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GDP data show continued expansion www.chinadaily.com

China's economy expanded at a faster-than-expected 6.9 percent year-on-year in the second quarter and economists said the trend of stable growth is set to continue into the second half of 2017, paving the way for the country to strengthen reforms.

The economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, was unchanged from the first quarter and has remained in the 6.7 to 6.9 percent range for eight consecutive months, according to data released on Monday by the National Bureau of Statistics. GDP growth accelerated to 1.7 percent in the second quarter, up from 1.3 percent in the first quarter.
Key indicators, such as industrial output, retail sales and fixed-asset investment, all were at high levels in the second quarter, the NBS said. Real estate investment, a key driving force of growth, increased by 8.5 percent in the first half of this year, slightly down from the first quarter. "Real estate investment, together with infrastructure investment, remained brisk and contributed to the strong growth in the second quarter," said Yu Yongding, an economist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The economic structure also has improved, according to NBS data. For example, investment in high-tech manufacturing industries grew by 21.5 percent year-on-year in the first half of this year, 12.9 percentage points higher than overall investment growth.

The crucial job market, meanwhile, remained stable, with 7.35 million jobs created in urban areas in the first half of this year, 180,000 more than a year earlier, according to the NBS.

Looking ahead, China’s economic growth may ease moderately, mainly due to slowing growth expected in real estate investment thanks to the country's tightening of price control policies, but it faces much less pressure to grow, analysts said.

"The economy may continue to fluctuate a little bit, but there would not be sharp declines, and China does not face any risk of a hard landing," said Yu of CASS, who also is former member of the monetary policy committee of the People’s Bank of China, the central bank.

China's whole-year growth this year may reach 6.7 percent, meaning it will meet its target of "around 6.5 percent", according to forecasts by some institutions, such as the China Center for International Economic Exchanges and investment bank ICBC International.

"China's pressure from growth stabilization has eased greatly and it will pay way for its macroeconomic maneuvers to upgrade its economic structure and contain risks," said Cheng Shi, chief economist at ICBC International.



Japan offers $1 bil. to help UN achieve SDGs www.nhk.or.jp

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida says Japan will contribute 1 billion dollars by 2018 to combat poverty and hunger in the world.

Kishida delivered a speech at a UN forum to discuss Sustainable Development Goals on Monday.

He said that Japan's vision for sustainable development goals is to create a diverse and inclusive society in which no one is left behind.

Kishida also said that Japan will take concrete actions, both at home and abroad, by combining the wisdom of various stake holders, including civil society, private enterprise and government.

He explained how Japan is working with 7 UN organizations in Syria to rebuild schools and help educate those who have been internally displaced.



BNP Paribas faces $246m fine in currency scandal www.bbc.com

The US central bank has fined BNP Paribas $246m (£189m), the latest punishment in a currency rigging scandal that has led to billions in fines on both sides of the Atlantic.
Authorities say traders at different firms used online chat rooms to share information about currency bids without adequate oversight from their banks.
The Federal Reserve alone has issued more than $2bn in fines against seven banks tied to the scandal.
Cases against traders are ongoing.
The scandal has touched banks that include Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank, UBS and JP Morgan Chase. It had resulted in billions in fines levied by various regulators related to manipulation of currency markets.

BNP Paribas in May also said it would pay New York regulators $350m to resolve issues relating to oversight of its global foreign exchange business.
"BNP Paribas deeply regrets the past misconduct which was a clear breach of the high standards on which the Group operates," the bank said in a statement after the settlement was announced on Monday.
Jason Katz, a former BNP Paribas trader, in January pleaded guilty - the first person to do so - to violating US competition laws while conspiring over the US and South African Rand in January.
Three former London-based traders on Monday pleaded not guilty to charges that they conspired to rig the prices on the foreign currency market.
The case, concerning actions that occurred roughly between 2007 and 2013, is being tried in New York.
In March 2016 the UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) closed its criminal investigation into allegations of price-rigging in the foreign exchange market.



