1 VOLKSWAGEN TO SPEND $50 BILLION ON ELECTRIC CAR 'OFFENSIVE' WWW.CNN.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/19      2 HABITABILITY OF MONGOLIA UNDER THREAT FROM CLIMATE CHANGE WWW.ADELAIDENOW.COM.AU PUBLISHED:2018/11/19      3 THE SURPRISE FUEL FLOWS SPARKED BY A RAGING U.S.-CHINA TRADE WAR WWW.BLOOMBERG.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/19      4 MONGOLIA’S COAL EXPORTS IN FIRST 10 MONTHS UP 10PC WWW.XINHUANET.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/19      5 ABOUT 100 THOUSAND PASSENGERS PASSED THROUGH MONGOLIA-XINJIANG BORDER WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2018/11/19      6 CHINA'S ‘ONE BELT, ONE ROAD’ GLOBAL INVESTMENT PLAN MAPPED OUT WWW.RT.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/19      7 ASIA SUMMIT ENDS IN HISTORIC FAILURE WWW.CNN.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/19      8 INAUGURATION OF SHERAB KYETSEL LING INSTITUTE WWW.DALAILAMA.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/19      9 US-MONGOLIA 'THIRD NEIGHBOR TRADE ACT' ON THE WAY WWW.THEDIPLOMAT.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      10 CHINA'S FIGHT AGAINST SMOG MAKES PALLADIUM 2018'S BEST METAL WWW.MINING.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      БНХАУ-ЫН ОЛОН УЛСЫН ИМПОРТЫН ҮЗЭСГЭЛЭН БНХАУ-ОХУ-ЫН БИЗНЕСИЙН ХАРИЛЦААГ ӨРГӨЖҮҮЛЛЭЭ WWW.MONTSAME.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/19     АМЧАМ МОНГОЛ 2018 ОНЫ ЖИЛИЙН ТАЙЛАНГИЙН ХУРЛАА АМЖИЛТТАЙ ЗОХИОН БАЙГУУЛЛАА WWW.IKON.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/19     ЗЭСИЙН ЗАХ ЗЭЭЛД ЦОЙЛУУЛАХ ХАРМАГТАЙ WWW.DNN.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/19     ГАШУУНСУХАЙТ АВТО ЗАМ ХХК: БЯМБА ГАРАГТ ГАШУУНСУХАЙТ-ГАНЦМОД БООМТООР НҮҮРС ТЭЭВРИЙН 99 АВТОМАШИН НЭВТЭРСЭН WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/19     НЭГ АЖИЛТАНД НОГДОХ ДНБ III УЛИРЛЫН БАЙДЛААР 3.7 САЯ ТӨГРӨГ БОЛЖ ӨСЖЭЭ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/19     ХЯТАДЫН ХЯЗГААРЛАЛТ $300-450 САЯЫГ ГАЦААНА WWW.ZGM.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/19     АЗЕРБАЙЖАН УЛС МАНАЙД ДАРС НИЙЛҮҮЛЭХЭЭР БОЛЛОО WWW.UNUUDUR.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/19     ШУУДАН, ХАРИЛЦАА ХОЛБООНЫ САЛБАРЫН ОРЛОГО ОНЫ ЭХНИЙ 9 САРД 21.4 ХУВИАР ӨСӨВ WWW.GOGO.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/19     БНСУ-ЫН АЖ АХУЙН НЭГЖҮҮДИЙН АУТСОРСИНГ ЗАХИАЛГЫГ ГҮЙЦЭТГЭХ ЗАЛУУЧУУДЫГ СОНГОН, ШАЛГАРУУЛНА WWW.UNUUDUR.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     НҮҮРСНИЙ ЭКСПОРТ 10 ХУВИАР ӨСӨЖ, 31.3 САЯ ТОНН БОЛОВ WWW.GOGO.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17    

Events

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

NEWS

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Exclusive: Dropbox seeks to hire IPO underwriters - sources www.reuters.com

Data-sharing business Dropbox Inc is seeking to hire underwriters for an initial public offering that could come later this year, which would make it the biggest U.S. technology company to go public since Snap Inc (SNAP.N), people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The IPO will be a key test of Dropbox's worth after it was valued at almost $10 billion in a private fundraising round in 2014.

