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More than 20 mining deposits were put into operation, 800 jobs were created and MNT 20 billion was invested in Mongolian mining sector in 2016, the Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry reports.
According to the state budget performance in 2016, 19 tons of gold, 33 million tons of coal, 7.5 million tons of iron ore, 1.1 million tons of oil and 200 thousand tons of fluorite are expected to be exported.
The Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry added that 1.4 million tons of copper concentrate, 4700 tons of molybdenum concentrate and 100 thousand tons of zinc concentrate will be produced and exported.
Ultimately, mining sector accounts for 85 percent of Mongolian exports, 63 percent of industrial products, 18 percent of GDP and one-fourth of national revenue.
Construction of The New Ulaanbaatar International Airport (NUBIA) is currently underway in Khushig Valley, Tuv Aimag, a location 52 km south of the capital city. Starting from the first working day of new year 2017, January 2, a 57-member State Commission launched its inspection at the airport to complete the Mongolian Government’s acceptance of the construction works.
On December 21-28, technical inspection of the project was conducted by a designated technical committee of 104 personnel. As a result of the technical inspection, some 23 objects and facilities constructed by Japanese side were handed over to the Mongolian side.
In correspondence to the completion of the technical inspection, the State Commission led by B.Tsogtgerel, Deputy Minister of Road and Transport Development thus begins their work. On January 2, the Commission held a meeting to introduce the outcome of the technical inspection, discuss the current progress of the project and seek solutions to existing problems and obstacles.
The State Commission is to function until January 11, finalize their concluding report and introduce it to the Cabinet. “When the Commission issues its concluding report, the Civil Aviation Authority of Mongolia will begin their flight tests and other tasks of the Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer process”, said Kimihiro Maeta, the Japanese Consultants Project Manager.
Started in June 2013, the nearly complete construction progress of Mongolia’s new international airport is expected to wrap up this month.
Wall Street remains bullish about China's internet giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd amid a spate of stock selling by its principal stakeholders in the past six months.
Among the latest moves was the share sale plan adopted by Joe Tsai, which allows the firm's executive vice-chairman to sell up to 6.5 million shares of the company's stock through October.
The shares represent approximately 8 percent of Tsai's holdings, the company said in a filing to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission last month.
Tsai's affiliated entities, including the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation, Parufam Ltd and MFG II Ltd, have adopted the prearranged sale plan in accordance with Rule 10b5-1 of the SEC Act of 1934, the statement said.
Based on Alibaba's annual report in March, Tsai holds a 3.2 percent stake in the company.
Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma unlocked 5 percent of shares under his beneficiary ownership through a similar plan in September, allowing for the sale of up to 9.9 million shares over a 12-month period commencing in September 2016.
These plans have been put in place to meet philanthropic commitments and for ordinary wealth planning purposes, the company told China Daily on Monday.
In 2014, the duo established a charitable trust that is designed to be funded by share options they own, representing around 2 percent of the shares in the company, Alibaba said.
"Rule 10b5-1 allows major holders to sell a predetermined number of shares at a predetermined time, as long as the sale isn't set to bring about major effects to the company. Many corporate executives use such plan to avoid accusations of insider trading," said Ling Xiao, partner of Hui Ye Law Firm specializing in overseas investment and financing.
The e-commerce giant's largest shareholder Softbank Group Corp said it would sell $7.9 billion of its shares in June, marking the first such sale since the Japanese company began investing in Alibaba in 2000. Its holding in Alibaba were reduced to around 28 percent, from 32.4 percent as of June 2016.
But a potential snowball effect shorting Alibaba is unlikely to occur. In November, rating agency Fitch Ratings Inc affirmed Alibaba at A+ with a stable outlook, and Morgan Stanley gave a "Buy" rating last month and a $130 price target, more than 40 percent up from its current price.
"We believe that Alibaba is in the early stages of unlocking the value from what we view as its most valuable asset－a rich database that continues to accumulate from its well-controlled and extensive closed-loop ecosystem, through advances in data technology," Morgan Stanley's Grace Chen and her team said in a report in December.
