1 MONGOLIA-CHINA AGREE TO COLLABORATE IN INCREASING MEAT EXPORT WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2018/09/21      2 U.S. AND MONGOLIA SEEK TO STRENGTHEN ECONOMIC RELATIONSHIP WWW.STRTRADE.COM PUBLISHED:2018/09/21      3 MONGOLIA, U.S. LEADERS DISCUSS BILATERAL TIES WWW.XINHUANET.COM PUBLISHED:2018/09/21      4 BELT AND ROAD SIGNIFICANT TO MONGOLIA, PEOPLE AROUND WORLD -- ACADEMIC WWW.ENG.YIDAIYILU.GOV.CN PUBLISHED:2018/09/21      5 PETRO MATAD UPDATES MONGOLIA EXPLORATION WWW.OGJ.COM PUBLISHED:2018/09/21      6 RIO TINTO’S EXIT FROM COAL PAYS OFF, TO RETURN $3.2B FROM SALES PROCEEDS TO SHAREHOLDERS WWW.MINING.COM PUBLISHED:2018/09/21      7 OPENING CEREMONY OF SAINSHAND SALKHIN PARK HELD WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2018/09/21      8 ALIBABA’S MA SAYS TRUMP’S TRADE WAR ‘DESTROYED’ HIS PROMISE TO CREATE JOBS FOR 1MN AMERICANS WWW.RT.COM  PUBLISHED:2018/09/21      9 LEGAL DISPUTE OVER EMC OWNERSHIP COMES TO AN END WWW.ZGM.MN PUBLISHED:2018/09/20      10 ERDENES TAVAN TOLGOI REVENUE SURGES DUE TO HIGHER COAL PRICES WWW.NEWS.MN PUBLISHED:2018/09/20      НУРАХ ДӨХСӨН БАЙРУУДЫГ ШИНЭЧЛЭХ КОМПАНИ ОЛДОХГҮЙ БАЙНА WWW.ZGM.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/09/21     МОНГОЛ УЛС ВАШИНГТОН, ПЁНЬЯНЫ ХЭЛЭЛЦЭЭРТ ЗУУЧЛАХАД БЭЛЭН ГЭДГЭЭ ЗАРЛАЛАА WWW.EAGLE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/09/21     УЛСЫН ХЭМЖЭЭНД 85.3 МЯНГАН ТОНН ТӨМС ХУРААН АВААД БАЙНА WWW.MONTSAME.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/09/21     ЗГ: БУЦАЛТГҮЙ ТУСЛАМЖИЙГ УСНЫ НӨӨЦИЙГ САЙЖРУУЛАХ, ХЭРЭГЛЭСЭН УСЫГ БУЦААН АШИГЛАХАД ЗАРЦУУЛНА WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/09/21     ҮСХ: УЛААНБААТАРТ АЖИЛЛАГЧДЫН САРЫН ДУНДАЖ ЦАЛИН УЛСЫН ДУНДЖААС 121.7 МЯНГАН ТӨГРӨГӨӨР ИХ БАЙНА WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/09/21     МОНГОЛ УЛСЫН ИХ ХУРАЛ, ЕВРОПЫН ПАРЛАМЕНТ ХООРОНДЫН XII УУЛЗАЛТААР ХАМТАРСАН МЭДЭГДЭЛ ГАРГАЛАА WWW.DNN.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/09/21     ТӨРИЙН АЛБАНЫ УДИРДАХ АЖИЛТНЫ УЛСЫН ЗӨВЛӨГӨӨН БОЛЖ БАЙНА WWW.UNUUDUR.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/09/21     2019 ОНЫГ МОНГОЛ, АМЕРИКИЙН ЗАЛУУЧУУДЫН ЖИЛ БОЛГОНО WWW.EAGLE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/09/21     УУРХАЙЧДЫН АЖЛЫН БАЙР НЭМЭГДЭЖ, ЦАЛИН ӨСЧ БАЙНА WWW.GOGO.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/09/20     “ЭРДЭНЭТ”-ИЙН 49 ХУВИЙН ӨМЧЛӨЛ ТОЙРСОН ХУУЛЬ ЗҮЙН МАРГААН ЭЦЭС БОЛЛОО WWW.ZGM.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/09/20    

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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Blackstone readies new Asia real estate fund of at least $5 billion: sources www.reuters.com

Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) is readying a new Asia-focused real estate fund that aims to raise a record $5 billion or more, betting on strong returns from property investments in the region, people familiar with the plans told Reuters.

