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The International Monetary Fund said Asia's economic outlook faces "significant" uncertainty and downside growth risks from any sudden tightening in global financial conditions or rise in protectionist trade policies.
The IMF, which in April raised its 2017 Asia-Pacific growth forecast to 5.5 percent from its previous October forecast of 5.4 percent, said loose monetary and fiscal policies across most of the region would underpin domestic demand.
"However, the near-term outlook is clouded with significant uncertainty, and risks, on balance, remain slanted to the downside," the IMF said in its Asia-Pacific regional economic outlook released on Tuesday.
In April, the IMF kept the region's 2018 growth forecast unchanged at 5.4 percent. Asia-Pacific recorded 5.3 percent growth in 2016.
The report comes at a time when policymakers around the region are wrestling with the challenge of how to navigate rising risks of protectionism under U.S. President Donald Trump, and a potential increase in funding costs as the Federal Reserve steps up the pace of rate hikes.
Continued tightening of global financial conditions could trigger volatility in capital flows, and the region could see large spillovers if China's shift to a more consumption-driven economy proves bumpier than expected, the IMF said.
"A possible shift toward protectionism in major trading partners also represents a substantial risk to the region. Asia is particularly vulnerable to a decline in global trade because the region has a high trade openness ratio, with significant participation in global supply chains," it said.
The IMF said exchange rate flexibility should remain the "main shock absorber" against a sudden tightening in global financial conditions or shift toward protectionism.
It added, however, that "judicious" foreign exchange intervention might be called for in certain cases, such as when disorderly market conditions or rapid exchange rate movements threaten financial or corporate stability.
The IMF emphasized that foreign exchange intervention should not be used to resist currency moves that reflect changes in fundamentals including in the global trade environment or as a substitute for macroeconomic policy adjustments.
"Adapting to aging could be especially challenging for Asia, as populations living at relatively low per capita income levels in many parts of the region are rapidly becoming old," it said.
The IMF said monetary policy should generally remain accommodative in the region since inflation is below target and there is slack in most Asian economies.
If growth weakens further, some regional central banks such as those in Malaysia and Thailand, may have room to cut interest rates as long as external stability is not compromised, while others in India, Indonesia, and Vietnam should be ready to raise interest rates if inflationary pressures strengthen, the IMF said.
(Reporting by Masayuki Kitano; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)...
Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ On May 8, Mayor of Ulaanbaatar S.Batbold received Ms. Fatema Z. Sumar, the Regional Deputy Vice President of the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s /MCC/ who is paying a working visit to Mongolia on May 8 to 9.
The MCC's Investment Management Committee held its meeting on April 5 to make a decision to commence feasibility studies and detailed studies of projects to be implemented under the second MCC compact in with Mongolia. In this connection, Ms. Fatema Z. Sumar arrived in Ulaanbaatar to meet with authorities of Ulaanbaatar city, including Mayor of Ulaanbaatar and line ministries exchanging views on further cooperation.
The Investment Management Committee of the MCC decided to address the investment of the MCC second compact entirely to the water sector of Mongolia. Proposals of projects were finalized targeting two issues, firstly to increase water supply of Ulaanbaatar city and secondly to improve water supply and sanitation of Ger district areas. A total of USD 10.5 million will be spent for the projects within the framework of the MCC second compact, reports www.ulaanbaatar.mn
At the meeting with UB Mayor, Ms. Fatema Z. Sumar said “We are aiming to improve water supply service of Ulaanbaatar, including ger district areas. Also, we will pay attention to how to enhance access elders and children to clean water".
In February copper hit a 21-month high on the back of optimism that Donald Trump's $500 billion-plus infrastructure plan would add fuel to the fire of Chinese economic stimulus already working its way through commodity markets.
Any US stimulus now appears further in the distance and over the weekend it also became apparent that Chinese support for the sector is waning as imports of the metal, widely used in the construction, manufacturing transportation and power industries, decline sharply.