Selloffs don't necessarily reflect a shift in confidence among major investors, according to an analyst tracking Alibaba stocks at an investment bank who wished to remain anonymous. The institution also maintains a buy rating and had raised its target price to more than $130.
"In the case of Softbank Group Corp, the selloff is targeted at trimming debts and saving up to acquire the semiconductor and software design company ARM Holdings Plc," said the analyst....
The economic outlook for this year looks similar to 2016 - uneven and unspectacular, according to economists worldwide polled by Reuters in December. The result is despite investor optimism about a breakout for the world economy.
Many of the experts said the global trade slowdown, seen during the slight recovery from the financial crisis that started nearly a decade ago, could worsen.
Emerging economies are expected to remain vulnerable. Much of Asia will grow below potential, putting the latest global growth forecast for 2017 at 3.2 percent. The projection is less optimistic than for the previous year.
Economists called accelerating inflation and a soaring US dollar among the risks to the economic balance.
Dollar strength, weakening other currencies, will influence how emerging markets manage relatively higher inflation, as well as falling business confidence, they said.
As for the developed world, productivity gains have been lacking for a long time. Policymakers will continue uncovering the reasons and ways to remedy the problem.
Improving output per worker will be crucial for the prosperity of the US economy.
"Mr. Trump and his team have promised growth of 3.5 to 4 percent or more, which we see as 'magical thinking' unless accompanied by accelerated productivity growth," said Michael Carey, US economist at CA-CIB.
According to the poll, the recent acceleration in eurozone growth is a bright spot as the European Central Bank continues buying tens of billions of euro worth of bonds each month. That keeps the euro under pressure and makes exports relatively cheaper, experts said.
They, however, see the elections in Germany, France, and the Netherlands as a potential threat which could further challenge the EU’s status quo. That might add to the economic effects from the expected UK exit from the European Union.
The potency of global monetary policy is seen fading due to central banks’ tightening campaigns.
Switzerland’s enviable reputation as a tax haven is becoming a thing of the past. The alpine nation has begun collecting data on Swiss bank accounts held by citizens of some 104 countries, and will begin sharing it with select countries from 2018.
The shift in policy comes after the ratification of the ‘Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters,’ which came into force on January 1.
The Convention has been touted as “the most comprehensive multilateral instrument available for all forms of tax co-operation to tackle tax evasion and avoidance, a top priority for all countries.”
From now on, countries with which Switzerland has signed agreements no longer need to request information on their citizens’ Swiss bank accounts. Financial data will be handed over automatically once a year. The data is confidential and cannot be made public, according to swissinfo.ch.
Previously, Switzerland provided banking information only if it had been requested by a country with which Bern had signed a deal to prevent double taxation. Even then, cooperation was not 100 percent guaranteed, since the requesting country had to provide hard evidence that the suspected persons had evaded taxes, according to the Swiss news outlet.
European countries will be the first to benefit from the Convention.
Developing countries like India, Argentina, and South Africa will have to wait until 2018.
Poor countries will not be able to take part in the process simply because they lack the ability to collect and share information on the financial assets of Swiss citizens living in their countries and are unable to guarantee that the information provided by Switzerland will only be used for tax purposes and remain confidential, swissinfo.ch reports.
Switzerland ratified the Convention in September.
Angel Gurria, the secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said that the ratification marked the latest milestone in Switzerland’s “significant efforts to implement the international standards on tax transparency” in recent years.
Copper, until recently one of the worst performing commodities of the past two years, experienced a sudden spike at the end of 2016, posing several questions as to the direction of the market as we move into 2017.
The rally, which began on the heels of Donald Trump winning in the US presidential election, has been partly based on speculation regarding the impact of the President-elect’s $500 billion infrastructure plans on demand for the metal.
It has also been fuelled by a pick-up in Chinese imports, responsible for almost 50% of global copper demand, which is seen a good omen for the industry’s health.
