information to the governments of the three countries — each of which has ratified the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Treaty — about patterns of tobacco sales and use. “Local tobacco-control scientists on the award can show that information to their government and tell them, ‘You may have ratified the treaty, but here are all the places where it is being violated.’ We’re also going to be photographing and geo-coding cigarette advertisements that remain non-compliant with articles of the ratified treaty.”
In signing the convention, the three countries agreed to tax cigarettes so heavily as to put them beyond the reach of teenagers and average consumers. They also agreed to ban cigarette advertising on billboards and TV as well as cigarette advertising aimed at women and children.
Singh maintains that a tobacco price increase is the most effective way to slow the spread of tobacco use. He says that in California the high rate of state taxation on cigarettes means they currently sell for approximately $7 a pack. In Cambodia, by comparison, the average price in 2011 was just 20 cents a pack. “At $7 a pack, young people will have to decide between smoking a pack a day or making their car payment,” Singh says.
He explains that when smoking decreases in affluent Western countries due to heavy taxation, tobacco companies make up for lost revenue by selling products at vastly reduced prices in the developing countries, which encourages children and teens to take up smoking.
Singh says smoking remains a deadly proposition of epidemic proportions. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States alone. Singh hopes his team’s work in Cambodia, Laos and Mongolia will not only allow the governments of those nations to crack down on unlawful marketing and advertising, but will also help convince smokers and potential tobacco consumers that any pleasure derived from tobacco addiction is not worth the risks.
He acknowledges, however, that there is a danger associated with raising tobacco prices too much. “It’s called price elasticity,” he says. “If you price tobacco too high, it turns into a black market. People buy cigarettes, repackage them and sell them without charging taxes. Or they buy loose tobacco for hand-rolled cigarettes or pipes made of bamboo or PVC piping.”
The five-year R01 grant is funded by Fogarty International Center, an institute within the NIH that funds capacity building in other countries to stop viruses and other public health epidemics from making their way to the United States.
“It is the Fogarty International Center’s goal to advance the National Institutes of Health’s research objectives internationally in order to address global health needs,” says Michael Samardzija, PhD, JD, associate vice president for research at Loma Linda University Health. He says the center has previously funded AIDS research programs, advances in infectious disease modeling and research into the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine scare.
Singh’s co-investigators on the study are Jayakaran S. Job, MD, DrPH, a professor at the LLU schools of Public Health and Medicine, Jim E. Banta, PhD, MPH, associate professor at the School of Public Health, Michael Jerrett, PhD, professor and chair of environmental health at UCLA, and Sudipto Banerjee, PhD, professor and chair of biostatistics at UCLA.
Technology partners include Esri, the organization that pioneered the ArcGIS software, and Fulcrum, Inc., developers of the mobile health application. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency country offices in Laos and Mongolia are also partners on the award.
Singh says he is optimistic his research will help the governments of the three Asian countries clamp down on illegal sales and advertising of tobacco products. He says taxation works better than health education in convincing consumers to stop smoking.
“Trying to convince the poorest people of the world that smoking is bad for them has limited effect on getting them to quit smoking,” he says. “They’re just trying to get through the day.”...
The Bank of Mongolia traded 622.6 billion MNT worth 1-week maturity central bank bill (“CBB”), with weighted average yield of 12.0 percent per annum.
1 - week CBBs
1-week CBB plays an important role in managing the reserves of banks and is the core monetary policy instrument of the Bank of Mongolia. The interest rate on CBB will be the policy rate of the BOM and will serve as a guide interest rate on the interbank market. It was first introduced in July 2007, with fixed rate and unlimited bidding, and traded on a regular basis every Wednesday at the interbank market. This had attracted the banks’ interests providing the possibility for the banks to place their excess reserve in short term asset. Since the introduction of this instrument, there has been a substantial change in the way banks manage their reserves. For the favorable adjustment of CBB rate and loan principle along with the well balance of togrog and foreign exchange, 1 - week CBB auction has been held in the form of competitive interest rate since May 2010. In doing so, the upper and lower limits of the bank bids are to set +/- 2 per cent of the policy rate.
Sysmex Signs Agreement with Mongolia’s Ministry of Health to Provide External Quality Assessment Support in the Field of Blood Morphology Testing www.sysmex.co.jp
In line with Mongolia’s economic growth in recent years, the country has been putting healthcare infrastructure in place. Mongolia’s Ministry of Health is playing a central role in initiatives to enhance the level of healthcare.
To date, Sysmex has supported external quality assessment in the country in the fields of hematology, clinical chemistry and immunochemistry based on agreements with Mongolia’s Ministry of Health. In this way, we have helped to increase the quality of clinical testing in the country.
In recent years, however, demand in Mongolia has grown for blood morphology testing, which is essential for the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up assessment of leukemia and other hematologic diseases. While clinical laboratory technologists can visually perform blood morphology testing to determine clinically useful information on the abnormal morphology of blood cells and platelets, such testing requires specialized knowledge and experience. Mongolia faces the issues of accumulating expertise and standardizing this testing.
To this end, when renewing its agreements with Mongolia’s Ministry of Health to provide external quality assessment support in the fields of hematology, clinical chemistry and immunochemistry, the scope was expanded to include the field of blood morphology testing.
With this support, Sysmex will provide local clinical laboratory technologists involved in blood morphology testing with the technological and scientific expertise the Company has accumulated through its global service and support activities. As in the fields of hematology, clinical chemistry and immunochemistry, Sysmex will support Mongolia’s Ministry of Health, which plays a central role, in creating and operating a nationwide framework for external quality assessment in blood morphology testing.
Through these activities, Sysmex will provide accurate technologies and knowledge related to blood morphology testing, helping to raise the quality of healthcare in Mongolia.
Going forward, Sysmex will continue striving to provide support for clinical testing in developing countries and emerging markets, contributing to the standardization and increased quality of clinical testing and thereby instilling trust and confidence in customers throughout the world.