The ‘Third Neighbor Policy’ Of Mongolia: Romantic Or Realistic? – Analysis www.eurasiareview.com

On July 10, the president-elect Kh. Battulga was inaugurated at the State House in Ulan Bator, where he vowed to resume the “third neighbor policy” for safeguarding Mongolia’s independence and freedom. Although Mongolia’s role in the world affairs is marginal, the people living on land-locked country have been well-known for their great dream.

It is true that the nomadic tribes did create the largest Mongol Empire in human history by very controversial means between 1227 and 1294. Yet it is generally accepted that Mongolia as a unified entity had been non-existent until 1992 when the former Soviet Union was disintegrated. The milieu in that Mongolia is located has never changed, for its neighbors—China and Russia—are two formidable powers in any real sense.

Yet, the idea of the “third neighbor” is a facet of foreign relations of Mongolia referring to its building relationships with countries other than Russia and China that historically had a sphere of influence extending to the country. While Russia and China are the neighbors physically that Mongolia shared borders with only, the “third neighbor” was first put forward by former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker during his meeting with Mongolian leaders in 1990. For sure, it refers to the U.S. as a third neighbor with a view to endorsing the Mongols’ first move toward democracy. Since then, the idea of “third neighbors” has been picked up by Mongolian policy- makers from time to time and eventually become formalized in its foreign policy and legislation. This reveals their desire to have more the “third neighbors”, primarily the United States, Japan, South Korea, India and Turkey.

Actually, it is more than a symbolic gesture for Mongolia, since 2003, it has been involved into military drills with the United States and other NATO members. In 2010, Mongolia sent its contingents to Afghanistan under the command of NATO while it was invited to participate in the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago with individual partnership and cooperation program status. By contrast, although Mongolia was granted the status of the observer member in 2004, it has never applied for a formal status like India, Pakistan or Iran. As a senior diplomat of Mongolia stated in 2013, “Mongolia’s third neighbor countries play a crucial role in its foreign policy.”

Yet, this rhetoric is never realistic in practice. First, that Mongolia has tried to balance its relations with Russia and China on one hand with relations with other major powers is not an easy task for the elites in Ulan Bator. True, this is not a new tactic in diplomacy, but it seems that Mongolia has missed the point that its giant neighbors would never accept the involvement of the third neighbor(s) into their strategically proximate areas. Then Mongolia argued that the third neighbor policy simply echoed the age-old sentiment of the Mongols to look beyond the two neighbors, like it did in history to adopt Buddhism from India over Chinese Confucianism and Russian Slavic religions. Yet, it reflects their consciousness of looking broadly in geopolitics rather than cultural affinities.

Second, neither China nor Russia has interfered into Mongolia’s domestic affairs in the post-Soviet political reforms and power transition from one-party rule to a liberal democracy. In effect, China and Russia have helped Mongolia tackle its severe economic hardships after the sudden end of Soviet investment and subsidies. In 2012 when Mongolia became a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), it met no challenge from Moscow and Beijing. Since the third neighbor policy is used frequently, it does cause misperceptions with its two neighbors. Economically, no country including Mongolia likes to put all their eggs into one basket. Yet, China and Russia have large impact on the Mongolian economy in an overwhelming way. For instance, President Putin said, “The natural geographical proximity of Mongolia, Russia and China make it possible for us to implement good long-term projects in infrastructure, the power sector and the mining industry. We have what to discuss with each other. Naturally we deem it important, expedient and useful to start a permanent dialogue.”

Essentially, the third neighbor policy, though dynamic, is an effort on the part of Mongolia to balance the influence from China and Russia. To that end, the foreign policy-makers in Ulan Bator have stretched out to look for key players globally that have greater geopolitical impact on Mongolia, Russia and China. As the challenges ahead are so great, the ruling elites of Mongolia do not have room for oversights. On one hand, Mongolia under ex-President Elbegdorj made the proposal of a “Russia-China-Mongolia trilateral cooperation” in 2014, with Xi‘s endorsement and Putin’s acquiescence, there was little standing in the way of trilateral cooperation. For Mongolia, this trilateral initiative meshes well with Elbegdorj’s focus on being involved landlocked country into global diplomacy. On the other hand, Mongolia has failed to deepen its cooperation with Russia despite making major inroads elsewhere in the world. In 2013 alone, it signed 63 bilateral agreements, including with the U. S., EU, China and Japan. Yet, it did not manage to sign any new agreements with Russia.

