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

64x64

British and Mongolian army to play polo www.news.mn

The British and Mongolian army polo teams will mount for the annual friendly match on at the Khaan Polo Club, in Ulaanbaatar’s sub district area of Gachuurt on 22 September at 1.30 p.m. The army polo match has being held since 2015 and aims for deepening cooperation between the two countries in the sports, tourism and defence sectors.

The Mongolian polo team members were introduced to their British counterparts in 2015 at their first training session, held at the military base in Khentii Province under the patronage of the Ministry of Defence of Mongolia.

The United Kingdom was the first western country that recognized Mongolian Independence. Relationships between the two countries have successfully been developing over the last five years. Currently, Mongolia is closely cooperating with the UK in education, environment, democracy and economic development.

History reveals to us that it was only in the 1860s that the British Indian Cavalry Regiments invented the game nicknamed ‘King’s Game’ while it was being played at Manipur on 12 hand ponies.

The Mongolian Polo Federation was established in 1997. The Mongolian national polo team is no amateur affair – it won silver at the Asian Championships which were held in Bangkok in 2012.

...


64x64

Sharp Builds Mega Solar Plant in Zamyn Uud, Mongolia www.sharp-world.com

Sharp Energy Solutions Corporation (SESJ)*1 announces the completion of a mega solar power plant in Zamyn Uud, Dornogovi Province, Mongolia. The project was a collaboration with Shigemitsu Shoji Co., Ltd.*2 and Mongolian energy company Solar Tech LLC*3.

The new plant has an output of approximately 16.5 MW-dc, with annual power generation capacity estimated at 31,162 MWh/year. The output from this facility is expected to allow avoided greenhouse gas emissions of 24,836 t-CO2 per year.

Mongolia’s government is aiming for 25% of its power generation capacity to come from renewable sources. Back in December 2016, Sharp, in collaboration with Shigemitsu Shoji and others, completed a large-scale 10 MW-dc solar power plant. This was the first solar facility of its kind in Mongolia. Sharp remains committed to spreading renewable energy around the world.

...


64x64

Fitch Ratings: Mongolia Banks Recovering Post-AQR but Loan Growth a Risk www.fitchratings.com

Fitch Ratings-Hong Kong/Singapore-12 September 2018: Most large Mongolian banks have undertaken additional provisioning in response to an asset-quality review (AQR) concluded earlier this year, which is likely to pave the way for a pick-up in profitability and faster growth, says Fitch Ratings. However, the AQR highlighted weak capital, with some banks close to the regulatory minimum, while weaknesses in the regulatory environment and lending standards will continue to pose medium-term risks as banks refocus on expansion.

The AQR and subsequent stress test has not resulted in a full and transparent clean-up of balance sheets, but the process is likely to have led to improved acknowledgement of underlying asset-quality problems and a reassessment of collateral valuation. The doubling of State Bank's official NPL ratio in 1Q18, for example, is likely to have reduced under-reporting. State Bank's NPL ratio was previously well below the wider measure used by Fitch, which combines impaired loans and loans more than 90 days overdue. NPL ratios of other domestic systemically important banks (DSIBs) were more stable following the AQR, and those of Khan Bank (B/Stable/b) and XacBank (B/Stable/b) even declined, due to loan growth and, possibly, write-downs.

DSIBs' loss-absorption buffers - reserves and excess capital - averaged 6.8% of gross loans at end-1H18, which fell short of their average official NPL ratio of 7.4%. TDB was the only bank with loan-loss allowances that exceeded regulatory NPLs. Khan, State and Xac have full coverage if excess capital buffers are included, while Golomt is the only DSIB with an overall shortfall. This analysis excludes collateral and future earnings, which may address uncovered potential losses.

Provisioning costs are likely to ease in 2H18, and they will also benefit from a stronger operating environment. Banks could even receive a boost from recoveries on non-performing assets as the economy gains momentum. We forecast real GDP growth of 5.2% in 2018 and 6.3% in 2019.