The price is now back to where it started 2017 with copper futures trading on the Comex market in New York falling more than 2% from Friday settlement trading near its day low of $2.4725 per pound ($5,450 a tonne) in lunchtime dealings. Copper is down more than 7% in the past week.
Official customs data from China, responsible for some 45% of global copper consumption, show the country's refined copper imports in April dropped by 30% to 300,000 tonnes compared to the previous month. Year-on-year import volumes fell by a third. For the whole of 2016 imports were at record levels of 4.95 million tonnes.
Concentrate imports declined by 16.6% to 1.36m tonnes in April from the March total, but is still nearly 8% higher than the same period last year. 2016 was a banner year with volumes gaining 28% over 2015 hitting an all-time high of 16.96 million tonnes for the full year.
Chinese imports compare to global mined production of an estimated 20.5 million tonnes per year.
The price of coking coal plunged again on Monday with the industry benchmark price tracked by the Steel Index dropping 6% or $12.40 to $199.40 a tonne as the impact of supply disruption following tropical storms in Australia appears to have been less than previously thought.
A trading note from Titus Zheng Shujian of FreightInvestors explains that buyers have stayed on the sidelines in the downward market, "hoping to liquidate their position first until prices settled at the pre-Debbie level":
Currently, the market is awash with supply due to end users’ first wave of restocking in early-April 2017.
An Australian trade source stated that some end users had simply bought too much as they expected the cyclone-related supply disruption to last longer and with greater impact in the market.
According to preliminary Chinese customs data released over the weekend, the country imported 24.8 million tonnes of coal (both thermal and met coal) in April. Volumes were up 12.2% from March and up 31.8% year on year. Total import for the first four months of 2017 jumped 33.1% compared to the same period last year to 89.5 million tonnes.
The steelmaking raw material is now trading more than $110 a tonne below its mid-April peak when the price of Australia free-on-board premium hard coking coal jumped to highest since the second quarter of 2011.
That price spike was also the result of flooding in Queensland that saw quarterly contract prices negotiated at an all time high of $330.
Most producers would probably be happy with a price around of $200 – 14 months ago they were coping with sub-$80.
A survey of economist and investment bank analysts by FocusEconomics show prices are expected to decline substantially later this year. The median forecast is for met coal to average $146 per tonne in Q4 2017 and $130 during the final quarter next year. Coking coal averaged $121 a tonne in 2016.
While coking coal is returning to more expected levels, iron ore's unnerving decline – down 37% from its February peak – took a breather on Monday.
The Northern China import price of 62% Fe content ore was steady $59.50 a tonne according to data supplied by The Steel Index. The recent slump has been blamed on domestic Chinese miners returning to the market.
The president of Mongolia is elected for a four-year term nationwide since 1992, using the two-round system.
On June 26, the 7th presidential election will be held in Mongolia. Current President Ts.Elbegdorj will not be running for re-election as he has been president for two terms. The President can be re-elected only one time.
Powers of the President:
Nominate a candidate for the office of Prime Minister, who is then approved or rejected by the State Great Khural (parliament).
Veto the Khural's legislation (can be overridden with a two-thirds majority).
Approve judicial appointments.
Appoint the Chief Judge of the Supreme Court of Mongolia.
Chair the national security council.
Act as commander in chief of the armed forces.
Nominate the Prosecutor General, the official in charge of implementing the laws, who is then approved or rejected by the Khural.
According to the Law on Elections, three political parties seated in Parliament are eligible to nominate a candidate for the Presidential Election 2017; the Mongolian People's Party (MPP), the Democratic Party (DP) and the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP). In regards, three parties have officially announced their presidential candidates on May 6.
Candidates to run in the election will receive candidacy certificates on May 27. Election campaigns will be commenced from June 6 to June 25. Mongolian citizens living abroad will vote at relevant embassies and consulates on June 10 and 11.
M.ENKHBOLD, A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE OF MPP
On May 3, MPP, which holds 65 out of 76 seats in Parliament, selected its candidate for the Presidential election at its members` meeting. Speaker of the Parliament M.Enkhbold won over Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Ts.Nyamdorj, collecting a majority or 85.7 percent of votes from the members and officially announced as a candidate to represent MPP in the Presidential election.