To certain extent, the unique geopolitical opportunity Mongolia presents makes it a vital strategic partner for those wanting to hedge against the influence of either China or Russia, or both. This encourages some groups of the Mongolians to pursue unrealistic or even adventurous goals. In addition, its rich natural reserves and vibrant economy also attracts the recession- stricken West to be eagerly involved in landlocked country. Yet, it has been dependent on Russia militarily while it is evidently too close to China, its largest trade partner and foreign investor. Since relationship with China is likely to determine Mongolia’s future, the leaders in Ulan Bator feel uneasy about this, clearly trying to avoid being embraced too closely by China or by Russia. Given this, what Mongolia primarily wants is the Western help to shield it from the overwhelming influence of its neighbors and to yield enough diplomatic room when engaging with any sides.

On September 29 2015, then President Elbegdorj, a Harvard-educated politician, addressed at the UN General Assembly. He cited Mongolia’s recent history, along with its geographic reality and the uniqueness of the chosen path of national development, to advocate neutrality. He said that “Mongolia has pursued a peaceful, open, multi-pillar foreign policy. This stance enabled us to declare Mongolia in a state of permanent neutrality. Therefore I am convinced that Mongolia’s status of permanent neutrality will contribute to the strengthening of peace, security, and development in our region and the world at large.”

Frankly speaking, the declared status as permanently neutral is a new initiative on the part of Mongolia, and equally is a logical extension of the “third neighbor” policy rather than a real departure from it. From the geopolitical and legal perspectives, permanent neutrality takes the long-time desire to balance two overbearing neighbors by turning to virtual neighbors; and to a next step by permanently declaring Mongolia to remain in between these two neighbors, not siding with one or the other, and not aligning militarily with any outside party to neutralize any notion of threats against these neighbors emanating from Mongolia.

The proposal of “permanently neutral” by Elbegdorj elicited the debates on its ends and means. Yet it is self-evident that since the future will likely hold ever-closer economic ties with China, the neutrality declaration may assuage Russian fears that Mongolia might become a staging ground for aggression toward Russia in the future. In a similar manner, Mongolia lacks of desire to forge any kind of geostrategic ties with China. Thus neutrality would offer a quasi- guarantee that Mongolia will not turn into a Russian buffer state against China in a military sense. Choinkhor Jalbuu who is director of the Mongolian Geopolitical institute and former ambassador to Washington argued incisively, “Having permanent neutrality doesn’t mean isolation from inter- national community. Put it simply, it is a position that Mongolia will not join any side against any country.”

Oddly enough, now the president-elect Battulga argued for the resumption of “third neighbors” policy. But the question is that does he want to dance with wolves romantically or he will realistically embrace Mongolia’s tenet as an actively engaged member of the international community. This is very the path chosen by the people of Mongolia rather than by others.

About the author:
*Wang Li is Professor of International Relations and Diplomacy at the School of International and Public Affairs, Jilin University China.

This article was published by Modern Diplomacy



Mongolian tugrik weakens against US dollar www.gogo.mn

The Mongolian currency, Tugrik weakened to 2420 against the US dollar today, according to the Naiman sharga currency exchange center. 
Before the Naadam festival, Tugrik has strengthened to 2300 against the US dollar. 
Due to the sudden increase in US dollar, Central Bank of Mongolia issued 1-week bills worth MNT 604billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum on Jul 17th and sold it to the commercial banks.