This improvement in conditions will support earnings and reduce near-term risks. However, the pick-up has already triggered an acceleration in lending growth that will add to pressure on capitalisation and could signal a return to high risk-taking. System-wide lending growth increased to 17.8% ytd in 1H18, compared with 9.0% in the whole of 2017, and is now considerably faster than nominal GDP growth. Golomt was the fastest-growing DSIB, with lending growth of 23.3% ytd in 1H18, even though its total capital ratio was barely above the 14.0% regulatory minimum. Xac and TDB also have relatively thin buffers.

The return to strong growth could test the effectiveness of efforts to address structural weaknesses in the supervisory framework, and the authorities' willingness to prioritise financial stability. The AQR process has strengthened the role of the supervisor, and there is a focus on containing more aggressive lending toward the lower-risk consumer sector, encouraging scrutiny of borrowers' consolidated debt burdens, and deterring banks from lending in foreign currency. However, continued rapid growth of weaker banks without regulatory intervention could signal continued shortcomings in enforcement, and might encourage moral hazard.

The banking sector recapitalisation law, approved by parliament in June, could add to moral hazard risks. The law sets guidelines under which DSIBs can receive public capital injections. Regulators' application of the law has not been tested, and banks with weak capital could view potential state injections as a reason not to ease back on growth.

The second "Fitch on Mongolia Forum" was held on 30 August 2018 in Ulaanbaatar. Presentation slides are available on www.fitchratings.com or by clicking the link.

Contact:

Sabine Bauer 
Senior Director 
Financial Institutions 
+852 2263 9966
Fitch (Hong Kong) Limited
19/F Man Yee Building
68 Des Voeux Road, Central
Hong Kong

Savio Fan
Associate Director
Financial Institutions
+852 2263 9955

Dan Martin
Senior Analyst
Fitch Wire
+65 6796 7232

Media Relations: Leslie Tan, Singapore, Tel: +65 6796 7234 , Email: leslie.tan@fitchratings.com
Wai-Lun Wan, Hong Kong, Tel: +852 2263 9935 , Email: wailun.wan@fitchratings.com

The above article originally appeared as a post on the Fitch Wire credit market commentary page. The original article can be accessed atwww.fitchratings.com. All opinions expressed are those of Fitch Ratings.

...


64x64

Power plant delays fuel tensions over Rio's giant Mongolia copper mine www.reuters.com

LONDON/ULAANBAATAR (Reuters) - Nearly 10 years on from the launch of a giant copper and gold project in Mongolia, Rio Tinto is still looking to secure a domestic power source it needs for the mine under an agreement with the government.

Oyu Tolgoi, located in the South Gobi region near landlocked Mongolia’s southern border with China, is scheduled to complete a $5.3 billion underground expansion for first production by 2020, creating one of the world’s biggest copper suppliers.

The project, launched in 2009 and 34 percent-controlled by Mongolia, is set to transform the country’s tiny economy, and is also key for Rio as the biggest potential growth area for its copper business. But it has been beset by squabbles over cost overruns and claims of unpaid taxes.

Under an agreement with the government, by 2022 a domestic power source must be found for the project, currently running on power imported from China. But while Rio has invited three state-owned Chinese firms to submit bids to build a power station at a cost of up to $1.5 billion, it has yet to make a final decision on a go-ahead.

Rio also has yet to have its permits for the plant renewed by the Mongolian government, according to a government source.

“The main challenge remains the same: political instability and unpredictability,” said Otgochuluu Chuluuntseren, a former government official who also served as an Oyu Tolgoi board member.

Oyu Tolgoi has suffered repeated delays amid government wrangling, the reshuffling of officials, disputes over Mongolia’s share of the returns and opposition to foreign participation among nationalist politicians.

Complicating the power project has been the Mongolian government’s desire to kickstart the nearby Tavan Tolgoi coal project, one of the world’s biggest deposits with an estimated reserve of more than 6 billion tonnes, which lies just 150 km (93 miles) from Oyu Tolgoi.