The world's biggest alternative asset manager will likely launch the fund in the next 12-16 months, the people said. It has invested more than 70 percent of the $5.08 billion it raised in its first Asia-focused property fund, a threshold when buyout firms typically start considering and preparing for follow-up capital raising.

New York-based Blackstone intends to boost investments in assets such as warehouses and shopping malls in China, India, Southeast Asia and Australia, one of the people said.

Global investors have shown robust appetite for shopping malls, warehouses and other property assets in Asia as they have sought the relative safety and stable returns of real estate, buoyed by growing urbanization and rising incomes in its two most populous countries of China and India.

Underscoring this trend, 22 Asia-focused property funds raised a total of $10.6 billion in 2016, data provider Preqin said. There's already $33 billion of unused capital, or dry powder, in such Asia-focused real estate funds, it said.

Blackstone declined to comment on plans for a new Asia-focused real estate fund.

But when commenting on the fundraising outlook for 2017 in the company's third quarter earnings conference call, Blackstone's Chief Financial Officer Michael Chae said there were "significant" fundraises coming up next year, including a possible new Asia fund.

The people declined to be named because details of the new Asia fund aren't yet public.

Blackstone's first Asia-focused property fund, the $5.08 billion Blackstone Real Estate Partners (BREP) Asia that closed in 2014, is the biggest such fund to focus wholly on Asia, Preqin data shows. The new fund could exceed the first one in size.

The first Blackstone fund invested in Japanese residential real estate, office space in Australia and Chinese shopping malls, posting an internal rate of return of 17 percent through September 2016, according to Blackstone's most recent earnings report.

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In China, the company has a joint venture with developer China Vanke Co Ltd (2202.HK) for logistics investments. Blackstone sold $1.9 billion of commercial property to Vanke last year.

Blackstone is also one of the largest owners of office space in India. Embassy Office Park REIT, which Blackstone co-owns with local developer Embassy Group, is awaiting approval from authorities to launch the country's first ever real estate investment trust (REIT), which Thomson Reuters publication IFR reported could raise $500 million-$1 billion in a 2017 initial public offering.

(Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee and Elzio Barreto; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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Amazon and Google fight crucial battle over voice recognition www.theguardian.com

 
Amazon and Google always thrive in the fourth quarter as people get out their wallets for Christmas. Both companies – or in Google’s case, its parent group, Alphabet – are therefore expected to announce booming revenues in their fourth-quarter results over the next fortnight, with Alphabet going first on Thursday and Amazon the following week. But analysts are already looking beyond the simple question of how many cardboard boxes Amazon filled and how many searches Google answered. They’re wondering which company will win the battle to control your home.
 
That battle is being fought by two carafe-sized cylinders from the respective companies. One is Amazon’s Echo, with its voice-operated “personal assistant”, Alexa; the other is Google Home, which responds to the phrase “OK Google”. Both are internet-connected, home-based devices which can be command to do things: give the weather forecast; play music; read out news headlines; update shopping lists; and control “smart” devices in the home such as light bulbs or power points. In theory, if a device can be linked to it, the Echo can control or monitor it, and keep you informed. And simply by saying “Alexa, add sugar to the shopping list”, users can keep up to date on house supplies and even purchase them directly.
 
Amazon is in the lead, having launched the Echo in November 2014, two years before Google Home came out. Though Amazon has not – and does not – release sales figures for any individual item, investment bank Morgan Stanley estimates that 11m Echos had been sold by the end of November 2016; other estimates suggest a further 7m have been sold since. About 700,000 were estimated to have been sold in the UK and Germany, the only countries outside the US where it is available.
 
The Morgan Stanley estimate would put an Echo in more than 8% of US households. This is a significant figure, especially compared with the best estimates for Google Home, which put its sales at less than a million since its launch in October 2016.
 
Why should Google care about Amazon? Because voice is seen as the next big field for computer interaction, and the home is a far better environment for voice detection than the great outdoors. Research company Gartner reckons that by 2018, 30% of all interactions with devices will be voice-based, because people can speak up to four times faster than they can type, and the technology behind voice interaction is improving all the time.
 
The risk to Google is that at the moment, almost everyone starting a general search at home begins at Google’s home page on a PC or phone. That leads to a results page topped by text adverts – which help generate about 90% of Google’s revenue, and probably more of its profits. But if people begin searching or ordering goods via an Echo, bypassing Google, that ad revenue will fall.
 