M.Enkhbold was born on 19 July 1964. He is currently the chairman of the Parliament of Mongolia, the State Great Khural. In 2016, when the MPP gained control of parliament, he was elected as chairman of the State Great Khural. Enkhbold is married and has two children.
In 1982, he graduated from the 1st secondary school of Ulaanbaatar,
In 1987, he graduated the National University of Mongolia as planner-economists,
In 1996, he earned diploma in Japan in Public management and organizational issues,
In 1998, he earned diploma in Germany in Local self-governing bodies,
In 2000, he earned Master degree in economy,
In 2002, he became member of International academy of information science, UNICEF,
In 2003, he earned Doctoral degree from South Korea in state authority,
In 2006, he earned Doctoral degree from Orkhon university.
From 1987-1989, he worked as an economist with the Services Office of the Executive Authority of the Assembly of People's Deputies of Ulaanbaatar.
From 1989-1991, he worked as a specialist to the Department of Planning and Service Mechanics of the Public Services Ministry.
From 1991-1992, he worked as head of the municipal Services Office of the Executive Authority of the Assembly of People's Deputies of Ulaanbaatar.
From 1992-1996, he worked as Deputy Governor of the Chingeltei District of Ulaanbaatar.
From 1996-1998, he worked as Chairman of the Presidium of the Chingeltei Districts Khural of Citizens Representatives.
From 1999-2005, he elected as Mayor of Ulaanbaatar city.
Since 2005, he is serving as MP.
From 2006-2007, he appointed as Prime Minister of Mongolia.
From 2007-2012, he appointed as Deputy Minister of Mongolia.
From 2012-2016, he appointed as Deputy Chairman of State Great Khural.
From 2016, he is working as Chairman of State Great Khural.
In 1990, he joined MPP,
In 1991-1992, he selected as a chairman of city 214th MPP slot,
In 1992-1997, he selected as a head of MPP committee in Chingeltei District,
In 1997-2006, he selected as a head of MPP committee,
In 2005-2007, he became a chairman of MPP,
In 2007-2012, he became a secretary of MPP,
In 2013, he became a chairman of MPP.
KH.BATTULGA, A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE OF DP
DP, which holds 10 seats in Parliament, selected its presidential candidate through votes from all members of the party nationwide. Member of Parliament L.Bold, former Prime Minister R.Amarjargal, former Minister of Justice and Internal Affairs D.Dorligjav, former Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag, former Agriculture Minister Kh.Battulga, and former Minister of Industry B.Jargalsaikhan have registered to run for the party’s nomination.
Kh.Battulga collected 2740 votes from the DP members in nationwide and officially announced as a candidate to run for the upcoming president election representing DP. He is followed by former Prime Minister R.Amarjargal with 2374 votes.
In 1978, he graduated from the 34th secondary school of Ulaanbaatar,
In 1982, he graduated Fine arts high school as a painter.
From 1979 - 1990, he was an athlete for Sambo national team,
From 1982 - 1990, he worked as a painter at Fine arts organization,
From 1990 - 2004. he worked as a general director of "Genco" LLC,
From 1997 - 2004, he worked as CEO of Bayangol hotel JSC,
From 1999 - 2004, he worked as CEO of Mah Impex JSC,
From 2004 - 2008, he elected as MP,
From 2008 - 2012, he appointed as Minister of Road, Transportation, Construction and Urban Development,
From 2008 - 2012, he elected as MP,
From 2012 -2016, he elected as MP,
From 2012 -2014, he worked as Minister of Industry and Agriculture,
From 2016, he is working as an anchorman for "Mongol tulgatnii 100 erhem" and chairman of the Mongolian Democratic Union.
N.ENKHBAYAR, A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE OF MPRP
A presidential candidate to represent the MPRP, which holds one out of 76 seats in Parliament, was the center of attention.