Rio had originally planned to build its own power plant, but it suspended construction plans in 2012 after it was encouraged by the government to switch to a proposed plant at Tavan Tolgoi, where it would be an off-taker rather than investor.

However, in February this year, the government canceled a 2014 agreement setting up a framework for co-operation on a shared power plant, with Rio saying the project still lacked a credible lead investor and could not be completed on time.

DIFFICULT TIMEFRAME
Oyu Tolgoi currently pays about $100 million a year to buy electricity from China, according to an industry source with knowledge of the matter.

The project is now looking at options for a domestic power source, said Luke Colton, chief financial officer at Turquoise Hill Resources, the Rio-controlled unit that owns 66 percent of the project.

“An Oyu Tolgoi-based plant is currently the most feasible option that could deliver a domestic power source within the shortest timeframe,” Colton said in a call on second quarter earnings at the end of July.

Rio Tinto said it was working with the government and other stakeholders to progress the building of a new power station.

“Rio Tinto and its partners are committed to securing a domestic power supply within the agreed timeframe,” a spokesman said.

Some government officials have expressed impatience about the power plant delays, underscoring the political challenges facing the project.

“Oyu Tolgoi should stop playing with the Mongolian state!” Mongolia’s energy minister Davaasuren Tserenpil said on the ministry’s official Twitter account last month, in extracts from an interview to local media.

“Oyu Tolgoi got permission from the ministry in 2012 to build the power plant on its site but it has done nothing.”

Otgochuluu said transporting power from a Tavan Tolgoi plant to Oyu Tolgoi would be more efficient than transporting coal to a likely coal-fired plant at the Oyu Tolgoi mine.

Of the three contractors invited by Rio to tender for the project, Power Construction Corp of China spokesman Sun Jianli told Reuters the bid was “preliminary” and the project was still “very far away”.

The others, China Machinery Engineering Corp and Harbin Electric International, declined to comment.

If the plant is not built on time, Rio and the government would need to negotiate on alternative supply arrangements, potentially a sensitive task as discord continues to rumble around the project.

“It is a huge and prized project. Rio Tinto and the Mongolian government would do everything to avoid any major disruption to supply,” said Shairaz Ahmed, Manager of Statistical Analysis, International Copper Study Group

Reporting by Barbara Lewis and Munkhchimeg Davaasharav; additional reporting by David Stanway in SHANGHAI, Melanie Burton in MELBOURNE and Tom Daly in BEIJING; editing by Richard Pullin

...


64x64

Newspapers bring crux of social issues to light www.zgm.mn

Daily Newspapers' Association (DNA) addressed 10 core social issues, including child safety, child protection in digital environment, health, food safety, unemployment, poverty and environmental pollution, durings its second annual forum held yesterday. The forum was attended by over 200 delegates of 11 daily newspapers, noteworthy publishers and guests. Key topics were selected based on a survey conducted among all editorials of daily newspapers. “When we brought up these important social issues, several people inquired about the political party behind this forum. Were there any political party involved in 151 children who died this year? What about the people who died of cancer? We are speaking on behalf of unhealthy, hunger-driven, unemployed and half-intoxicated people today,” addressed Dolgion Erdenebaatar, the President of DNA, added, “Rather than making a fuss about these issues among journalists, we must consistently demand resolutions to these problems through our publication policies and let the policy-makers take firm actions.” According to the speakers, one out of six people in Mongolia cannot consume healthy and nutritious food. The number of people who use narcotics and psychotropic substances reached about 90,000. One third of the entire population are struck by poverty and daily spend only MNT 1350 on food.

