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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that Deputy Foreign Minister B.Battsetseg paid an official visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) from May 16 to 19, at the invitation of North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Ri Gil Song.
The Ministry reported that Deputy Minister B.Battsetseg met with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, but also had formal discussions with her counterpart, Ri Gil Song.
The discussions mainly focused on relations and cooperation between the two countries. The two sides discussed the status of the Northeast Asian region and, as an extension, regional security.
Deputy Minister B.Battsetseg formally invited Ri Gil Song to participate in the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security, which will be organized in the capital from June 15 to 16. Past conferences have included the participation of more than 35 representatives from Mongolia, Russia, China, Japan, the DPRK, the ROK, the U.S., Germany, and the Netherlands.
Parliamentary investigative team claims Mongol Bank has a three trillion MNT deficit www.theubpost.mn
A parliamentary working group established to investigate and regulate the operations of Mongol Bank reported the findings of their investigation to the parliamentary caucus of the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP), stating that Mongol Bank has a deficit of three trillion MNT.
The working group was established on February 1. MP T.Ayursaikhan headed the group, whose members included MPs M.Oyunchimeg, Ts.Davaasuren, Kh.Bolorchuluun, J.Bat-Erdene, and S.Chinzorig.
Mongol Bank’s operational deficit was investigated. In the past four years, the bank’s deficit has doubled every year. In 2016, the bank reported a deficit of 962 billion MNT. The working group investigated the reasons for the deficit, as the bank’s deficit puts pressure on the state budget.
“Until 2011, the bank was working profitably. It experienced a deficit in 2010, but was profitable in most years. But in 2012, Mongol Bank began experiencing significant deficit. We will investigate and reach a conclusion,” the working group’s members stated in February.
The probe, which ended on April 30, encompassed all of the operations of the bank, including commercial loans that were issued that were alleged to be illegal, the bank’s transparency, and their financial statements.
Reports that the central bank has experienced a deficit of three trillion MNT since 2012 have not been verified, but analysts say they are plausible due to the bank’s spending on price stabilization and the state’s mortgage program. If the claims are true, the central bank’s deficit is equal to half of this year’s state budget.
Some members of the MPP advocated for keeping the results of the investigation classified, due to the controversy that might be created leading up to an important presidential election. There are unverified reports that Mongol Bank provided commercial loans with an interest rate of 0.85 percent when it is not legally allowed to do so.
Reports indicate that the results of the investigation were handed out to members of the MPP were confiscated after the meeting, and that all of them were required to sign a confidentiality agreement.
When reached for comment, a Mongol Bank public relations officer said, “Due to spending on the price stabilization project and the mortgage program, that number may be plausible.” However, the public relations officer failed to verify if Mongol Bank had a deficit of three trillion MNT.
During the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ regularly monthly press conference, Foreign Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil has reported that Mongolia will be receiving two billion RMB in aid from the People’s Republic of China. The Minister also reported on the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation organized in Beijing, during which the Foreign Minister accompanied Prime Minister J.Erdenebat in meetings.
Speaking on Mongolia-China relations, Ts.Munkh-Orgil said, “There are no misunderstandings or issues in relations between the two countries. We hold common ground on trade, investment, and cooperation. The priorities for these issues include large infrastructure, mining, and energy projects.”
“As part of the state visit, more than 21 agreements were signed by the government, ministries, and private businesses. One large agreement was to intertwine Mongolia’s Development Road infrastructure project with China’s One Belt, One Road initiative,” noted Ts.Munkh-Orgil.
The Foreign Minister answered questions from the media after the press conference.
China will provide two billion RMB in aid. How will you spend the money?
From 2018 to 2020, China will provide Mongolia with two billion RMB in aid. The Chinese side has told us to inform of them which sectors we will be spending the money on.
In 2017, we will receive 350 million RMB in aid, and will use the money for the redevelopment of the ger districts in Ulaanbaatar. The 300 million RMB in aid we receive in 2016 will be used to improve conditions at border crossings. Cabinet has not made a final decision on how the two billion RMB will be used.
You met with the administration of the International Monetary Fund, specifically Managing Director Christine Lagarde. What was discussed during that meeting?
Our delegation did meet with the administration of the IMF. Both sides expressed their positions and exchanged views on the program. The meeting of the IMF Executive Board to discuss enrollment in the extended fund facility is on May 24. Madame Lagarde will be chairing the meeting herself. The IMF has expressed interest in working with Mongolia. They expressed their confidence that the economy and macro economy will stabilize and that debt pressure will decrease if we work together closely. We are hopeful that the extended fund facility will be approved by the Executive Board on May 24.
Azerbaijan-focused miner Anglo Asian Mining (LON:AAZ), the country’s top gold producer, has swung back to profit and sharply reduced outstanding debt on the back of higher copper output and a better bullion prices.
The London-listed miner doubled its copper production from 969 tonnes to 1,941 tonnes last year, thanks mainly to the first full-year of production from a new flotation plant. Silver production also rose, increasing six-fold in 2016 to 165,131 ounces.
Anglo Asian plans to develop seven mines in western Azerbaijan with estimated gold reserves of 430 tonnes.