And Google has cause to be uncomfortable. The shift from desktop to mobile saw the average number of searches per person fall as people moved to dedicated apps; Google responded by adding more ads to both desktop and search pages, juicing revenues. A shift that cut out the desktop in favour of voice-oriented search, or no search at all, would imperil its lucrative revenue stream.
 
Amazon is copying one feature of Google’s success in smartphones: it is offering methods to connect and control smart devices via the Echo for free, rather as Google’s Android software was offered as a free platform for smartphones. There are signs it is paying off: Wynn hotels in Las Vegas announced in December that it would be adding Echos to all 5,000 rooms, for functions such as playing music and controlling curtains and blinds. That gained some notice, as much as anything because the life cycle of such hotels implies they will be there for a decade or so.
 
Similarly, at January’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), also in Las Vegas, commentators were struck by how many devices incorporated Alexa. And Amazon is even stealing into Google’s territory: some phones sold in the US from China’s Huawei, which uses Android, will incorporate Alexa rather than Google’s Assistant programme.
 
Google’s natural reaction is to have its own voice-driven home system, in Home. But that poses a difficulty, illustrated by the problems it claims to solve. At the device’s launch, one presenter from the company explained how it could speak the answer to questions such as “how do you get wine stains out of a rug?” Most people would pose that question on a PC or mobile, and the results page would offer a series of paid-for ads. On Home, you just get the answer – without ads.
 
What analysts wonder is: how can Home bridge that revenue gap? So far, Google hasn’t explained. Even if it can fend off the Echo, it may not be able to defend its core business.
 
By contrast, the Echo’s benefit to Amazon is much clearer: it can make online shopping (at Amazon) a breeze, play music from Amazon’s paid-for subscription service, and generally act as a passive block on your using rival shopping sites – rather as Google cemented its dominance by being the default search engine on multiple browsers in the mid-2000s.
 
Richard Windsor of Edison Investment Research suggests that time is running out for Google: “It has to act quickly, as Amazon is on the brink of becoming the industry standard for controlling smart home devices.
 
“At CES, everyone was integrating with Echo, with Google Home and Apple HomeKit barely present.”
 
Indeed, where are Apple and Microsoft, which also have their own voice-driven assistants in the form of Siri and Cortana? Although both can be used in the home – Siri on the iPhone or iPad, and to play content on the Apple TV set-top box, and Cortana on the Xbox games console – neither seems to be intent on the “home assistant” market.
 
Phil Schiller, Apple’s vice-president of marketing, seemed to suggest recently that Apple wouldn’t follow Amazon and Google into offering a voice-only device: “Having my iPhone with me as the thing I speak to is better than something stuck in my kitchen or on a wall somewhere.” He also emphasised the importance of a visual display: “We still like to take pictures and we need to look at them, and a disembodied voice is not going to show me what the picture is.”
 
Even so, there are persistent rumours that Apple has prototyped an Echo-like device in secret but is undecided on whether to release it. The company hasn’t commented. It could be ready to unveil something – or may never do so. Microsoft, meanwhile, is in more homes than the Echo via the Xbox, but isn’t trying to make itself a listening device linked to a shop.
 
So, will we all be burbling away to thin air in a few years, asking how long our commute will take while our smartphones sit unused in the kitchen? Perhaps – though Ken Sena, a senior analyst at investment bank Evercore ISI, suggests that home-based voice assistants will never be used as widely as smartphones. According to Sena, they are not such a must-have.
 
Yet, they were a hot Christmas present – and voice interaction is still in its early days, perhaps comparable to the smartphone market in 2005, when BlackBerry, Palm and Microsoft dominated. Or, it could be like the smartphone market now, effectively dominated by Google and Apple. But which?
 
Alexa, can you see into the future?
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Theresa May’s industrial plan signals shift to more state intervention www.theguardian.com

 
Theresa May will signal an era of greater state intervention in the economy as she launches her industrial strategy with a promise of “sector deals”, a new system of technical education and better infrastructure.
 
The prime minister will publish the strategy at a cabinet meeting in the north-west of England, setting out five sectors that could receive special government support: life sciences, low-carbon-emission vehicles, industrial digitalisation, creative industries and nuclear.
 
She will say the government would be prepared to deregulate, help with trade deals or create new institutions to boost skills or research if any sector can show this would address specific problems.
 
The deals will only be available to sectors that organise themselves and make the case for government action, with May citing the automotive and aerospace industries as sectors that have successfully used this model.
 
