Name organizer Where
Frontier's "Invest Mongolia Tokyo 2018" Frontier Securities Tokyo Japan
"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award ICC WTO London



Belarus-Mongolia economic commission to meet in Minsk in September www.eng.belta

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.



Mongolia Seeks to Strengthen Partnerships to Scale up Sustainable Finance www.ipsnews.net

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.



Gold price rebounds as ETF investors pile in www.mining.com

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.



At Key Finance Meet, Mongolia Seeks Path to a Greener Economy www.ipsnews.net

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.



Mongolia joins UN Environment in the fight against air pollution www.unep.org

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.



Bitcoin crashes as Beijing orders cryptocurrency exchange shutdown www.rt.com

The price of bitcoin plunged on Thursday after Chinese authorities crack down on cryptocurrencies, with the country’s biggest exchange announcing the suspension of operations.

The virtual currency fell more than 11 percent, trading at $3,544.14 as of 14:00pm GMT. This is far below the all-time high of $5,013.91 set earlier this month.

According to China Business News, regulators in Shanghai and the country's financial center gave verbal instructions to exchange operators to end services. The exchanges will reportedly shut down at the end of September.

BTC China, one of the country’s top three exchanges, tweeted on Thursday it will close down operations by September 30.

Last week, China banned initial coin offerings (ICOs), referring to them as an unauthorized fundraising tool that may involve financial scams. The Chinese central bank said those who have already raised money should pay it back.

China accounts for about 90 percent of all bitcoin trading on exchanges, and demand for the virtual currency was on the rise.

Beijing has strengthened control over bitcoin trading platforms to prevent them from becoming money laundering sites. It tried to curb capital outflow following fears of continued weakness in the domestic currency.

The country has strict capital controls, which makes it difficult for Chinese citizens to convert the yuan into foreign currency and limits the amount of cash investors can move abroad.

This has pushed Chinese investors to use the digital currency as a way to circumvent capital controls and minimize risk from the falling value of the domestic currency.



Polish company seeks to establish tractor-assemnling factory in Mongolia www.montsame.mn

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ Mongolia will receive a soft loan of EUR 50 million from Poland pursuant to an intergovernmental agreement. Money of EUR 32 million of the sum is projected to be spent on the agricultural sector.

Development Director of the POL-MOT Holding JSC Marek Pol asked the Government of Mongolia to render support for establishing a tractor-assembling factory with the investment when he paid a courtesy call on J.Erdenebat, Acting Prime Minister of Mongolia on September 14.

The company has the experience in erecting tractor-assembly factories in several countries and intends to manufacture tractors labeled as Made in Mongolia for the market by spring of 2019. He said feasibility studies included opportunities for assembling electric buses.

In response, the Acting Prime Minister said the Government of Mongolia aims to provide domestic needs with home-made agricultural products and to manufacture export-oriented goods. Developing agricultural technology could be an important stimulation to this matter, he underlined. The Premier also noted that a private entity in Mongolia has to introduce progressive technologies and to employ local people.



EU parliament: Review easing food import rule www3.nhk.or.jp

A plan to partially ease restrictions on EU food imports imposed after the Fukushima nuclear accident could be postponed. The restrictions were due to be relaxed this autumn but the European Parliament has adopted a resolution to review them.

The EU currently requires food imports from many Japanese prefectures, including Fukushima, to carry a certificate showing it has passed safety tests at facilities designated by the Japanese government. The measure has been in effect since the 2011 accident.

But many European parliamentarians are not convinced by the arguments in favor of easing the ban.

The EU Parliament adopted the resolution on Wednesday by a vote of 543 to 100. 43 members abstained.

The resolution is not legally binding. But a review would mean that the easing of regulations would probably be delayed.



Mongolia's blossoming Buddhism faces money problems www.au.news.yahoo.com

Ulan Bator (AFP) - On a barren patch of land outside Mongolia's capital, a former herder guards a half-finished pedestal and abandoned golden Buddha's head -- testament to the money problems keeping Buddhism from flourishing in the country.

When 68-year-old Tsegmid Lunduv, a longtime nomad, was hired to patrol the spot in 2013, the project seemed full of promise: a proposed sprawling complex of meditation centres and spiritual retreats, tucked into the rolling steppes outside Ulan Bator and under the spiritual guidance of the Dalai Lama.

But two years ago, construction was suspended pending additional funding, leaving two partially built legs, the unattached head and a hand with fingers curled into the gesture for teaching and understanding.

Only Lunduv, his wife, grandson and their yellow puppy were standing sentry on a recent visit to the holy site-to-be.

"Once the project comes to fruition, all of Mongolia's troubles will go away," said Lunduv, a portly man with a tattered white tunic and a gap-toothed smile.

He added: "It will usher in a new era."

One of the project's main financial backers, the Genco group, is owned by new Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga, who took office in July and must now navigate the country out of its maze of debt with a $5.5 billion International Monetary Fund-led bailout.