Dropbox will begin interviewing investment banks in the coming weeks, the sources said, asking not to be named because the deliberations are private.

Dropbox declined to comment.

Several big U.S. technology companies such as Uber Technologies Inc and Airbnb Inc have resisted going public in recent months, concerned that stock market investors, who focus more on profitability than do private investors, would assign lower valuations to them.

Snap, owner of the popular messaging app Snapchat, was forced to lower its IPO valuation expectations earlier this year amid investor concern over its unproven business model. Its shares have since lingered just above the IPO price, with investors troubled by widening losses and missed analyst estimates. It has a market capitalization of $21 billion.

Still, for many private companies, there is increasing pressure to go pubic as investors look to cash out.

Proceeds from technology IPOs slumped to $6.7 billion in2015 from $34 billion in 2014, and shrunk further to $2.9 billion in 2016, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Dropbox's main competitor, Box Inc (BOX.N), was valued at roughly $1.67 billion in its IPO in 2015, less than the $2.4 billion it had been valued at in previous private fundraising rounds.

San Francisco-based Dropbox, which was founded in 2007 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduates Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, counts Sequoia Capital, T. Rowe Price and Greylock Partners as investors.

Dropbox started as a free service for consumers to share and store photos, music and other large files. That business became commoditized though, as Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Google, Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) started offering storage for free.

Dropbox has since pivoted to focus on winning business clients, and Houston, the company's CEO, has said that Dropbox is on track to generate more than $1 billion in revenue this year.

The company has expanded its Dropbox Business that requires companies to pay a fee based on the number of employees who use it. The service in January began offering Smart Sync, which allows users to see and access all of their files, whether stored in the cloud or on a local hard drive, from their desktop.

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Mongolia exports 4000 tons of meat to Iran www.montsame.mn

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ Mongolia has started exporting meat to Iran in the frames of ‘Meat and Milk Campaign I’.

A 4000 tons of mutton, the first batch of meat to be exported to the county in scope of an agreement reached between ‘Eco Food Trading’ LLC and ‘Darkhan Meat Foods’ LLC, was thus transported to Iran last Friday.

The meat export to Iran expands Mongolia’s foreign export market, noted the authorities of the two companies.

Mongolia is capable of exporting more than 100 thousand tons of meat per annum. If Mongolia can fully utilize this capability, the quality of Mongolian meat will be widely acknowledged in international market which will improve the livelihood of herders, the corresponding Ministry sees.

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Top 3 coal countries produced 6% more coal from January to May www.mining.com

Just when you thought coal was out, the fossil fuel appears to be back on the burner.

In a sharp reversal of 2016, the world's biggest coal producers – China, the U.S and India – are mining more coal, despite efforts by the 2015 Paris climate accord to rein in carbon dioxide and other emissions believed to cause global warming. President Donald Trump recently announced he is pulling the U.S. out of the agreement.

The Associated Press reports that coal production through May is up by at least 121 million tonnes for the top 3 coal producers – a 6% increase from the same period last year. The most dramatic rise is in the United States, where coal mining rose 19% in the first five months of the year.

Says AP: 

The reasons for this year’s turnaround include policy shifts in China, changes in U.S. energy markets and India’s continued push to provide electricity to more of its poor, industry experts said. President Donald Trump’s role as coal’s booster-in-chief in the U.S. has played at most a minor role, they said.
The up-turn in coal use contrasts with a report released two weeks ago from BP Plc, which said that in 2016, U.S. demand for coal plummeted 33.4 million tons of oil equivalent to 358.4 million – a level not seen since the 1970s. China, the world's largest energy consumer, burned the least coal in six years. Consumption of coal fell in every continent except Africa last year.

Other recent coal news continues to support the thesis that the fossil fuel is in decline. Three days ago the Chinese government announced that it will not allow coal imports at small ports from July 1, in a move likely to tighten supply of the fuel during summer and support a further rally in prices. Coking coal futures in China soared almost 8 percent last Thursday.

And on June 21, Coal India, the world’s largest producer, said it is closing 37 mines before March next year as it said they are no longer economically viable due to increasing competition from renewable energy sources.