Both metals helped offset a more than 16% drop in gold sales as the company ran into lower grades at its Gedabek mine, its main operation in Azerbaijan.
Copper and silver increased output, together with improved precious metal prices, also helped the company’s profit, which surged to $79.2 million from $78.1 million a year earlier.
For 2017, Anglo Asian expects copper production to reach between 2,000 tonnes and 2,400 tonnes, while it has a gold output target of between 52,000 ounces and 58,000 ounces.
The company, which started mining at its flagship Gedabek operation seven years ago, still plans to develop seven mines in western Azerbaijan with estimated gold reserves of 430 tonnes.
Shares soared on the news and were trading 7.83% higher in London to 18.60 pence at 2:15 PM GMT. So far this year, however, the stock is down almost 24%.
MOSCOW, May 25 (Xinhua) -- Russia and China on Thursday agreed to deepen bilateral cooperation in various fields and enhance joint efforts in coping with concerned issues on the international agenda.
In the context of improving Russian economy, Russia and China should maintain the development of pragmatic cooperation by way of promoting mutual communication and consultation between government departments, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in the Kremlin, who was on an official visit to Russia.
The two countries should also work closely with each other within multilateral frameworks, including the BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Group of 20 (G20), in resolving thorny issues and maintain global strategic stability, he added.
In addition, Putin warmly congratulated China for successfully hosting the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation earlier this month and expressed his welcome for Chinese President Xi Jinping's upcoming visit to Russia.
On his part, Wang pointed out that China and Russia agree with each other on development strategies and share broad prospects for bilateral cooperation.
He echoed Putin's appeal in saying that the two countries should further deepen cooperation in such fields as trade and investment and explore new sources of economic growth.
The two countries should also consolidate their strategic cooperation in international affairs and jointly promote the peaceful settlement of international and regional issues, Wang added.
* IMF and partners to help restructure Mongolia debt, economy
* Deal delayed from last month amid banking rule controversy
* Mongolia due to hold presidential elections in June (Adds detail, context and background)
BEIJING/ULAANBAATAR, May 25 The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Thursday it approved a total financial package worth around $5.5 billion to help support cash-strapped Mongolia's efforts to restructure its economy.
The IMF said in a statement that Mongolia was hit hard by the sharp decline of commodity prices and the slowdown in key export markets, and the government is therefore implementing a programme to pave the way to economic recovery.
The IMF has provided a three-year financial arrangement of about $434.3 million to support Mongolia's economic reform programme, with other financial partners such as the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, Japan and South Korea also providing back-up.
The deal also included a three-year extension to a 15 billion yuan ($2.18 billion) swap agreement with the People's Bank of China.
The extended fund facility will help Mongolia tackle a heavy debt burden and a weak currency. The landlocked nation saw its economy grow at a double-digit annual rate over 2011-2013 as foreign investors rushed in to take advantage of its vast untapped mineral deposits, but clashes with investors, government overspending and declining revenues from commodity exports slowed growth to 1 percent last year.
The IMF support will enable Mongolia to swap $550 million in debt held by the Development Bank of Mongolia for new sovereign bonds worth $600 million due in 2024.
The formal confirmation of the package, first proposed in February, was delayed from last month amid concerns about a controversial clause in Mongolia's legislation that forced "strategically important" mines, such as the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine run by Rio Tinto, to conduct transactions through local banks.
Coal India wins tax-cut boost as environmentalists fret
The government has subsequently annulled the banking requirement in order to push the IMF deal through.
Mongolia has agreed to cut spending, raise taxes and the retirement age, while pledging to maintain a flexible exchange rate and build a stronger regulatory environment for banking and finance.
Candidates running in next month's presidential elections may try to make political capital out of the painful austerity measures introduced by the ruling Mongolian People's Party (MPP), which is fielding Miyeegombo Enkhbhold, currently parliamentary speaker.
Businessman and former martial artist Khaltmaa Battulga is contesting the vote on behalf of the main opposition Democratic Party, while the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party has nominated former independent Sainkhuu Ganbaatar.
Both challengers have gained popularity partly through their resource-nationalist rhetoric and their suspicion of foreign investors. ($1 = 6.8878 yuan) (Reporting by Sue-Lin Wong and Yawen Chen in BEIJING, Terrence Edwards in ULAANBAATAR; Editing by Michael Perry & Shri Navaratnam)
World Bank and Ulaanbaatar City Partner to Improve Municipal Capital Investment Planning and Public Transport Financing www.worldbank.org
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, May 24, 2017 - World Bank Country Manager for Mongolia James Anderson and Ulaanbaatar city Vice Mayor Bayarkhuu today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly strengthen the capital investment planning process of Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar and the financial sustainability of the city’s public transport sector.
“Capital investment planning is a critical part of municipal management. Ulaanbaatar hopes that improved capital investment planning will enable city officials to better identify, and plan investment projects based on long-term needs, budget availability, and development priorities,” – said Vice Mayor Bayarkhuu.