Buddhism has returned to prominence after being quashed over years of Soviet control, with over half of the population now identifying as Buddhist, according to official figures.

But the debt-laden country's money troubles have severely limited the infrastructure needed for the religion to fully flourish, with monasteries lacking proper residential facilities for monks.

- Sacred vodka -

Buddhist traditions in Mongolia predate the rule of Genghis Khan, who established close ties with a Tibetan Buddhist school. Khan's grandson, Kublai Khan, even commissioned his spiritual guru to create an easier form of the Tibetan script to be used in the territories under his command.

Even under Tibetan Buddhism's heavy influence, however, Mongolians gave the religion their own cultural touch: inspired by shamanistic invocations using vodka, Mongolian Buddhists consider the Russian liquor sacred just as wine is to Christians.

And because the Mongolian Empire suffered from a population shortage, the Dalai Lama at the time permitted Mongolian monks to marry and have children -- though mistresses remained strictly forbidden.

The biggest challenge to Mongolian Buddhism came during the country's years as a Soviet satellite state, from 1924 to the early 1990s, when the Arts Council of Mongolia estimates that more than 1,250 monasteries and temples were demolished and countless religious artifacts lost.

Monks, if they were not killed, were forced to marry.

"After 60 years of oppression, (Mongolia's) monkhood was pretty much destroyed," said Glen Mullin, an expert on Tibetan Buddhism.

Only one monastery, Ulan Bator's Gandan monastery, was permitted to stay open during that period to support the Soviets' claims of religious tolerance.

In 1996, in a newly democratic Mongolia, 18-year-old Batchunuun Munkhbaatar left his countryside home in central Tuv province to join the monastery in the capital.

Gandan was home to just 25 monks then, but Munkhbaatar stayed and immersed himself in the Buddhist practice. Now 800 monks belong to the monastery, the country's largest.

"During the (Soviet era), the party controlled the faith of the people, but they couldn't control their inner devotion," Munkhbaatar said, recalling that his grandfather "didn't quit his chanting or prayers, even during the communist time".

"He would do all these things behind locked doors. If someone approached the house, the dog would bark and he'd put away his scriptures and images of Buddha."

- 'A Buddhist country' -

The revival of Buddhism has been a sticky issue for the Mongolian government, which pledged not to extend any more invitations to the Dalai Lama after his visit to Ulan Bator last November angered China, its neighbour and biggest trade partner.

There are now 3,500 monks across the country, said Munkhbaatar, who handles Gandan's foreign relations.

Mullin expects these numbers to swell as the first wave of young Mongolian Buddhists return from studying in India and Tibet.

Back in their homeland, they will face a tough financial reality.

"Most Mongolian monasteries do not offer the proper conditions for monks to actually live in them," said Vesna Wallace, a religious studies scholar at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

"Monasteries receive funding only when they are building something, not for their day-to-day operations. They rely on donations, so many monks are quite poor and have had to marry because they can't live off their own income."

At the site of the Grand Maitreya project, Lunduv has faith the money will come.

The project's official Facebook page said in March that the first building phase would be completed by the end of this summer if $25,000 in donations was raised.

Every morning, Lunduv pours a freshly brewed cup of tea out onto the field around the construction area as a prayer to the gods.

"It will be finished," Lunduv says. "The government will support us because our country is a Buddhist country."

"Our history is tied to our religion."



EBRD boosts small business in Mongolia www.ebrd.com

The EBRD is continuing to support micro and small businesses in Mongolia with a loan to microfinance institution, Transcapital. The loan of MNT 6 billion will be provided in the local currency, Mongolian tugrik.

Transcapital, the most reputable microfinance institution in the country, has been an EBRD client since 2013. The loan, which comes under the EBRD Early Transition Countries Initiative,* is the second loan to Transcapital enabling the client to increase its customer base and reach additional under-served customers such as micro enterprises in the poorer areas of Ulaanbaatar or in the regions.

Transcapital’s network will allow EBRD financing to reach micro enterprises around the country – some of which, we hope, will grow into small and medium-sized companies. Importantly, the loan will be denominated in local currency, allowing entrepreneurs who sell their goods and services in local currency to avoid foreign exchange rate risk.

Transcapital CEO, Altanzul Zorigt, said: "Since 2013, our two organisations have been successfully cooperating to provide opportunities to micro and small enterprises in underdeveloped regions and improve access to finance in Mongolia. With the EBRD’s local currency loan, our clients have been able to access funding with no effect from foreign exchange rate risk, further strengthening Transcapital’s presence on the market. On the other hand, Transcapital has enjoyed tangible developments within the organisation through the EBRD’s technical assistance and expertise sharing. We are glad to see that our goal to promote sustainable development of micro and small enterprises is only growing stronger with this funding. I'm looking forward to extending our services to more rural and economically disadvantaged populations."

The EBRD has invested about US$ 1.6 billion in about 86 projects in Mongolia since 2006.