BoM issues 1-week bills www.montsame.mn

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 604billion at a weighted interest rate of 12.0 percent per annum

1 - week CBBs, a main monetary policy instrument of BoM, plays an important role on managing the reserves of the banks. This CBB rate represents BoM’s policy rate guides interbank money market. In July 2007, the CBB with stable rate and unlimited bidding was introduced with auctions to be held on every Wednesday. This really had attracted the banks’ interests providing the possibility for the banks to place their excess reserve in short term asset. There has been a substantial change in the way banks manage their reserves since then. For the favorable adjustment of CBB rate and loan principle along with the well balance of togrog and foreign exchange, 1 - week CBB has been held in a type of competing by rate since May 2005. The auction average rate is the targeted rate variables in +/-2 percent from the policy rate and it frames to make the interbank rate as the operational target in midterm.
Source: Bank of Mongolia



Initiative a win-win deal for China and Mongolia www.chinadaily.com

By Meng Gencang: Khaltmaa Battulga of the Democratic Party was sworn in as the fifth president of Mongolia on July 10 after winning the runoff election with 50.6 percent votes. The 54-year-old business tycoon and former judo champion has vowed to revive Mongolia's flagging economy and pursue equality-based relationships with neighboring Russia and China.
In his inauguration speech, Battulga emphasized that Mongolia should also take measures to strengthen its relations with the "third neighbors"-the United States, Japan, Germany and other countries-beyond its two giant neighbors.

Although some of Battulga's supporters sent out random negative messages about China during the presidential campaign, China-Mongolia cooperation will continue on the basis of mutual benefit.

On July 11, Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated Battulga for taking the office of Mongolia's president. A day before that, Battulga met with China's ambassador to Mongolia Xing Haiming and exchanged views on China-Mongolia relations and cooperation. Xing said China and Mongolia are friendly neighbors, and Beijing attached great importance to the two countries' ties. Battulga, on his part, said Mongolia and China have always been good neighbors and should enhance the synergy between Mongolia's Development Road strategy and China's Belt and Road Initiative.

The China-led Belt and Road Initiative and Mongolia's Development Road strategy have many common concepts and contents, indicating the two countries have a bright cooperative future. The Belt and Road Initiative aims at sharing resources, technologies and expertise with its neighboring and other countries.

On Sept 11, 2014, Xi proposed the "China-Russia-Mongolia Economic Corridor" and received positive responses from Moscow and Ulaanbaatar. In July 2015, the leaders of the three countries held a meeting in Ufa, Russia, and agreed to dovetail the Silk Road Economic Belt with Russia's "Transcontinental Rail Plan" and Mongolia's "Prairie Road Program" (which became Development Road strategy in 2017), and push forward the construction of the China-proposed trilateral economic corridor.

Mongolia is situated along the Silk Road Economic Belt, the overland route of the Belt and Road Initiative which also comprises the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, making China-Mongolia cooperation a key part of the implementation of the initiative.

Mongolia proposed the Prairie Road Program in 2014 to connect China and Russia through Mongolia with "five lines"-roads, railway, oil pipelines, gas pipelines and power lines. On May 12 this year, Xi met with Mongolian Prime Minister Jargaltulga Erdenebat at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing and said China supported Mongolia's role as a bridge between China and Russia. Therefore, China-Mongolia all-round cooperation will be mutually beneficial.

Another important fact is that China and Mongolia are economically complementary and thus ideal for economic cooperation. China has been Mongolia's largest investment and trading partner for more than a decade. Mongolia mainly exports natural resources, fur and raw materials to China, and imports gas, diesel, food, and machinery and equipment from China.

As a frontier market state, Mongolia is in the initial stage of prospecting natural resources and pursuing industrial development. It therefore needs Chinese investments and technology in the mining industry, which is an important pillar of its economy. The Belt and Road Initiative has brought great opportunities to Mongolia, by helping deepen bilateral cooperation in various fields such as minerals, infrastructure and connectivity. So, it will enjoy greater benefits by participating in the Belt and Road Initiative.

China is also vital to Mongolia's national security in geopolitical terms. Located between Russia and China, having good relationships with its two giant neighbors is Mongolia's top priority. Although Battulga emphasized that Mongolia should also try to strengthen relations with "third neighbors", Mongolia's geopolitical position demands that it maintain friendly ties with Russia and China.

Moreover, no country can develop in isolation in the era of globalization, and Mongolia can benefit from China's robust economic growth by participating in the Belt and Road Initiative. Minerals and infrastructure construction form the backbone of the two countries' economic cooperation today. And there is enough reason for the two sides to deepen cooperation in fields such as e-commerce, and digital economy.