China has committed to capping its greenhouse gases by 2030 and last year shut down hundreds of coal mines, while also forcing others to reduce hours. The measures were aimed at reducing coal supply and boosting prices, though the Chinese government has since relaxed that policy and production is rebounding, states AP.

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Relationship With China Looms Large in Mongolian Election www.theepochtimes.com

After an inconclusive vote in Mongolia’s June 26 presidential election, candidates from the north Asian country’s two most prominent political parties will face off in a second round on July 7.

Mongolia’s relationship with China, particularly regarding its economy, has been a major topic in the election. Ninety percent of Mongolia’s exports go to its southern neighbor, with the main export products being coal and minerals including gold and copper. China wants to invest in infrastructure to mine and move these exports quicker, but can only do so if allowed by the Mongolian government.

Battulga Khaltmaa, candidate for the conservative-leaning Democratic Party and former transport minister, has expressed concern about growing Chinese economic involvement in Mongolia.

In an emailed statement to Reuters, Battulga said that while China “must be a great partner of [Mongolia]”, “rail and transportation for any country is both a national security and an economic issue”.

When resources run out, “there will definitely be conflict between the Mongolians and the Chinese”, he said in a 2014 interview.

Enkhbold Miyegombo of the ruling Mongolian People’s Party is less suspicious of Chinese motives for investment.

The People’s Party was once known as the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP) and served as the Soviet-backed communist regime in Mongolia from the 1920s to the end of the Cold War. The MPRP of today split off from the People’s Party and was represented in the initial vote by candidate Ganbaatar Sainkhuu.

According to one party official in a Reuters interview, he is “open to foreign investment from all countries, that of course includes investment from China”.

The official also said that “the reality for today is we have the supply, China has the demand,” but added that Mongolia needed to diversify and “reduce inappropriate dependence” on one country.

There have been several political conflicts between the two countries in recent years. About a week after the exiled Tibetan religious leader, the Dalai Lama, visited Mongolia in 2016, China reportedly closed an important border crossing that left hundreds of truck drivers stuck at the border for hours and even days.

Al Jazeera reported that a loan deal Mongolia was negotiating with China to ease its financial situation had been cancelled by China, also because of the Dalai Lama’s visit. Mongolia is “paying a very heavy economic price for putting religious freedom ahead of economic necessity,” Al Jazeera reported.

A 2014 agreement with China’s Shenhua Group was blocked by the Mongolian parliament the following year because of disputes about the width of the track. According to a Business News Europe report, then-transport minister Battulga argued that “tanks can easily penetrate into Mongolia in no time if we build a railway with a [narrower] gauge track, the same used in China.”

In the initial vote on June 26, Battulga won 38.1 percent, while the People’s Party’s Enkhbold won 30.3 percent. Ganbaatar Sainkhuu of the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party gained 30.2 percent.

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List of new laws taking effect in July www.montsame.mn

Starting from July 1, following laws will come into effect.

Criminal Code /Revised version/
Criminal Procedure Code /Revised/
Law on Offence /Revised/
Offence Procedure Law /Revised/
Law on the Elderly /Revised/
Law on Social Welfare Allowance for the Elderly with State Merit /Revised/
Law on Youth
Law on Auto Road /Revised/
Maritime Law /Revised/
Law on Decision of Civil Cases in the Court /Revised/
Law on Prosecutor /Revised/

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"Mongolia have probably the biggest gold resources globally" www.miningmetalnews.com

Already on 10 February 1922, the People’s Government of Mongolia signed a landmark resolution that brought a significant coal deposit in Nalaikh city under state control. By the end of the year, exploration on the deposit was complete, ushering in what is today considered the birth of the mining sector in the country.

In the 96 years that have followed, the mining industry has undergone a number of transformations as its role in Mongolia’s economy has steadily grown into one of its leading sectors of growth, responsible for producing 21 percent of its GDP, 70 percent of its total industrial output and 90 percent of its export product.

Coal, copper and gold form the principle reserves that are mined in abundance across Mongolia. The country hosts approximately ten percent of the world’s known coal reserves at an estimated 162 billion tonnes.