The participants concluded that these situations have been created due to negligence to these 10 interconnected core problems. Nomintushig Baldorj, the First Deputy Editor at the Today Newspaper, stressed, “609 family and domestic violence response teams were established in cohesion with the Child Protection Act that was approved last year; however, the law is not actualizing in reality as a single social worker in Songino Khairkhan district is responsible for 3,600 people and there is no support from the budget. Therefore, it is essential to ratify a Child Protection Act that is realistic and can enable budgetary incentives to reach the target group.” Baigal Ganbold, a journalist at Zasgiin Gazriin Medee (ZGM) newspaper, highlighted that Mongolia’s economy grew by over 40 times in the last three decades and he State Budget increased by 50 times; however, unemployment and poverty did not reduce.“Although the economy grew significantly last year, the citizens are yet to benefit from it due to unstable growth. Without the right policy, the economic growth will only raise inflation, further burdening the public,” warned Ms. Baigal. The forum continued with the solution of sustainable economy, touching upon domestic industrialization. Dulamkhorloo Baatar, Chief-in-Editor at the ZGM newspaper, urged to support domestic industries at all cost and stressed, “The industrial development has an advantage of being able to prosper through policy support. Recovery of a single industry develops multiple sectors in a chain reaction. This increases workplaces and public income, which will further grow public savings and enhance loan grants of commercial banks, ultimately supporting private entities and is healthy for the state budget.”

...


64x64

Spotlight: China-Mongolia ties poised for bright future www.xinhuanet.com

ULAN BATOR, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- When leaders gathered at the Russian port city of Vladivostok for the annual Eastern Economic Forum this week, it provided a platform for regional countries, including China and Mongolia, to map out their future cooperation.

As close neighbors, China and Mongolia have long respected each other and endeavored to deepen cooperation across the board.

In a historic visit to Mongolia by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2014, the two Asian countries upgraded their ties to a "comprehensive strategic partnership." Since then, bilateral cooperation has embarked on a faster track.

As Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during his trip to Mongolia in August, China and Mongolia are friendly neighbors connected by mountains and rivers, and that strengthening the all-round cooperation and deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership are the right choices for the two.

The Chinese side reaffirmed its respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Mongolia, and expressed the readiness to help Mongolia translate its resources into development advantages, improve its self-development capabilities, achieve economic diversification and improve the Mongolian people's livelihoods in jointly building the Belt and Road.

Wang said that China-Mongolia political mutual trust has grown stronger, expressing the hope that the relationship between the two countries will develop in a rapid and healthy way.

Mongolian Prime Minister Ukhnaa Khurelsukh also spoke highly of Mongolia-China relations.

He said that the current smooth development of bilateral relations has become a role model for friendly neighbors, and the cooperation between the two countries has great potential and broad prospects.

TRADE TARGET

In recent years, China and Mongolia have witnessed remarkable achievements in economic and trade cooperation thanks to their joint efforts.

China has for years been Mongolia's largest trading partner and largest export destination. Their trade stood at 324 million dollars in 2002 and rose to 6.7 billion dollars in 2017, accounting for 63 percent of Mongolia's total trade.

According to statistics released by the Mongolian Customs General Administration in August, among the 60 countries to which Mongolia exported its goods and services in the first seven months of 2018, China was the recipient of over 86 percent of the total.

During Xi's visit to Mongolia in 2014, the two countries proposed to elevate bilateral trade volume to 10 billion U.S. dollars by 2020.

As the global economy is facing headwinds of rising protectionism and unilateralism, China and Mongolia announced in August that they are launching a joint feasibility study on a free trade agreement in order to achieve the 10-billion-dollar trade target as early as possible.

In this regard, Mongolia called for more export of animal husbandry products and mineral products to China. Wang said the Chinese side will consider the request and will continue to provide support to Mongolia in cross-border transportation and access to the sea.

REDUCING POLLUTION

China has made great contributions to the development of infrastructure in Mongolia by supporting the construction of important projects, such as a waste water processing plant in Ulan Bator, which improved the capital city's environment.

Also, a China-funded project to renovate the Mongolian capital's shantytowns has entered the initiation phase, and is expected to start construction next year.

