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



Inflation picks up to multi-year highs in China as central bank eyes tighter policy www.reuters.com

China's producer price inflation picked up more than expected in January to near six-year highs as prices of steel and other raw materials extended a torrid rally, adding to views that global manufacturing activity is building momentum.
China consumer inflation also rose more than expected to near three-year highs, data showed on Tuesday.
Much of the pick up in consumer prices was likely due to higher food and transportation prices heading into the long Lunar New Year holiday, the National Bureau of Statistics said.
But mounting price pressures in China and many other developed economies have sparked talk of tighter monetary policy this year, after years of super-loose settings aimed at reviving economic growth.
China's central bank raised short-term interest rates in recent weeks as it looks to contain financial risks from an explosive growth in debt.
Consumer inflation quickened to 2.5 percent in January from a year earlier, the highest since May 2014 and just above market expectations.
Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted the consumer price index (CPI) would rise 2.4 percent, versus a 2.1 percent gain in December.
Food prices, the biggest component of CPI, rose by 2.7 percent in January from a 2.5 percent rise in December. Transportation and communication costs rose 2.3 percent, up from a 0.9 percent gain in December.
Producer price inflation accelerated to 6.9 percent, from December's rise of 5.5 percent.
The producer price index (PPI) rose the fastest since August 2011, driven by a 31.0 percent increase in mining costs as coal prices rise, the biggest jump in that category since early 2010.
Trump expects only 'tweaking' of trade relationship with Canada
The market had expected producer prices to rise 6.3 percent on an annual basis.
China's massive imports of coal, crude oil, iron ore and industrial materials have helped fuel a sharp rebound in global resources prices in recent months, boosting profits for producers and processors.
Iron ore futures in China rallied to the highest in more than three years on Monday, while London copper futures hit 20-month highs.
Price gains in China have been further amplified by government efforts to reduce overcapacity in some industrial sectors.
But heady increases in China's commodity futures market, especially for iron ore, metal reinforcing bars and coking coal used in steel production, have added to worries about speculative price bubbles.


Finland inks $266 million deal to revitalize Europe's largest nickel mine www.mining.com

A large but troubled nickel mine in Finland may be back on the road to profitability thanks to a recent deal that saw commodities trader Trafigura take a 15.5 percent stake.
The Terrafame mine in northern Finland has been operated by the state since 2014, after its former operator Talvivaara Sotkamo went bankrupt following years of losses and production problems. Talvivaara also had to deal with a major environmental and public relations disaster in 2012 when the mine leaked wastewater, spilling toxic levels of nickel, cadmium, uranium, aluminium and zinc into nearby lakes and rivers.
The Finnish government planned to close what was once the European Union's biggest nickel mine, but changed its mind in November. Instead, the government provided 100 million euros to Terrafame, citing rising nickel and zinc prices and state-controlled Terrafame Ltd's efforts to put the business back on track, according to a story in Digital Journal.
Now the mine has been given an even bigger vote of confidence, with Trafigura – which describes itself as one of the world’s leading commodity trading and logistics houses – paying 250 million euros (US$266 million) for a 15.5% stake to help complete a planned ramp-up in production. Last year the mine produced 22,575 tonnes of zinc and 9,554 tonnes of nickel.
The cash will be issued through Trafigura's Galena fund; the company will also finance a new loan as part of the deal.
Trafigura also agreed to purchase all of the mine's nickel-cobalt sulphide precipitates and 80% of its zinc sulphide precipitates during the next seven years.
Ore at the mine is processed through a bioheapleaching process said to be cleaner and more energy-efficient. It uses natural bacteria to leach sulphide minerals.