Helping specific industries may be easier once Britain has left the EU because it might no longer be bound by state aid rules that restrict ways that governments of member states can support companies. The new industrial strategy is also a marked change from the approach of the previous Conservative-led coalition, which took a more laissez-faire approach to the economy.
 
“The modern industrial strategy … will be underpinned by a new approach to government, not just stepping back but stepping up to a new, active role that backs business and ensures more people in all corners of the country share in the benefits of its success,” May said.
 
On top of the sector deals, an “industrial strategy challenge fund” will help distribute millions of pounds in funding for research and development in areas such as smart energy, robotics and artificial intelligence, and 5G mobile network technology.
 
Another focus of the plan will be on technical education aimed at the half of school-leavers who do not go to university. It will suggest maintenance loans for those wishing to pursue technical education, institutes of technology built in every region and 15 core technical “routes” for students that train them in the skills most needed by employers in their regions
 
The plan will reveal 10 pillars to guide the industrial strategy, including investing in science, developing skills, upgrading infrastructure and making sure growth is shared across the whole country.
 
Carolyn Fairbairn, the director general of the Confederation of British Industry business group, said the industrial strategy was a landmark opportunity. “It must help fix the country’s productivity problems and remove the regional inequalities that have dogged our country for generations, having a positive impact on living standards, wages and the future opportunities of many people,” she said.
 
Others were more critical, with the University and College Union (UCU), which represents more than 110,000 higher education staff, saying it was little more than a “relaunched skills strategy”.
 
Sally Hunt, the UCU general secretary, said: “This is a drop in the ocean that will do nothing to solve the funding crisis in further education, which has seen 1m adult places lost since 2010. If government wants to support technical education, it should invest in our further education colleges, which desperately need thousands more teachers, rather than another set of gimmicks.”
 
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation charity said it should help young people in the longer term but the plan did little for the low-paid who were currently in insecure jobs.
 
“Improving maths and technical education for young people will certainly benefit the economy in the future. But this is a policy for the long term,” said Ashwin Kumar, its chief economist. “Millions of people already in the workforce are struggling with low pay and insecure work … The government’s industrial strategy will only make a real difference to our productivity gap, and to people at risk of being left behind, if it goes beyond manufacturing and high-skilled roles.
 
“It needs to help the millions of people who work in low-paid sectors, live in low-skilled areas and work in low-productivity firms. Action to close the productivity gap and support people who lack basic literacy, numeracy and digital skills would help to achieve this.”
 
May will also announce a £556m boost for the so-called northern powerhouse. Among the projects to benefit are the Goole intermodal terminal to place the town’s existing rail, sea, motorway and waterway links in one site and a £10m life sciences innovation fund for Manchester and Cheshire firms. Blackpool will get a new conference centre and hotel at the Winter Gardens to help re-establish the town as a leading conference destination.
 
May is publishing the plan on the same day as a report from a cross-party group of MPs urging more help for the steel industry, with seven policy demands including cheaper energy and action against Chinese dumping. They said the government was still not doing enough to help the beleaguered industry, despite being heavily criticised under David Cameron for failing to wake up quickly enough to the threat of plant closures.
 
Stephen Kinnock, the Labour MP for Aberavon and a co-author of the report, said: “If we continue along the current path, characterised by a government whose attitude can best be described as a toxic combination of incompetence and indifference, we will see the further decline of the industry and our communities.
 
“However, as this report shows, another path is possible and achievable. With strategic action from government and the industry, we can build a better future for the British steel industry, we can trigger a modern manufacturing renaissance, we can rebalance the British economy, and we can forge a new, more resilient, kind of growth.”
 
In particular, he called for the government to “remove the existing disincentives to investment posed by a punitive business rates regime and crippling energy prices.
 
“The government must firm up procurement policies to support the British steel industry, support skills development, invest in R&D and build a partnership approach to industrial relations and management,” Kinnock said.
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Sainshand Wastewater Treatment Plant construction to commence this year www.mongolia.gogo.mn

 
Construction of the sewage treatment plant in Sainshand, the center of Dornogobi (East Gobi) province, will commence in 2017, an official source told MONTSAME. The project costs USD 3.7 million, funded by the Asian Development Bank.
The wastewater treatment facility will bring solution to sewage problem not only of Sainshand city but also of the small settlement adjacent to the railroad in the north of the city.
The necessary treatment demand for Sainshand is 1,200 cubemeters of wastewater per day, whereas the small settlement near the railroad needs to be treated of 400 cubemeters of wastewater on daily basis.
Intended treatment capacity of the project is 4,200 cubemeters per day. However, the Dornogobi Governor, T.Enkhtuvshin requested to lower the capacity to 3,200 cubemeters to minimize costs in order to allow for building more connections between settlement and treatment facility, to be located in the further southwest side of Sainshand.
The project executors accepted his request and are allowing for a possibility to increase the capacity in the future.
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To russia with energetic love www.chinadailyasisa.com

 
A mega overseas project for liquefied natural gas or LNG that will likely burnish China's global profile, contribute toward the country's energy security, enhance its geopolitical strategy and bolster efforts for economic rejuvenation, is scheduled to start production in the Russian Arctic late this year.
 