The municipality also hopes that the partnership with the World Bank will help the city reduce expenditures and, through increased public engagement, improve transparency. The city’s various agencies agreed during a recent workshop to incorporate best practices on capital investment planning into the budget planning process and to take further steps to make the project prioritization more transparent in 2018.
To improve financial strategy for the public transport sector, Ulaanbaatar city will carry out a comprehensive diagnostic assessment of the public transport sector and develop a medium term strategy for financial sustainability, based on analysis of alternative public transport plans. The assessment will improve the quality of public transport services, increase cost-efficiency, and reduce subsidies for public transport, currently increasing rapidly.
“A more transparent and harmonized process for capital investment planning can help cities improve coordination among implementing agencies so they get the most out of their projects. Similarly, the city needs to develop a strategy to provide public transport service in a financially sustainable way. Given the current fiscal constraints, both of these challenges are becoming increasingly important” - said James Anderson, World Bank Country Manager for Mongolia.
The partnership will be carried out under a technical assistance program funded by the World Bank’s Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF), and continues previous efforts by the World Bank to enhance public service delivery in the city. The World Bank’s Global Practice team for Transport & ICT has been working closely with the city government to lay the groundwork for improvement of the public transport sector, including through building the city’s capacity for planning and management.
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The cabinet of ministers approved the 2017 Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology for Asia and the Pacific on May 24. The agreement’s main purpose is facilitating the possibilities for exchange of technologies, human resource capacity-building, determining need for nuclear technology, introducing some areas to nuclear technology, promoting sustainable development and conducting joint studies.
Countries in Asia-Pacific region established a treaty organization as a cooperation mechanism of introducing the pillar economic sectors, such as food and agriculture, healthcare, the environment, energy and industrial sector to nuclear technologies, and exchanging practices.
The 22 countries that are parties to the treaty jointly decide what projects to implement, and the financing is covered by the International Atomic Energy Agency, donor countries and international funds.
In the margin of observance of the Regional Cooperative Agreement, Mongolia is receiving a great support for expanding foreign cooperation and strengthening legal grounds of nuclear energy sector through learning from practices of other countries, introducing educational, scientific and research institutions and organizations that operate in healthcare, food and agriculture to the latest nuclear technologies and preparing professional cadres specialized in nuclear technologies.
One of Britain's most historic automakers will soon be Chinese-owned.
Control of Lotus will pass from Malaysia's Proton to China's Geely as part of a tie-up between the two Asian automakers.
Geely (GELYF), which already owns the Swedish brand Volvo, confirmed Wednesday that it is buying a 49.9% stake in Proton and a controlling 51% stake in its subsidiary Lotus. The financial terms were not disclosed.
Lotus is best known for its Formula One racing pedigree and its continued production of sports cars that appeal to driving enthusiasts.
The automaker, which has produced several iconic models including the Esprit and Elise, has long struggled to turn a profit. It was purchased by Proton in 1996, and its previous owners include General Motors (GM).
Its engineering division, which specializes in design and lightweight auto architecture, could prove especially useful to Geely as it seeks to expand its operations and expertise.
Related: Would you buy a Chinese car called Trumpchi?
Geely, one of China's largest automakers, has snapped up a series of struggling foreign firms in recent years. It bought Volvo from Ford in 2010, and it purchased London black cab maker Manganese Bronze out of administration in 2013.
It has since changed the name of the cab producer to the London Taxi Co., and opened a solar-powered factory near Coventry that will produce an all-electric version of the iconic taxi.
France's PSA Group, which makes Peugeot and Citroën cars, had also submitted a bid for Proton.
The International Monetary Fund has approved a financial package for Mongolia that will help the country reduce its crippling debt load, opening the door to financing packages from other lenders.
Approval for $425m in funds from the IMF, tied to about $3bn in financing from other international lenders, had been expected following the organisation’s annual meeting in Washington in April. However it was delayed by a Mongolian clause that directed sales proceeds from major foreign-invested products pass through a Mongolian bank account.
Expectations of IMF support have already allowed resource-rich but heavily indebted Mongolia to issue international bonds at somewhat lower interest rates, after years of loose domestic fiscal policy designed to ride out a four-year slump in the prices of copper and coal, its main exports.
“Mongolia was hit hard by the sharp decline of commodity prices and the slowdown in key export markets. Efforts to mitigate these shocks through expansionary policies were unsuccessful and resulted in unsustainable public debt, falling international reserves, and lower growth,” wrote Mitsuhiro Furusawa, deputy managing director and acting chair of the IMF.
He hailed Mongolia’s fiscal tightening measures, proposed efforts to strengthen the independence of the central bank and “commitment to a market-determined exchange rate.”
The tugrik, Mongolia’s currency, went into freefall last summer, triggered in part by the state’s sudden and unexpected purchase of Russia’s share in Erdenet, the country’s most historically important copper mine. It is now at about 2,400 to the U.S. dollar, after a long period in which the central bank spent reserves to keep it at the psychologically important level of less than 2,000 to the U.S. dollar.
The currency is now less than half its value in 2008, during the run-up in the commodity super-cycle. Meanwhile, Mongolia’s consistently high interest rates are exacerbating the population’s struggle to pay back personal and small business loans.