‘Untapped potential’: Bitcoin poised to profit from Iran’s ban on US dollar www.rt.com

As Iran moves away from using the US dollar, bitcoin has emerged as a potential replacement. The cryptocurrency could thrive in a country where more than 50 million people are connected to the internet, financial experts claim.
In the wake of US President Donald Trump’s travel restrictions on seven countries including Iran, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran announced last month that the US dollar will be replaced with a stable reserve currency more frequently used in foreign trades.
Two possible replacements are being explored such as using one currency, potentially the euro, or allowing Iranians to select from multiple currencies, reported the Coin Telegraph.
The announcement has caught the attention of the country’s first bitcoin exchange, BTXCapital, which sees Iran as a market with potential to grow. “The market is massive. A large population with a high proportion connected to the internet means there is a lot of completely untapped market potential,” Ganesh Jung, CEO of Draglet who develop an exchange platform used by BTXCapital, told IBTimes UK.
India recently saw a surge in bitcoin usage following the country’s demonetization of high-value paper notes, pushing people towards cashless transactions.
However, last week the Reserve Bank of India issued a warning to bitcoin users saying it is not licensed in the country.
“Any user, holder, investor, trader, etc. dealing with virtual currencies will be doing so at their own risk,” they said in a statement.
The cryptocurrency faces similar challenges in Iran where, according to the central bank, Article 2 of the state’s Money and Banking Act states that “The Currency of Iran shall be in the form of money and coins,” which were either in circulation at the time the legislation was passed or which are issued under the Act.
However, the restriction does not prevent bitcoin being used for other purposes including money transfers overseas.
Jung claims Iran will be supportive of bitcoin and use it as a way to “signal that the country is hoping to reintegrate with the West – and bitcoin is one way to do this."
Bitcoin more than doubled its value in 2016, becoming the year’s best-performing currency. It rallied at 126 percent on the back of strong demand in China, where the yuan saw its worst year on record, weakening 6.5 percent.


Canada’s Trudeau needs to sell Trump on NAFTA www.rt.com

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Washington on Monday carrying the hopes of Canadian businesses that he can assure US President Donald Trump the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is worth salvaging.
NAFTA was signed by the governments of US, Canada, and Mexico in January 1994. The agreement covers trade between the three countries which together have almost half a billion people, and its fundamental principle is the elimination of tariffs across North America.
During his campaign, Trump condemned NAFTA, describing it as "the single worst trade deal ever approved" and a catastrophe for US workers and companies.
Last month, he said he was ready to start renegotiating the agreement with Canada and Mexico.
According to Statistics Canada, shipments from Canada to the US account for almost 76 percent of the country’s exports. Trump’s support for a “major border tax” could disrupt $541 billion in trade between the two nations.
A border tax could backfire by raising the cost of raw materials used to make goods in the US, said Pierre Gratton, president of the Mining Association of Canada.
“It would be counterproductive for the United States to start imposing a border tax on minerals and metals because they’d only be punishing their manufacturing industry,” Gratton told Bloomberg.
Automakers, along with oil and gas producers are Canada’s two largest exporters to the US. Statistics show each of those sectors generated about $46 billion in shipments in 2016, or 30 percent of the total.
“Absolutely, we need to be concerned about any change in our trading relationship with our largest trading partner,” said Paul Taylor, chief investment officer of asset allocation at BMO Global Asset Management.


Presidential election candidates to be announced by May 17 www.montsame.mn

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The General Election Commission called a press conference on Monday, February 13, to announce that the commission has approved a Plan of actions and schedule for organizing the presidential election to be held on June 26.

The Mongolian National Audit Office is to finalize the designations of the maximum costs of electoral constituencies and for each candidate to run election campaigns by February 26.

Selection of candidates to run for president will take place around the beginning of May and the selected candidates will be announced to the public before May 17.

As of today, there are 2,056,000 registered citizens of voting age on national level. However the number is subject to change until the actual election day.

The polling will take place for the Mongolian citizens abroad on June 10-11 at the diplomatic missions of Mongolia to respective countries.



China's top developers plan to invest more in land this year - Reuters survey www.reuters.com

Chinese real estate developers surveyed by Reuters mostly plan to increase their land investments in 2017 as they shrug off record prices and government tightening measures while seeking to expand their market share.