It took Mongolia a while to shake down since shaking off Soviet influence in 1990 and ceasing to call itself a people's republic, but today this huge, sparsely populated country is democratic, peaceful and stable. Its readily accessible mineral wealth has started to attract major mining companies seeking new resources and with copper and gold prices firming up following a four-year downturn.

Since it floated on the Australian Stock Exchange in May 2010, the Australian exploration company Xanadu Mines has been single-mindedly pursuing its goal of adding value to its properties in the South Gobi district of Mongolia.

Its Managing Director and CEO Dr Andrew Stewart has long held the view that Mongolia had the edge on other comparable regions:

“We like Mongolia because it is a very under-explored exploration location, even though it has been shown to host some of the biggest copper deposits in the world,” adds Stewart.

He points for evidence to Rio Tinto's massive Oyu Tolgoi project, only 100 kilometres from Xanadu's flagship Kharmagtai project in the south of the country. With the cost of bringing it into production estimated at close to $10 billion, the Oyu Tolgoi mining project represents the largest financial undertaking in Mongolia’s history.

“Mongolia is God's gift to explorers! A junior company like Xanadu can explore relatively cheaply,” he says.

There are comparable reserves in the world, but most of these are located in remote jungle, at high altitude, places with high rainfall or, like the beleaguered Grasberg mine in Indonesia, beset with political disruption.

While Xanadu's peers are drilling at a cost of up to $600 a metre, Xanadu's costs come in at around $100, thanks to the open nature of the terrain plus the fact that all of the roads, power, water and other services that are required are already in place.

“Particularly at Kharmagtai, this is the benefit gained from the infrastructure that goes in when one of the world's biggest mining companies builds a tier one asset next door to our project,” he admits.

All three projects that Xanadu is developing are in highly prospective deposits. The gold element is a critical differentiator between these Mongolian resources and others in South and Central America for example.

“These porphyry copper resources we see in Mongolia are probably the biggest gold resources globally,” he says.

These are precisely the type of deposit that the major mining companies are turned on by at a time when there is a scarcity of new resources on the one hand while on the other global economic uncertainties are encouraging investors to take refuge in gold.

Kharmagtai, with a 30-year mining licence and a registered water resource, is the most active currently, and he estimates that it will take another year to define.

The deposit starts at the surface, giving the opportunity for early production upside from an open pit, but in the longer term there is a great deal more value deeper down. Xanadu’s local drilling contractor Litho Resources has already gone down 650 metres, with some excellent intercepts, but by mid-2018 he expects it to reach as far as a kilometre.

The demand for copper from Japan, China and Russia, with ready logistical access to all of these markets, boosted by the global thirst for gold, will make Xanadu Mines a tempting target for the majors, though the company does not by any means rule out the possibility that the they might build its own mines either alone or in partnership.

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Japan's Megabanks Vie for Top Role as Backers of Clean Energy www.bloomberg.com

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. are in a neck-and-neck race to be the biggest lead arrangers of lending to the renewable energy industry in the first half of the year, highlighting the more active financing role for Japanese banks in clean energy.

Tokyo-based MUFG has the edge over Mizuho in writing project finance loans to clean-energy developers for the period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. As of Thursday, MUFG was credited with $1.697 billion of asset financing, compared with $1.662 billion for Mizuho, the BNEF data show.

Japan’s support for renewables since the Fukushima disaster in 2011 and the search for steady yields outside the country have helped push the nation’s lenders into the top tiers among their global rivals. In 2011, only MUFG was in the top five lenders exposed to asset finance deals in clean energy, according to BNEF. Last year, three of the five biggest lenders were Japanese.

“Japan’s megabanks have been expanding on the back of heightened interest in renewables such as solar after the earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku,” said Takashi Miura, an analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG in Tokyo. “And they’re also doing more because they can secure relatively good margins.”

MUFG’s focus on lending to solar, wind and geothermal projects in the first half has helped solidify its hold on the top position among global financial institutions that it assumed last year when it passed Banco Santander SA. Mizuho, which was fifth in lending to clean-energy developers in 2016, is aiming to challenge MUFG with a push beyond solar and wind into other areas such as biomass.