Even Goldman Sachs — usually the most pessimistic when it comes to forecasting what’s in stake for copper in the short term — has changed its tone to a more positive one.
The investment bank now believes that increased demand from China will leave the market tighter than previously expected, which will support a more "bullish" environment for the metal at least to mid-2017.
"Although it is tempting to blame this on speculative positioning, the materially stronger fundamental developments that contributed to this surge in speculative interest are likely to underpin a more bullish environment for copper," Goldman analysts wrote in early December.
Increased demand from China will leave the market tighter than previously expected, which supports a more "bullish" environment for copper at least to mid-2017.
They predict prices to hit $6,200 a tonne over the next six months and has lifted its 3, 6 and 12-month forecasts to $5,800, $6,200 and $5,600 a tonne, respectively from $5,000, $4,800 and $4,800.
Molly Shutt, commodities analyst at BMI Research, is also positive on the outlook for copper. She expects the global market to shift into a slight deficit by 2019, a bit sooner than previously anticipated, as steady demand growth is expected to outpace decelerating production growth.
BMI attributes the slowing supply growth outlook primarily to production cuts in China, the world’s top consumer, and declining ore grades in Chile, the world’s largest producer of the red metal.
Shutt says the sharp spike following the surprise election of Donald Trump as US President reflects unfounded expectations for his infrastructure spending plan, as well as rampant speculative trading in China.
Even under a best-case scenario for Trump’s infrastructure plan, BMI analysts emphasize that the strongest US metal demand growth outlook would have a minimal impact on the global metal market balance.
She lists several reasons for that, including the small size of the US market (according to ICSG data, the US has accounted for only 7.7% of global copper demand this year), a positive impact on the global market diluted by an 'America First' metals procurement policy and increased output triggered by higher copper prices.
“As such, we expect prices to shed some of the gains acquired since the beginning of November (already, they have been testing support and look ready to break lower) and return to a more gradual incline,” she says.
As a result, BMI has revised up its 2017 expected price to $5,150 a tonne from $4,900 a tonne, thanks to strong Chinese demand growth that will tighten the market faster than previously expected.
Copper to be best performing commodity of 2017 — analystsLooking beyond copper, most analysts are positive towards commodity prices over a 12-month horizon and expect almost all to average higher year-on-year.
Andrew Cole, the Metal Bulletin Research’s principal base metals analyst and editor of the Base Metals Forecaster, said earlier this month it was evident that investors were coming back to commodities:
“Copper itself looks like it could be one of the top performers. It was undervalued for much of 2016, weighed down by perceptions of a weak China and rising supply,” he says. “Since both of those views have swung around completely, there may still be some catching up to do in terms of investors who had been underweight copper moving to reposition to a more bullish stance, by increasing allocations and building long positions.”
BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP), the world’s No.1 miner, and Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), the largest heavy equipment maker, has bet on a copper recovery for months.
BHP, already the world's second-biggest listed copper miner, wants to increase its exposure to the red metal.
BHP, already the world's second-biggest listed copper miner, hiked its annual exploration spending by 29% this year, allocating nearly all its $900 million budget to finding new copper and oil deposits. The firm, who wants copper to be one of the pillars of its future growth, is already looking for more of the red metal in Chile, Peru, the US, Canada and South Australia, as well as eyeing new partnerships to boost its growth pipeline.
In the short term, however, BHP is not that optimistic. "A deficit is expected to emerge as grade declines, a rise in costs and a scarcity of high-quality future development opportunities are likely to constrain the industry’s ability to cheaply meet this demand growth," it said in its annual report.
Caterpillar, the world's No.1 heavy machinery maker, recently said it believed iron ore and copper miners would be leading the way in terms of an increase in equipment demand in the next three to five years. Currently CAT makes the most sales to the coal, copper and iron ore sectors, in that order.
Rio Tinto (LON, ASX:RIO), another heavyweight in the industry, said in early December that it expected the copper market to go into deficit by 2020, just when the extension of its Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia comes on stream.