Six members of the party nominated themselves for the presidential candidate and N.Enkhbayar, former President of Mongolia officially announced as the MPRP’s candidate for the Presidential election 2017. He is the first person to have held all of the top three positions in Mongolian government - Prime Minister, Speaker of the Parliament, and President of Mongolia.
N.Enkhbayar was born on 1 June 1958 in Ulaanbaatar city, Mongolia. He is married to O.Tsolmon in 1987 and they have four children.
In 1975, he finished 23rd secondary school,
In 1980, he earned an undergraduate degree majoring in literature and language studies from Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in Moscow, Russia,
In 1986, he completed English language and literature course at Leeds University in the United Kingdom.
In 1985 he joined MPRP.
From 1992-1996, he elected to the State Great Khural and was appointed to serve as the country's Minister of Culture.
From 1996-1997, became the secretary general of the MPRP.
From 1997-2005, elected as the chairman of the MPRP.
From 2000-2004, he served as the Prime Minister of Mongolia.
From 2004-2005, he worked as Speaker of the Parliament.
From 2005-2009, he elected as President of Mongolia.
In 2011, he became the chairman of re-established MPRP while old members of MPRP established MPP.
The Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) arrested Enkhbayar on 13 April 2012. The IAAC stated that it arrested Enkhbayar for questioning in a graft case involving the illegal privatization of a government-owned hotel because he never showed up for questioning eleven times over a year during the investigation, thus it was forced to arrest him.
On 2 August 2012, after a three-day trial Sukhbaatar District Court convicted Enkhbayar of corruption and sentenced to seven years of imprisonment, three of which was pardoned and then gave four years prison term and fined with over MNT 1.7 billion for misusing state properties and government power. Enkhbayar's sentence was reduced to two and a half year prison term without the fine by the Supreme Court of Mongolia-the highest court in Mongolia for graft and embezzlement. However, Enkhbayar spent less than a month in prison and spent the rest of his prison term as a patient at the Second General Hospital.
On 1 August 2013, President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj issued a decree to pardon Enkhbayar thus releasing him from the rest of his jail term effective on the decree date.
A top Vietnamese official has been sacked for "violations" while running national oil and gas firm PetroVietnam, in a rare public censure by the ruling Communist Party.
The government said on Sunday that Dinh La Thang, 57, was no longer part of the top decision-making Politburo.
Mr Thang's alleged misconduct was first leaked on social media last year.
His sacking comes amid a wider crackdown on PetroVietnam, the country's largest enterprise.
It is extremely uncommon for a Politburo member to lose their place in the one-party state. Since Vietnam started economic reforms in 1986, only two other Politburo members have been dismissed.
Mr Thang is said to have committed the violations between 2009 and 2011 while he was chairman of PetroVietnam.
Last September, writer Huy Duc attacked Mr Thang on Facebook with articles accusing the politician of being responsible for a recent huge loss at PetroVietnam.
Although Huy Duc's articles, which seemed to be based on leaked documents, polarised public opinion on the internet, the issues he raised were not reported in state media.
In late April, the Central Inspection Committee, the top watchdog of the party, suddenly announced it had investigated and held Mr Thang responsible for "serious" violations at PetroVietnam.
The party's inspectors accused Mr Thang of allowing PetroVietnam to make loans to the local Ocean Bank that caused "serious losses" to the company.
They also said Mr Thang had advised the prime minister "to designate many bidding packages that failed to meet legal regulations".
On Sunday, a government statement said more than 90% of the party's central committee had voted to remove Mr Thang.
It said he had committed "serious violations in his leadership, command and staff works", which "hurt the Party's reputation" and caused "a loss of confidence" among people and party members.
Mr Thang, a former transport minister, became a member of the new Politburo at the party congress last year and was made the party's chief of Ho Chi Minh City, the country's largest city and commercial hub formerly known as Saigon.
The party is expected to soon name a new party chief for the city, a position always held by a Politburo member.
He was catapulted into political stardom for being unusually outspoken among normally reticent officials, and was known for his forthright rhetoric on state media.