The 10 companies contacted by phone and messaging represent half of the top 20 Chinese developers and together have close to $300 billion in annual sales, mainly of apartments.

Eight of them said they were increasing their budgets, by between 10-50 percent, and the other two said they would sustain their spending at 2016 levels. Company officials responding to the survey asked for anonymity, many citing corporate quiet periods ahead of quarterly results.

The developers are buying land in Tier 1 cities, which are Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, or in Tier 2 cities, such as Suzhou, Wuhan and Hefei, but most are shunning smaller Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities. That could increase the price differential between the major cities, where demand is robust and land is in short supply, and the rest.

A sharp run-up in prices in major cities last year raised official alarm in Beijing about the potential for a boom and bust cycle, and led to a series of measures at local level to reduce property speculation.

"Because of the tightening, home sales will not be as crazy as in 2016, but it's a good time for us to buy more land because we sold most of the inventory last year," said a company official at one developer based in the southern city of Shenzhen, where home prices are among the most expensive in China. "Developers need to keep the growth momentum and so we need to keep buying aggressively ... The theme for this year is land investment."

Increasing market share helps the big players to gain more economies of scale, putting them in a better position to control labor, materials and marketing costs.

Companies are snatching up land amid intensifying competition that is expected to squeeze out some of the country's smaller players. Citi estimates China's top 20 developers will control 45 percent of new home sales before 2020, up from 26 percent in 2016.

The plans for more land buying contrast with expectations for a slowdown in the growth in overall national real estate investment in 2017, compared with a 6.9 percent rise last year. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences forecasts China's property investment will rise 5.4 percent in 2017.

Increasing competition for land in major cities will not only pose a challenge to authorities who want to avoid property prices from soaring out of control, but also put pressure on companies' profit margins due to caps imposed on home prices in some cities.

The developer that plans to invest 50 percent more in land this year said it was making up for failing to buy enough in the past two years.

The two developers surveyed who said they would keep investment levels similar to 2016 said they believed land prices were already too high.


China's property market, which contributes around 15 percent of the country's economic growth, has become increasingly unbalanced, with higher tier cities recording record prices while smaller ones struggle to reduce inventories.

China Vanke, the country's No.2 homebuilder with 88 percent growth in sales value in January from a year earlier, said it had bought 19 new projects last month, two of which were in Beijing.

"In cities where tightening measures are in place, sales may see pressure, but this pressure may also bring opportunities for us to acquire land. Even though the absolute prices of land haven't dropped significantly, the premiums have narrowed," Vanke securities affairs representative Liang Jie (000002.SZ) told an analysts' conference last week.

Explaining why the lesser cities weren't a focus, the chief financial officer of a large developer said that "prices there are not good and demand is not good."

Two developers, Evergrande and Country Garden, are bucking the trend by developing around half of their projects in third and fourth-tier cities as they have in the past.

Country Garden has the most aggressive sales target for this year, with a plan to double sales to close to 600 billion yuan.

There are no price caps in these cities, and by keeping land prices and construction costs low, there is less pressure on margins, Country Garden's Chief Financial Officer Bijun Wu told reporters last month.

If China's property prices continue to rally, the developers' aggressive buying strategy could prove right.

"Evergrande's active land acquisition in 2013-15 via auction/M&A turned out be a successful move given the sharp appreciation on the land price and the much higher competition in the land market now," Citi analyst Oscar Choi said in a report early this month.

Still, there are concerns that some of the developers are overstretching.

"Land prices will continue to increase if local governments keep lowering supply; but once monetary policy starts to tighten, those developers that have invested excessively will face (liquidity) problems," said Nomura's chief China economist Zhao Yang.

(Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Martin Howell)



UK offshore wind 'will lower energy bills' more than nuclear www.theguardian.com

Offshore windfarms could provide cheaper power than Britain’s new wave of nuclear power stations, a leading figure in the wind industry has claimed.
Speaking to the the Guardian, Hugh McNeal, the chief executive of trade body RenewableUK, said he expected that offshore windfarms would secure a deal with the government lower than the £92.50 per megawatt hour agreed with EDF for £18bn Hinkley Point C.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if it [offshore wind] cleared Hinkley prices,” he said of the bidding for a £290m-a-year government subsidy pot in April. The auction is under a scheme known as contracts for difference, which offer generators a guaranteed price for their electricity above the wholesale price. A 35-year deal with EDF was agreed last year.
McNeal, a career civil servant who joined RenewableUK from the now abolished Department of Energy and Climate Change last year, was upbeat about the future of offshore wind.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt about the political commitment of any party, apart from perhaps Ukip, to offshore wind. I think it’s got an incredibly healthy future,” he said.
Construction of offshore and onshore windfarms in the UK was responsible for €12.7bn (£11bn) of investment in 2016, or nearly half the year’s financial activity for new wind power in the EU.
The industry has also been buoyed by recent figures showing the price of offshore wind power had fallen by nearly one-third since 2012 to £100/MWh, a crucial milestone as the government will only continue to subsidise the technology if costs go down.
But McNeal said the decision by ministers to end onshore windfarm subsidies had been hard for the industry. The building of new turbines on land is expected to largely grind to a halt after next year.
Green energy subsidies are paid through energy bills, but MPs said last week that government efforts to communicate the impact on consumers had been “shambolic.” McNeal said he found the focus solely on the cost of new low-carbon power “a little bit odd” given the other factors driving energy price rises.
Three of the UK’s big six energy suppliers have announced price increases as their costs have risen, the bulk of which are higher wholesale prices. “We are perhaps a little bit overexposed to global markets over which we have no control, which fluctuate over time,” McNeal said.
Government officials should do more to spell out all the costs of energy to consumers, he added. The impact of renewable energy subsidies on bills has previously been broken down, but the effect on bills from subsidies to coal power stations for providing backup power, for example, are not.
However, McNeal defended the Conservative party, arguing it was unfairly derided as anti-renewables. “We have to actually just look at what’s been achieved,” he said.
“I’m not saying to you that there isn’t a challenge around the [Conservative] onshore wind manifesto commitment; of course there is. But the record is still a pretty remarkable one.”
Renewable energy supplies one-quarter of Britain’s electricity, he said, compared with a marginal amount before the 2010 general election, when the first of three Conservative-led governments came to power.
McNeal would not be drawn on whether Labour’s energy policy, which is pro-renewables and pro-nuclear, but would ban fracking for shale gas, was credible. But he said questions of energy supply should be depoliticised.
“I don’t think it’s my job to tell any party what its energy policy should be. Let’s just take the heat out of all this,” he said. “I just don’t think it does anyone any good to be in public fighting between different forms of technologies.”
Despite saying last year that new onshore windfarms in England were “very unlikely”, McNeal suggested the technology would come back because it was so cheap. “I don’t think onshore is done at all. I think onshore wind has a terrific future in our country,” he said.
McNeal said he was confident that wind power in the UK would thrive after Brexit, even though the industry’s growth had so far been driven in part by binding EU renewable targets for 2020.
“The idea that we need a separate European package [of support] – that would be the crucial thing that would drive our industry – we don’t need that now,” he said, adding that the sector would win on market terms.


Australia's $5 billion bet on clean coal www.mining.com

The Australian government has opened the door to using a $5 billion fund designed to attract investment in northern Australia, to develop clean-coal projects.

The Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), introduced last year, would offer loans of at least $50 million to projects in undeveloped regions of northern Australia, which covers 40% of the Australian continent but hosts just 5% of the population. But Resources Minister Matt Canavan stirred some controversy when earlier this month he suggested the fund could be tapped for clean-coal projects.

While federal ministers are suggesting that "ultra super critical" coal-power stations should be considered because they emit 30% less emissions than older coal plants, critics pan the idea, on both environmental and commercial grounds. 
Clean coal refers to a collection of technologies that mitigate the environmental impacts of coal-generated electricity, including carbon capture and sequestration. While there are a number of demonstration projects in place throughout the world and especially in the United States, the technology is still relatively nascent.