“Mega solar has been our focus since 2012,” Toshikazu Tanaka, head of the project finance team at Mizuho, said in an interview at the bank’s Tokyo headquarters. “The business environment for power producers is changing and solar may not expand as much as it did before. We will work on expansion into new fields.”

Solar Cuts

Mizuho’s focus on other clean-energy sources comes after tariffs for solar power producers in Japan dropped by nearly half since 2012 to 21 yen a kilowatt-hour this year. A change in government backing is also underway since the introduction of new rules in April, with photovoltaic projects of 2 megawatts in capacity or larger now subject to auctions.

In February, Mizuho provided a $586.5 million loan for a wind portfolio in Texas and Oklahoma, the largest loan the bank provided so far this year, according to BNEF data. Mizuho was the sole lender to the 700-megawatt projects sponsored by Duke Energy Corp., according to the bank.

“The ratio of renewables in global power demand is steadily increasing and clean energy is also expanding outside developed countries,” Kazunobu Takahara, a spokesman for MUFG said. “We will continue our active financing for renewables projects.”

As for Mizuho, five of the 11 projects it financed were for solar projects in Japan this year as of Thursday. The bank also funded two photovoltaic stations in the U.S. and the 80-megawatt Muara Laboh geothermal plant by Engie SA, Sumitomo Corp., and PT Supreme Energy.

Mizuho is betting on continuing developments of offshore wind projects in Europe, according to Toru Miyabe, head of the power team at the bank’s global project finance department. 

Currently, offshore wind capacity totals more than 13 gigawatts worldwide, with nearly 90 percent of installations in Europe. Offshore capacity is expected to reach 174 gigawatts by 2040, according a BNEF forecast released on June 15.

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Rio Tinto shareholders greenlight sale of Aussie coal assets to Yancoal www.mining.com

Rio Tinto (ASX, LON:RIO) shareholders have backed management on the decision to sell the firm’s Australian coal assets to China-backed Yancoal Australia (ASX:YAL) for $2.69 billion, ending a three-week bidding war with Glencore.

The deal was approved by 97% of Rio’s shareholders in the UK and Australia, leaving the Swiss commodity trader — already the world's No.1 exporter of sea-traded thermal coal — out of the race.

Glencore first tried and failed buying Coal & Allied in 2015, when Rio declared coal a non-core asset, hence no longer part of its growth strategy.

In January this year, Rio agreed to sell its interest in Coal & Allied to Yancoal for $2.45 billion. The terms of that deal allowed Rio to engage in negotiations with another party if it made a better offer.

Along came Glencore, with a bid made up of $2.05 billion upfront and $0.5 billion in instalments over five years, plus an offer to buy Mitsubishi’s stake in the Hunter Valley operations for $920 million cash. But the Japanese firm also chose Yancoal.

Both Glencore and Yancoal later sweetened their bids for Rio’s assets, but the Anglo-Australian company always made clear that Yancoal was its preferred buyer.

Coal asset sales stalled last year when prices for the commodity climbed up to almost five-year highs and companies raised their expectations on bids for their assets. But there's movement in the market once again.

Mitsubishi announced that is considering selling a stake in Clermont coal mine in Australia. If sold, the company would be left with a stake in just one thermal coal mine.

Other Japanese trading houses have also been cutting or freezing investments in thermal coal.

Mitsui & Co said last month it would invest mainly in iron ore, LNG and oil and had no plans to consider acquiring or developing new thermal coal mines. The announcement followed last year’s decision to cut its exposure to coal by a third within three years.

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200 parking spaces on Sukhbaatar square open www.montsame.mn

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ On June 29, a 200-car parking space was put into operation on the south side of the central square of the capital-the Sukhbaatar Square, with a view to reduce traffic congestion in the central area of the city and create a comfortable environment for citizens, domestic and foreign tourists and travelers.

Drainage system, lighting, pedestrian and chair installation works were made besides soil stripping and asphalt works were carried-out on 6650 sq.m of land from June 5-23. The new parking space has 6 bus stops, 3 parking lots for disabled persons’ vehicles and 193 normal parking spaces.

One of the most pressing issues of Ulaanbaatar is traffic congestion. Insufficiency of parking in the capital city increases traffic jam by 25 percent. Therefore, the capital authority considers it proper to increase the number of parking spaces to reduce traffic jam.