More than 800,000 residents, over half of Ulan Bator's population, live in the shantytowns, relying on burning raw coal and other flammable materials such as plastics and old tires to stay warm and cook meals during the six-month-long winter season.

It is estimated that 80 percent of air pollution in Ulan Bator is caused by stoves in the shantytowns. So the renovation project is significant for reducing air pollution in Ulan Bator and improving the quality of life for all residents.

Moreover, bilateral cooperation in the education sector has increased in recent years. A total of 21 schools and kindergartens will be built in Mongolia with aid from China by 2020, Mongolia's Education Minister Tsedenbal Tsogzolmaa said.

TRILATERAL COOPERATION

China and Mongolia are also partnering with Russia to push forward trilateral cooperation.

Based on a proposal made by Xi in 2014, the three neighboring countries signed a development plan in June 2016 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to build an economic corridor that will boost transport links and economic cooperation among them.

At a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in June in the Chinese coastal city of Qingdao, the presidents of China, Mongolia and Russia agreed to accelerate the construction of the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor and strengthen trilateral cooperation.

The corridor, an important part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is in line with the economic interests of the three countries. It will generate new opportunities for China-Mongolia cooperation, Wang Yi said.

According to China's National Development and Reform Commission, the three countries will cooperate in seven areas in order to build the trilateral economic corridor. Under the plan, the three neighbors aim to improve transport facilities by expanding land, air and sea connections.

They agreed to expand trade along the border and widen the services trade, and eye more cooperation in education, science and technology, culture, tourism, medical care and intellectual property.

Moreover, Mongolian leaders have long expressed their wish to align Mongolia's development plans with China's development policies.

One way to align the development policies between the two countries is to dock Mongolia's Prairie Road development plan, a trans-border transportation project, with the BRI, Khurelsukh told Xinhua in an interview in April.

China and Mongolia are friendly neighbors sharing a long border, Dashdorj Bayarkhuu, a professor at the Mongolian Diplomatic Academy, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"Landlocked Mongolia can gain a lot from the Belt and Road Initiative and the trilateral economic corridor, which will bring benefits to the Mongolian economy and all Mongolian citizens," Bayarkhuu said.

...


64x64

400kW renewable energy plant to open in Nalaikh www.news.mn

The opening ceremony of an ‘Eco-friendly renewable energy park’ project was held in the Nalaikh District of Ulaanbaatar on 12 September. The project is valued at USD 4.6 million and is financed 100 percent by South Korean nonrefundable aid. The 400kW renewable energy plant is expected to open in first quarter of 2019.

The renewable energy sources of the sun and wind can provide electricity to more than 400 homes in Nalaikh District.

...


64x64

Number of South Korean visa applications increase by 130 percent www.news.mn

South Korea has eased multiple-entry visa rules for Mongolia. Mr. Gil Kang Moug, Consul General of South Korea held a press conference on Tuesday regarding the new visa rules for Mongolians. Nearly 1000 South Korean citizens have received multiple-entry visas to Mongolia whilst 37,000 Mongolians obtained South Korean multiple-entry visas.

Over 60,000 Mongolians applied for South Korean visas in 2016 and 130,000 in 2017. During the first seven months of 2018, nearly 88,000 Mongolians applied for South Korean visas; this represents an increase of 130 percent on previous years.

...


64x64

US coal exports sure victims of Hurricane Florence — WoodMac www.mining.com

As Hurricane Florence — a monster Category 2 storm — takes aim at southeastern United States, one of the country’s most important coal export hubs has halted operations due to looming damage to ships and infrastructure, analysts at Wood Mackenzie said Thursday.

The National Hurricane Centre said in an advisory note there was a danger of “life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline”, particularly in North and South Carolina – south of Virginia’s three main coal export terminals at Hampton Roads.

While Hampton Roads may avoid a direct hit, there has already been an impact at the coal ports, the Scottish research and consultancy group said in a note.