The 16.5 million metric tons per annum Yamal project - its corporate entity is called Oao Yamal LNG - is located in north-central Russia (or north western Siberia)
 
In September 2013, China National Petroleum Corp, the country's largest oil and gas producer by annual output, acting through its subsidiary CNPC Russia, bought a 20 percent stake for US$5.4 billion in Oao Novatek's US$27 billion Yamal project.
 
Oao Novatek holds a 50.1 percent stake in the Yamal project, while Total holds 20 percent and Silk Road Fund 9.9 percent. Novatek is Russia's independent natural gas producer and the country's second-biggest LNG company after state-owned Gazprom.
 
China's investment will help the Russian gas supplier to complete the project, one of the largest industrial undertakings in the Russian Arctic. It is reasonable to say a new gas production center is evolving in the Yamal Peninsula, which is expected to transform the Russian gas industry.
 
It is also expected to boost China's oil and gas reserves substantially, ensuring steady long-term supply.
 
Much of Yamal's output would to be supplied to China and other Asian countries, according to Novatek. CNPC had pledged to buy at least 3 million tons of LNG a year, said analysts.
 
According to Wang Lu, an Asia-Pacific oil and gas analyst from Bloomberg Intelligence, imports from Yamal may account for at least 1.6 percent of China's gas demand, which is estimated to be 257 billion cubic meters in 2018, assuming a 10 percent compound annual growth rate during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20).
 
"China's LNG imports will continue to be an important contributor to its supply landscape by 2020," she said.
 
"The project's success and reliability will enhance CNPC's investment return, so this aligns CNPC's interests with Novatek's."
 
For CNPC, Yamal has strategic importance. It expects the project to foster greater cooperation between Beijing and Moscow in the Arctic, give a fillip to economic development and scientific research, and shape regional rules and norms relating to gas reserves in the region.
 
Li Li, energy research director at ICIS China, a consulting company that provides analysis of China's energy market, said the country had arranged for steady import of natural gas from Russia even before the Yamal investment.
 
For instance, Russia's Gazprom has a 30-year contract with China to supply 38 billion cu m of natural gas annually from 2018. CNPC's participation in Yamal is part of Chinese companies' going global strategy and signifies the country's intent to be a key player in the crucial Arctic region.
 
In the process, China will have also helped Russia that has been facing capital shortage due to sanctions imposed by the US and Europe over the annexation of Crimea.
 
The deal represents a significant step in Russian President Vladimir Putin's push to boost commercial ties with China.
 
China's backing will ensure the project will roll, said an official from CNPC Russia. Elaborating, he said sanctions had rendered financing for the project in US dollars impossible.
 
Several US and European banks had pulled out of financing deals. So, China's capital, technology and massive markets are exactly what an Arctic country like Russia needs now.
 
According to Evgeniy Kot, director general of the Yamal project, the company has sold 96 percent of the project's LNG production to European and Asian customers through 20- to 25-year contracts.
 
Benefiting from the vast natural gas reserves situated across the Yamal Peninsula, the company signed loan agreements with the Export-Import Bank of China and the China Development Bank Corp for 1.2 billion yuan (US$173 million) in all.
 
For its part, Russia will provide tax incentives to companies involved in the development of the Arctic region, including zero export duty on LNG and special tariffs for condensate oil.
 