Ulaanbaatar City Mayor and Mayor S.Batbold stated " - Professional organizations have defined that there are about 70 locations available for parking space in Ulaanbaatar. Constructing open and underground parking spaces at these locations estimated to reduce traffic jam by 25 percent. The issue on how to use this part of the Sukhbaatar square was controversial for many years. This was discussed by the city authorities and decided to use it according to the general plan”.

"ESTO" LLC executed the construction work of the parking.

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Fed stress tests give $1.6bn boost to Buffett www.ft.com

 
Warren Buffett’s backing of beaten-down US banks is poised to pay big dividends in the wake of the industry’s stress test success — $1.6bn of dividends, to be precise.
 
The revered investor is to become one of the largest individual beneficiaries of the Federal Reserve’s green light to banks to make their biggest cash distribution to shareholders since the financial crisis.
 
The splurge that the Fed has permitted includes a 60 per cent dividend increase at Bank of America, where Mr Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway is likely to become the largest shareholder under the terms of a deal he struck with the lender’s board six years ago.
 
The deal granted Berkshire preferred stock but Mr Buffett has previously said he will swap it for BofA’s common shares if their dividend becomes more attractive. Berkshire is in line for an annual dividend of $336m if it makes the conversion, $36m more than it is paid on the preferred stock.
 
Mr Buffett’s biggest source of dividend income from the sector, meanwhile, will come from Wells Fargo, which confounded some on Wall Street this week when regulators waved through its capital distribution plan despite a mis-selling scandal that rocked the industry.
 
Mr Buffett stuck with Wells last year while it was plunged into crisis. Regulators found staff set up hundreds of thousands of fake customer accounts. Wells is increasing its dividend by a little under 3 per cent and Berkshire, the bank’s biggest shareholder, is in line for an annual dividend of about $837m.
 
Many investors shunned US banks in the wake of the 2008 market meltdown as persistent legal difficulties, rock-bottom interest rates and toughened regulation constrained their profits.
 
Yet Berkshire stuck with his favoured investments in financials and also lent support to other banks amid the turmoil.
 
Berkshire ploughed $5bn into Goldman Sachs about a week after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. It made its investment in Bank of America, again for $5bn, in 2011 when the lender was struggling with legal woes related to subprime mortgages.
 
“The banks’ post stress-test liberation is a vindication of his earlier judgment,” said Lawrence Cunningham, law professor at George Washington University and an author of books on Mr Buffett.
 
The banking payout plans cleared by the Fed are seen by some on Wall Street as an inflection point in the industry’s fortunes, a sign it is shaking off its post-crisis shackles.
 
Dividends are not the only source of capital returns. The Fed’s clean bill of health has also paved the way for bank share buy backs.
 
In total, Berkshire is set to receive about 12 per cent more in dividends from its seven largest financial investments than the year before, according to Financial Times research based on Bloomberg holdings data and RBC Capital Markets dividend calculations.
 
Still, the dividend increases from his chosen banks are smaller than several others. Goldman got permission for an increase of about 11 per cent and US Bancorp for 7 per cent. In contrast Citigroup was cleared to double its dividend.
 
Regulators also required American Express, in which Berkshire is the biggest shareholder, to rethink its original capital distribution plan. In the end they gave their blessing to a 9 per cent dividend increase.
 
Known as the Sage of Omaha for his investment record over almost five decades, Mr Buffett himself is known to be somewhat ambivalent about dividends. 
 
He has noted that reinvesting profits back into a business can be a better use of shareholder cash, although he also recognises consistent and increasing payouts can be of value to investors. Berkshire itself has not paid a dividend in over half a century.
 
Mr Buffett continues to give selective backing to hard hit financial companies. Last week he tossed a lifeline to the stricken Canadian lender Home Capital with a C$2.4bn (US$1.8bn) financing package.
 
Bank stocks have already got a boost from higher interest rates, as well as hopes of lower taxes and financial deregulation in the wake of Donald Trump’s election. S&P 500 financial stocks up 35 per cent in the past year, twice as much as the index. Even so, some — including Bank of America — still trade at a discount to book value, a sign of investor caution.
 
 
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