His fall from grace follows other arrests at PetroVietnam and linked companies.
Another former PetroVietnam chairman was arrested in 2015 and later expelled from the Communist Party. Three other senior executives are also facing possible sanctions.
Last year four senior employees at a construction subsidiary of the firm were prosecuted for mismanagement that allegedly cost the company $150m (£116m).
Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong, who is effectively the most powerful man in Vietnam, is serving his second term. He has launched an anti-corruption campaign and has issued resolutions aimed at improving ethical conduct among party members.
Critics claim that the recent high-profile arrests and trials are mainly the result of political infighting.
However, Mr Trong's supporters say he is seriously concerned about systemic corruption and wants to do more to combat the problem.
Vietnam is ranked 113 out of 176 on Transparency International's corruption index.
The former vice president of the Mongolian State Bank has been sentenced with 5.1 years in prison for corruption. The decision was made by three District Courts in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, namely: Bayanzurkh, Chingeltei and Sukhbaatar. T.Dorjderem was convicted with receiving MNT 25 million bribes from the director of ‘Durvulj’ LLC for granting MNT 800 million credit. L.Altansukh, the director of ‘Durvulj’ LLC, will be fined the minimum wage increased by 51 times for offerring bribes....
China's most popular messaging app has been blocked in Russia.
Moscow's communications regulator has added WeChat to its list of prohibited websites, according to Russian state news agency TASS.
The messaging app ran afoul of laws requiring companies that distribute information online to register with government authorities in Russia.
Operated by tech giant Tencent (TCEHY), WeChat has about 900 million monthly active users, the vast majority of whom are in China.
Tencent said in a statement Monday that it's "in discussions with relevant authorities regarding the situation" in Russia. WeChat has been blacklisted since at least Friday, according to the TASS report.
Russian authorities are increasingly viewing the internet as a serious political threat and are trying to copy China's model of internet control, according to recent analysis from New America, a Washington-based think tank.
Last year, the architect of China's vast online censorship apparatus, known as the Great Firewall, was invited to speak at a forum on internet safety in Moscow. In 2015, Russia passed a law requiring companies to store data about Russian citizens in the country. That law appears similar to Chinese regulations preventing data collected in China from leaving the country.
As for WeChat, the messaging platform is no stranger to censorship, though it's usually on the other side of the restrictions.
In China, WeChat messages containing keywords mentioning sensitive topics like the Tiananmen Square of 1989 massacre or Tibet are blocked and censored.
In Russia, WeChat is just the latest casualty in Moscow's clampdown on international social media platforms. Last week, the communications regulator blocked Line (LN), Blackberry (BBRY, Tech30) and Imo messengers, according to Russian news outlet RT. In November, it banned LinkedIn, the social network for professionals that's owned by Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30).
Line, one of Japan's biggest messaging apps, said in a statement that it's investigating the situation. The company also appeared to take a veiled swipe at Russia's law on data collection.
"Line is committed to protecting user privacy, according to Japanese law," it said.
HOHHOT, May 8 (Xinhua) -- The first high-speed railway in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region started test runs on Sunday to prepare for the beginning of regular use by the end of July.
The high-speed train ran at a speed of 250 to 275 km per hour on a section from Ulanqab to Hohhot, capital of the region, during Sunday's trial, according to Hohhot Railway Bureau.
The section in Inner Mongolia is part of the high-speed railway that links Hohhot to Zhangjiakou in Hebei Province, the co-host city of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. When it is operational by the end of July, the travel time between Ulanqab and Hohhot will be shortened to 35 minutes from the current one hour.
The 286.8 km-long Zhangjiakou-Hohhot high-speed rail, with a designed speed of 250 km per hour, will be a major high-speed rail in north China upon completion.
It is expected to be completed and put into service in 2018. At that time, the Zhangjiakou-Hohhot high-speed rail will be connected to the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed rail, which is under construction. The travel time from Hohhot to Beijing will be reduced from the average nine hours to within three hours.