While the actual impact and damage of Florence have yet to be felt, any significant delay to metallurgical coal exports will put upward pressure on prices.
Most ships in port or queued awaiting loading have moved to deeper water. Loadings have stopped and may not resume for several days. The already high current vessel line-up, which is in the mid-teens, will likely increase by the time shipping resumes, the analysts expect.

The Hampton Roads region has a total capacity to ship 82 Mtpa via three major ports: Lamberts Point (40 Mtpa), Pier IX (22 Mtpa) and Dominion Terminal Associates (20 Mtpa). Lamberts Point is owned by the NS railway and has no ground storage area. Dominion Terminal Associates is owned jointly by Contura Energy (65%) and Arch Coal (35%). Pier IX is owned by Kinder Morgan.

According to WoodMac, any impact to Atlantic supply would be more significant for metallurgical coal than for thermal coal.

Metallurgical coal exports from April to June period from Hampton Roads averaged 2.9 Mt a month, so a week delay would mean 0.74 Mt of coal shipments stuck at port.

Thermal coal exports averaged 0.6 Mt per month for the same period, or 0.15 Mt per week. “With vessel queues averaging in the mid-teens recently and rail service struggling to keep up with deliveries, it is questionable that the ports would be able to quickly make up any loss,” the analysts said.

The projected inland track into the Southern Appalachians may also hit metallurgical coal production in Alabama.
They noted that the projected inland track into the Southern Appalachians could also interfere with metallurgical coal production in Alabama.

“Should the storm make landfall closer to the main ports, major delays in coal loadings would be expected due to power outages and regional flooding,” they warned.

While the actual impact and damage of Florence have yet to be felt, any significant delay to metallurgical coal exports will put upward pressure on price in a market that is already supported with very high prices, the experts said.

Flooding could also affect regional power plants, as it happened in 2016, when Hurricane Matthew flooded cooling ponds at Duke Energy's Lee coal plant.

Another concern is the fate of unlined coal ash pits in the Carolinas and Virginia. Duke and Dominion Energy still have several unlined coal ash facilities along the coast and inland that leave communities vulnerable to potential flooding or leaks from the sites.

...


64x64

Amazon chief Jeff Bezos gives $2bn to help the homeless www.bbc.com

Amazon chief Jeff Bezos is putting $2bn (£1.5bn) into a charitable fund he has established to help the homeless and set up a new network of schools.

The world's richest man announced the move in a tweet, saying the charity would be called the Day One Fund.

Mr Bezos - reportedly worth more than $164bn - has faced criticism for not doing more philanthropic work.

And US Senator Bernie Sanders has criticised working conditions in Amazon warehouses.

Mr Bezos asked on Twitter last year for suggestions on how he might use his personal fortune, which this year has soared due to Amazon's surging share price and US tax cuts.

He said on Thursday that the "Bezos Day One Fund" will contribute to "existing nonprofits that help homeless families" and also fund "a network of new, nonprofit, tier-one preschools in low-income communities".

The fund will be split between Day 1 Families Fund and Day 1 Academies Fund.

"The Day 1 Families Fund will issue annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families," Mr Bezos said in a tweet.

The Day 1 Academies Fund will launch and operate a network of high-quality, full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired pre-schools in low-income and underserved communities, he said. "We will build an organization to directly operate these schools," he added.

Earlier this month Amazon, which Mr Bezos founded in 1994, became only the second stock market company to be valued at $1tn. Apple reached that milestone a few weeks earlier.

Despite the huge amount of money being given, it is far less than the philanthropy of other billionaires such as Microsoft's Bill Gates, who has donated tens of billions to his foundation, and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, who has pledged to donate 99% of his shares in the social media giant to an organization focused on public good.

The $2bn also falls short of the "giving pledge" initiative launched by Mr Gates and billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who have encouraged wealthy individuals to pledge half their fortunes for philanthropy.

Mr Bezos, who operates the Blue Origin space rocket project and who owns the Washington Post newspaper, has given donations to a scheme to help the children of immigrants, cancer research, and Princeton University.

...