Arnaud Soirat, chief executive of Rio's copper and diamonds division, told Reuters that while the iron ore market is expected to stay in oversupply for the foreseeable future, the copper sector faces declining supplies and the prospect of increased demand, driven by infrastructure, electric vehicles and other renewable technologies....
Russia set a record for annual oil extraction in 2016 amid some of the lowest oil prices in recent history.
In 2016, Russia extracted 527,499 million tons of oil and gas condensate, a 2.5 percent increase from 2015. The figure represents a previously unseen high, according to data from Russia’s Fuel and Energy Complex.
Natural gas extraction also grew to 640 billion cubic meters, a 0.7 percent increase from 2015.
However, according to the Fuel and Energy Complex, the record may not be the result of a true increase in production: The year 2016 was a day longer than 2015.
Since mid-2014, crude oil prices have fallen sharply, causing serious budget deficits and an economic recession in Russia. During the second half of 2016, oil prices largely hovered between $45 and $50 per barrel.
Russia’s 2017 budget is predicated upon oil prices of $40 a barrel. The Russian government expects a deficit of 2.75 trillion rubles ($44.9 billion) this year, according to projections made in October.
The International Energy Agency predicts that Russia will produce up to 11.37 barrels of oil a day in 2017.
In November 2016, the OPEC countries agreed to decrease oil production by 1.2 million barrels a day to 32.5 million tons. In December, non-OPEC countries, including Russia, agreed to decrease production by 600 thousand barrels a day. Russian production cuts would account for 300 thousand barrels.
The cuts are set to begin this month. However, experts have doubted that the agreement will bolster the price of crude in the long run.
Digital currency bitcoin kicked off the new year by jumping above $1,000 for the first time in three years late on Sunday, having outperformed all central-bank-issued currencies with a 125 percent climb in 2016.
Bitcoin - a web-based "cryptocurrency" that has no central authority, relying instead on thousands of computers across the world that validate transactions and add new bitcoins to the system - jumped 2.5 percent to $1,022 on the Europe-based Bitstamp exchange, its highest since December 2013.
(Reporting by Jemima Kelly; Editing by Louise Ireland)
Minimum monthly wage has been set to 240,000 MNT from 192,000 MNT starting Jan 1st, 2017.
As a result of persistent demand by the Confederation of Mongolian Trade Union, minimum monthly wage has increased by 25 percent.
In this regard, amount of civil fines and penalties in Mongolia have increased by 25 percent.
According to the law of Mongolia, fines and penalties are based on the minimum monthly wage.
For instance, penalty for driving vehicle with an expired inspection sticker may result in fines between 120,000 MNT, equal 50 percent of the minimum monthly wage.
The president of the European commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, spent years in his previous role as Luxembourg’s prime minister secretly blocking EU efforts to tackle tax avoidance by multinational corporations, leaked documents reveal.
Years’ worth of confidential German diplomatic cables provide a candid account of Luxembourg’s obstructive manoeuvres inside one of Brussels’ most secretive committees.
The code of conduct group on business taxation was set up almost 19 years ago to prevent member states from being played off against one another by increasingly powerful multinational businesses, eager to shift profits across borders and avoid tax.
Little has been known until now about the workings of the committee, which has been meeting since 1998, after member states agreed a code of conduct on tax policies and pledged not to engage in “harmful competition” with one another.
However, the leaked cables reveal how a small handful of countries have used their seats on the committee to frustrate concerted EU action and protect their own tax regimes.
Efforts by a majority of member states to curb aggressive tax planning and to rein in predatory tax policies were regularly delayed, diluted or derailed by the actions of a few of the EU’s smallest members, frequently led by Luxembourg.
The leaked papers, shared with the Guardian and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists by the German radio group NDR, are highly embarrassing for Juncker, who served as Luxembourg’s prime minister from 1995 until the end of 2013. During that period he also acted as finance and treasury minister, taking a close interest in tax policy.
Despite having a population of just 560,000, Luxembourg was able to resist widely supported EU tax reforms, its dissenting voice often backed only by that of the Netherlands.