CNPC Russia said it is confident Novatek's rich experience in operating in Arctic weather conditions will help the Yamal project.
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Iron ore prices slide ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations www.businessinsider.com

 
Iron ore spot markets continued to retreat on Friday, undermined by a drop-off in activity and softer sentiment ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations.
According to Metal Bulletin, the spot price for benchmark 62% fines fell by 0.7% to $US80.41 a tonne, leaving it at the lowest level seen since January 11.
The losses for lower grade ores were even larger with the price for 58% fines sliding by 2.53% to $US59.17 a tonne.
Analysts at Metal Bulletin said that the weakness coincided with another decline in rebar futures on the Shanghai Commodities Exchange.
“Futures dropped again today with bearish sentiment dominating the market,” said the group. “Meanwhile, sellers refused to cut prices despite few deals being concluded even at lower prices.”
This stalemate between buyers and sellers was likely exacerbated by many users breaking for New year celebrations, beginning on January 28.
And it looks like thin market conditions continued to impact sentiment on Friday evening with rebar, iron ore and coking coal futures all tumbling for the session.
The May 2017 iron ore future on the Dalian Commodities Exchange slumped 2.31% to 612.5 yuan, well below the multi-year high of 666 yuan struck earlier in the week.
Rebar and coking coal futures also came under pressure, tumbling 2.86% and 3.69% over the same period.
Trade in Chinese commodity futures will resume at Midday AEDT.
Here’s how they finished up on Friday evening.
SHFE Copper ¥46,740 , 0.32%
SHFE Aluminium ¥13,810 , 2.33%
SHFE Zinc ¥22,400 , 0.47%
SHFE Nickel ¥82,200 , -1.43%
SHFE Rebar ¥3,158 , -2.86%
DCE Iron Ore ¥612.50 , -2.31%
DCE Coking Coal ¥1,175.50 , -3.69%
DCE Coke ¥1,600.00 , -3.53%
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New China-Mongolia Mining Deal: Economic Windfall or Environmental Threat? wsj.com

 
Mongolia recently reached a new deal to sell coal to China, helping it boost its faltering economy and start repaying billions of dollars it owes Wall Street lenders.
 
Under the landmark agreement completed late last year, Mongolia’s state-owned mining company will sell coal to China at roughly double the previously agreed-upon rate.
 
The deal follows a devastating four-year period when Mongolian miners exported coal to China at deeply-discounted prices, sometimes for as little as 11% of the global benchmark price, undercutting Mongolia’s economic growth. Mongolia agreed to those punitive terms to get the loan from China and has been struggling to repay it.
 
The new export agreement will help Mongolia pay its mounting debt, including bonds held by BlackRock Inc., Fidelity Investments, UBS Global Asset Management and other global investors that bought the debt for its double-digit yields, according to bond investors.
 
But the export deal has a downside for Mongolia: It effectively transfers much coal production from China, which is bent on cleaning up its environment, to its poorer neighbor.
 
That means worsening environmental damage is nearly certain in Mongolia, as its coal output ramps up, analysts say. Mongolia’s arid climate has been getting drier, in part because mining activities require large amounts of water. Dry conditions have been driving more of the population to the capital, Ulaanbaatar, where people commonly burn coal to stay warm.
 
Trucks carrying coal are backed up for nearly 40 miles at Mongolia’s southern border with China, in what some analysts call the world’s largest traffic jam.
 
"These trucks are on unpaved roads, the air pollution is getting worse, it impacts the communities and the region,” says Damdinnyam Gongor, a Mongolian and independent researcher on natural-resource governance.
 
Yet Mongolia seems willing to make that trade-off, with coal prices soaring since China has begun cutting production, analysts say. Market prices for the type of coal produced in Mongolia, which is used in steel- and iron-making operations, skyrocketed 200% in 2016 to $225 a ton.
 
“The Mongolian government’s most pressing target should be to create sustainable economics for its country,” said Adrienne Lui, an Asia economist for Citigroup. “The smog problem will improve alongside when more people are fed, working and warm.”
 
Mongolia is also in talks with some Asian firms to develop its Tavan Tolgoi coal reserves, analysts say. The Gobi desert site is one of the world’s largest untapped coal mines, with more than six billion tons of coal deposits.
 
Under emperor Kublai Khan, the Mongols conquered China in the 13th century and ruled a powerful empire that eventually collapsed. Today, the country of three million people is the most sparsely populated in the world, according to the United Nations. About 21% of Mongolians are in poverty, and 40% are classified as nomadic, the U.N. says.
 
Even before the new coal price agreement went into effect last quarter, Mongolia was benefiting from a boost in exports to China, after Chinese miners cut back production over the government’s environmental concerns. In November, Mongolia shipped 3.36 million tons of the fossil fuel to its neighbor —a 186% year-over-year increase, according to Chinese customs data.
 