"I've received some interest over the past week associated with our commitment to build base load power stations, including to support clean coal options," Canavan told ABC News. He also cited a report stating that clean-coal power stations could be commercially viable in the north. "Some people might not realise that in North Queensland there is no base-load power station north of Rockhampton and industrial consumers in north Queensland pay often up to double the prices in southern Queensland," ABC News quoted him saying.

The minister's position is in line with the executive branch of the Australian government, which is framing a debate around energy security following recent blackouts.

Last week 90,000 customers of electricity provider Engie lost power when the company failed to switch on its Pelican Point gas plant during a heatwave. In September 1.7 million residents of South Australia were left in the dark after two tornadoes destroyed critical infrastructure.

Energy security in Australia has been thrust into the limelight with the closures of coal-fired power plants, including the Hazelwood power station. In 2015 AGL Energy Ltd, one of Australia’s main electricity providers, said it will shut all of its existing coal-fired power plants by 2050 to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Australia's No.2 power retailer added it would never again build or buy any coal-fired power plants, unless they come equipped with a carbon capture and storage facility.

The government has invested some $590 million in clean-coal technology since 2009, but Australia has yet to have a low-emissions power station.

While federal ministers are suggesting that "ultra super critical" coal-power stations should be considered because they emit 30% less emissions than older coal plants, critics pan the idea, on both environmental and commercial grounds.

According to a report in The Guardian, the federal government's Clean Energy Finance Corporation says clean coal is "seriously challenged" as a commercial investment because the prices of renewable energies are declining. Moreover, the environmental benefits of clean coal are being questioned. Updated data reported by RenewEconomy shows that government estimates of emissions from ultra super critical plants are actually above the current Australian average, and that there is little difference between emissions from the clean-coal plants proposed by the government and emissions from regular coal plants that currently exist in Australia.



Starbucks partners with WeChat to launch social gifting tool www.chinadaily.com.cn

Starbucks today announced the launch of "用星说" (Say it with Starbucks), a new social gifting feature on WeChat, China's leading mobile social communications service.
The launch is the result of a strategic partnership between Starbucks and Tencent, WeChat's developer, in December 2016.
"Starbucks is the first retail brand to bring to life a locally-relevant social gifting experience in China," China Digital Ventures vice president Molly Liu said.
During the first stage, WeChat's wallet function offers convenient access for 'Say it with Starbucks' users. They can select from a carefully curated selection of Starbucks-branded gifts and add a personalized message in the form of text, image or video to lift the day of a loved one. Once a gift is received, it will be saved in the recipient's WeChat app and can be redeemed at any Starbucks store in the Chinese mainland.
"This is the beginning of an exciting social gifting journey for Starbucks. We are looking forward to inspiring even more of our customers to show their love and appreciation through ‘Say it with Starbucks'. Meanwhile, we will continue to enhance the social gifting experience to celebrate important festivals and holidays in China and the special moments in our customers' lives," Liu added.
WeChat targets Chinese domestic users and has 846 million global monthly active users (as of the third quarter of 2016).


Erdenes Mongol and MAK officiates public-private partnership in mining www.montsame.mn

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ The state-owned “Erdenes Mongol” LLC and the Mongolyn Alt Corporation (MAK) established a joint company named “Erdenes Ashid” to work in geological exploration and studies by signing the agreement on Monday, February 13.

The joint company is to conduct geological explorations, assessments and detailed studies, and is to manage and operate concentrate plants and other factories based on mineral deposits.

Executive Director of Erdenes Mongol LLC Ts.Tumentsogt said: “Founding this company is facilitating the state-owned company to collaborate with MAK, which has abundant expertise in mining exploration and geology”.

“MAK has more than a hundred specialists of mining exploration, whereas the geological exploration is a new field for Erdenes Mongol. Therefore, the companies will be sharing resources to undertake mutually beneficial projects. Our vision is to attract more foreign investment in Mongolia’s mining sector and discovering new deposits”, he added.