Among proposals popular in the code of conduct committee but opposed by Luxembourg were:
• Plans for tax authorities in each member state to subject their dealings with multinational businesses to peer review.
• An investigation into cross-border tax avoidance strategies, known as “hybrid mismatches”, often used by multinationals to conjure up artificial tax savings.
• Improved information sharing between member states on tax deals granted to multinationals in private.
A spokesperson for Luxembourg’s finance ministry refused to comment on the positions previous governments had taken in private EU discussions. “We have no knowledge of the communications you claim to have, and whether they are genuine, and therefore cannot comment on them,” he said.
The spokesperson added: “In recent years Luxembourg has been at the forefront of the global trend towards greater transparency in tax matters and the fight against harmful tax competition.”
The Guardian spoke to another former member of the code of conduct committee, who did not want to be named but corroborated claims in the leaked cables that Luxembourg was regularly among those looking to frustrate EU efforts to tackle tax avoidance.
The source said the committee was no longer fit for purpose. They said it was unable to achieve much because it was governed by unanimity. “Each country is ready to block any agreement. Moreover, each country stands ready to bargain its position on tax against any other topic at stake in the EU,” they said.
Some tax experts contacted by the Guardian confirmed that Luxembourg had begun to move away from certain aggressive tax policies under the current prime minister, Xavier Bettel.
However, the leaked cables suggest the country has remained resistant to other changes. In 2016 it fiercely opposed efforts supported by many countries to strengthen and expand the code of conduct committee’s work.
Luxembourg particularly objected to a relaxation of the committee’s own rules on decision making, insisting there was no need to abandon the unanimity requirement.
France, Germany and Sweden argued unsuccessfully that removing unanimity had become essential to the committee’s effectiveness.
Luxembourg also opposed plans to identify member states that were standing in the way of reforms more clearly. One leaked cable noted: “It has become abundantly clear once again that a majority [of members states] are not interested in real reform. In particular, Luxembourg representatives said they would fundamentally object to any proposal to publish arguments made by Luxembourg in the committee.”
A later cable read: “It is impressive to see how some member states present themselves outwardly as proponents of [international tax reforms] and at the same time to watch how they actually behave in EU discussions, protected by confidentiality.”
The Guardian contacted Juncker’s office for comment. A spokesperson said it was not for the European commission to respond to questions about negotiating positions Luxembourg had taken, or about the country’s past tax policies.
Jean-Claude Juncker’s record as Luxembourg’s prime minister has cast an enduring shadow over his presidency of the European commission.
On paper, his marathon 18-year stint at the helm of the EU’s second smallest member state might be hailed a triumph. He recast the fading steel-based economy into a booming hub for international business, and when he departed in 2013 Luxembourg had been transformed into one of the richest countries in the world per capita.
Hundreds of the multinational corporations rushed to channel international profits through subsidiaries in the country, among them McDonald’s, Fiat, Amazon, Shire Pharmaceuticals and Skype.
The secret to this success was exposed in 2014 when the Luxleaks scandal revealed the terms hidden within hundreds of private deals, known as “tax rulings”, that Luxembourg had handed out to multinational businesses behind closed doors.
The rulings effectively rubber-stamped complex tax structures that global corporations used to access ultra-low tax rates, often less than 1%, for profits shifted to Luxembourg.
Juncker conceded the scandal had damaged his reputation. While not illegal, he admitted Luxembourg’s tax system was also “not always in line with fiscal fairness” and may have breached “ethical and moral standards”.
Since then, Juncker has made a point of supporting the EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, as she pursues high-profile investigations into specific tax rulings, including deals Luxembourg granted separately to McDonald’s and Amazon.
The investigations are examining whether the deals were so generous that they amounted to illegal state aid from Juncker’s Luxembourg.
Juncker has also campaigned hard for greater tax cooperation among member states in the battle against international businesses that avoid tax. The latest leaked cables, however, raise further questions about whether he is the right person to champion such reforms....