Some analysts are forecasting coal sales to China will boost Mongolia’s economic growth by double-digits. BDSec JSC, Mongolia’s largest broker and investment bank, estimates that Mongolia’s economy could expand by as much as 25% this year if it continues to produce coal at the current rate and if plans for the development of Tavan Tolgoi move forward.
 
Mongolia needs that income to pay back debt. The government is on the hook this year for $800 million in external debt-service obligations, or 7.5% of its gross domestic product, according to Moody’s.
 
The country began borrowing heavily from banks, bond investors and China in 2012 to build infrastructure projects, including an agreement with metal and mining company Rio Tinto to develop copper and gold deposits in the Gobi desert.
 
But a collapse in commodity prices and internal government squabbles delayed mining projects that Mongolia was relying on to pay back those loans. Now the country is seeking new loans from the International Monetary Fund and China.
 
Mongolia’s debt burden upended a once-booming economy, which went from double-digit growth between 2012 and 2014 to about 1.3% this year, according to Standard & Poor’s.
 
Investors have demanded higher yields for taking on the credit risk that comes with the collapse in growth. The country’s most recent bond issue last year sold at an 11% yield, versus similar bonds that were sold in 2012 at 4% yields.
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Government`s actions against air and environmental pollution www.mongolia.gogo.mn

 
On Jan 10th, National Security Council of Mongolia held a meeting under topic of "Air and Environmental Pollution of Ulaanbaatar city" and discussed actions to be implemented in short and long terms.
At the meeting, Prime Minister J.Erdenebat has introduced the actions to be implemented by the Government of Mongolia.
ACTIONS TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN 2017:
In scope of free nighttime electricity discount, the Government will provide electricity meter with dual-tariff equivalents to 36.4 households.
The government proposed commercial banks to establish green loan fund to grant loans to households that will use electric heaters.
Establish a fund against air pollution.
Develop national program against air pollution.
Provide briquette to 23 thousand households.
Create campaigns to encourage good habits for the public.
Install smoke filters to vehicles.
Entitle paid leave for parents of the children up to age of five years, who receive a three to five days of treatment.
Cover costs of 10 types of medicines for children up to age of five years, who are suffering from influenza-like illness
Government of Mongolia has budgeted MNT 100 billion for the implementation of the actions.
ACTIONS TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN MID-TERM /2-3 years/:
Improve infrastructure of ger districts and build housing. Of which US$ 50 million from Chinese soft loan will be funded to the construction of housing in 100 ail area.
Scientists and researchers will conduct study on how to improve heat insulation of Mongolian ger.
Restrict the import of used vehicles.
City buses to run on compressed natural gas.
Increase the number of air quality monitor.
Create a partial heat supply.
Start an expiremental project to construct heating plant to run on natural gas
ACTIONS TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN LONG-TERM:
Develop regions to reduce migration to cities.
Continue ger district housing program.
Implement central and partial heat supply policies.
Develop city development plan with vision.
Improve public participation.
ACTIONS TO BE IMPLEMENTED IN ULAANBAATAR CITY:
Set up new residential areas at the outer parts of the city, especially in Nalaikh, Baganuur, Bagakhangai and Tuv aimag.
Create four smokeless zones in Ulaanbaatar city to increase the air quality.
Organizations and entities located in smokeless zones shall use gas or electric heaters.
Prohibit households to burn waste such as, old tires, used oil and plastics.
Supply air filter to secondary schools and kindergartens in 2017-2018.
Stop migration to the city from rurals until 2018.
Ban use of non-standard stoves starting Apr 1, 2017.
Install filter on buses and refuse diesel engine.
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China sets up $14.6 billion internet investment fund: Xinhua www.reuters.com

 
China has set up a 100 billion yuan ($14.55 billion) fund to support investment in the internet sector, said official news agency Xinhua on Sunday.
The fund, backed by China's cabinet, is designed to help turn China into a major player in internet technology, said the report.
An initial 30 billion yuan has already been raised from major banks and telecoms firms including ICBC, China Mobile and China Unicom. Up to 150 billion yuan in credit will be available to companies that have been invested by the fund, Xinhua said.
China said earlier this month it would invest 1.2 trillion yuan between 2016 and 2018 to develop information infrastructure.
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Wall Street Week Ahead: Optimism among S&P 500 CEOs as Trump takes power www.reuters.com

 
U.S. President Donald Trump's administration is only hours old, but already a small parade of S&P 500 companies' chiefs have voiced optimism that his promised tax cuts, stimulus spending and deregulation will boost corporate profits.
 