The author is an assistant researcher at the Inner Mongolia Academy of Social Sciences.



China's second quarter growth beats expectations at 6.9% www.bbc.com

The growth rate, which compares expansion with the same three months in the previous year, was the same as in the first quarter of 2017.
Beijing is trying to rein in debt and a housing bubble with tough measures on the property sector and lenders.
Many analysts expected China's economy to slow as those policies kicked in.
But the latest data is well above Beijing's 6.5% growth target for 2017.
Limited impact
Despite efforts to slow down the housing market, property investment grew by 8.5% in the first half, which is up from the same period in 2016.
Some analysts are predicting that tighter lending rules may not have the cooling effect that many expected.
"Property prices will have an impact in the second half, but the impact might not be as big as we thought. It is only on prime cities. The third-tier and fourth-tier cities might catch up a little bit and that will offset some of the slowdown in first tier cities," said Iris Pang, Greater China Economist with ING.
China's economy grew at its weakest pace in 26 years during 2016, but other data released on Monday added to the picture of rebounding growth for the Chinese economy.
Industrial output for June grew by 7.6%, well above the forecast 6.5%.
Retail spending grew 11% last month compared with June 2016.
And growth in both imports and exports also came in above expectations.


Mongolia’s first satellite starts operations in space www.news.mn

'Mazaalai', Mongolia's first satellite of, began its operations in space last week, offering high resolution images of the Earth from an altitude of 400 kilometers; it also broadcasted the country's national anthem.

The spacecraft will perform experiments such as locating the position using a reverse GPS method with the help of seven international land stations of the Birds project, determine the air density, and investigate cosmic radiation in low Earth orbit.

Ya.Tumurbaatar, dean of the National University of Mongolia, said that by receiving real-time high-resolution images from space, natural disasters such as forest fires, snow, drought, storms, rain and floods could be prevented.

The satellite is named after the Mongolian name for the rare Gobi bear.



President of Mongolia received his first guests www.http://annx.asianews.network

ULAANBAATAR (GoGo Mongolia/ANN) - On July 10, the President of Mongolia Khaltmaagiin Battulga welcomed his first guests just after he took the office.

At first, he welcomed the Russian representatives led by Igor Levitin, Aide to the President of the Russian Federation. It was highlighted that Igor Levitin was the first guest to be welcomed by President Battulga, after his inauguration. At the meeting, President Battulga noted: “Today, after having sworn as the President, I received a congratulatory telegram from the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. I would like to express my appreciation to him”.

During the meeting, the parties discussed issues of mutual relations and cooperation.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Ts.Munkh-Orgil, Chief of Staff of the President Z.Enkhbold, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Mongolia to the Russian Federation B.Delgermaa, and other officials were present at the meeting.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Mongolia Iskander K.Azizov, acting Head of the Republic of Buryatia Alexey S.Tsydenov, Speaker of the People's Khural of Buryatia Ts.E.Dorjiev, and other officials accompanied Igor Levitin, Aide to the President of the Russian Federation.

Following the President of Mongolia Khaltmaagiin Battulga welcomed M.Hayashi, Aide to the President of Japan, Chair of the Japan-Mongolia Friendship Group of the House of Representatives of Japan.

Hayashi handed over the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe’s telegram of congratulation to the President of Mongolia.

Then, they exchanged views on issues of bilateral relations between the two countries.

At the meeting, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ts.Munkh-Orgil, Chief of Staff of the President Z.Enkhbold, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Mongolia MasatoTakaoka and other officials from both sides were present.

Then the President of Mongolia Khaltmaagiin Battulga met with the Ambassador of the European Union to Mongolia Hans Dietmar Schweisgut.

Hans Dietmar Schweisgut congratulated President Battulga and conveyed greetings from the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission to the President of Mongolia.

The parties shared their opinion on strengthening the relations between Mongolia and the European Union.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Ts.Munkh-Orgil, Chief of Staff of the President Z.Enkhbold, and other representatives were present at the meeting.