In the days ahead of Friday's inauguration, senior executives from Morgan Stanley (MS.N), Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) and other major U.S. corporations said the Trump White House has already sparked a brighter outlook for business.
 
"There is certainly more reason to be optimistic as we enter 2017 than there was at the beginning of 2016," Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said on Tuesday after his bank said profit doubled in the fourth quarter. He pointed to factors including a surge in consumer confidence after the Nov. 8 election and lower taxes promised by Trump.
 
Just under way, fourth-quarter earnings reporting season is providing a glimpse of what major large companies expect under Trump, and their take is largely positive so far.
 
Over a dozen S&P 500 companies reporting results in the last week have signaled optimism about potential tax cuts, infrastructure spending, employee benefit costs and reduced regulation.
 
With corporate earnings already on the mend after a slump in oil prices and a strong dollar last year, S&P 500 companies are expected on average to grow their earnings by 6.3 percent in the December quarter and 13.6 percent in the March quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
 
Since the November election, the S&P 500 has rallied 6 percent to record highs, in part due to expectations Trump will pass policies that stimulate the economy. Banks have led gains, with investors betting Trump will roll back regulations passed by President Barack Obama following the 2008 financial crisis, which many investors say went too far.
 
After United Continental Holdings (UAL.N) on Tuesday posted lower December-quarter profits, airline President Scott Kirby told analysts on a call, "It feels like we are on a really good path. It felt to me like there was an inflection point after the election for business demand."
 
An also upbeat Delta Air Lines Chief Executive Ed Bastian told analysts this month that he was excited about potential infrastructure spending promised by Trump, as well as a chance to make his case about unfair competition from Middle Eastern airlines heavily subsidized by governments.
 
Vince Delie, Chief Executive of F.N.B. (FNB.N), which own First National Bank, said on a quarterly conference call on Thursday that he was saw more confidence among commercial customers and a potential pickup in lending.
 
"There are at least conversations occurring about larger capex opportunities within our customer base, which didn't happen before," Delie said.
 
Not everyone is over the moon, however. Kansas City Southern's CEO (KSU.N) bemoaned an uncertain environment on Friday after the cross-border railroad reported lower quarterly profits, hurt by a slump in Mexico's peso since Trump's election.
 
"Obviously the political and economic uncertainty is probably first and foremost on most of our minds, and the irony of us reporting earnings on the Inauguration Day of the 45th President is not entirely lost on us," Chief Executive Patrick Ottensmeyer told analysts.
 
Indeed, some business leaders and lobbyists in Washington who were initially enthusiastic about Trump's victory have begun to exhibit some hesitance over his agenda amid confusing messages on healthcare, taxes and trade.
 
SURGING CONFIDENCE
 
Still, while Trump's views on immigration and a range of other issues are at odd with many Americans, most small businesses and consumers do see a brighter future as he launches his presidency.
 
An index of small business confidence in December hit a 12-year high, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.
 
The U.S. consumer confidence index in December hit its highest level since August 2001, a month before the Sept. 11 attacks.
 
Following strong stock gains in November and December, many on Wall Street are concerned that Trump may fail to deliver on all of his promises. A Republican-controlled Congress might balk at infrastructure spending or tax reductions that significantly widen the federal budget deficit.
 
Other investors worry that Trump could follow through on campaign-trail threats to tear up global trade deals and crack down on illegal immigrants from Mexico who provide low-wage labor in agriculture, restaurants and other industries.
 
"Folks are potentially underestimating the degree to which Trump is serious about real reform on trade an immigration," warned Jon Adams, senior investment strategist at BMO Global Asset Management. "Investors, in general, are hopeful Trump will take a more pragmatic approach on those issues."
 
Over the past two months, Trump has publicly targeted and threatened a range of multinationals, including Ford Motor (F.N), General Motors (GM.N), Boeing Co (BA.N) and Lockheed Martin (LMT.N). That may have left CEOs wary of publicly disagreeing with his policies.
 
"You don't want to step on a mine. So the best course of action is to be somewhat optimistic, positive but also somewhat noncommittal so you're not trapped one way or another," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth in New York.
 
Trump's frequent use of Twitter to single out companies for criticism or praise has created volatile spikes in trading of their shares, which is good for online brokers including Charles Schwab (SCHW.N) and TD Ameritrade (AMTD.O).
 
"Each time, it's a new market event and a potential trading opportunity for our clients. Like everyone else, we're watching it with interest," TD Ameritrade Director of Finance Jeff Goeser said on a conference call on Wednesday after the company reported an increase in quarterly profits.
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