1 US-MONGOLIA 'THIRD NEIGHBOR TRADE ACT' ON THE WAY WWW.THEDIPLOMAT.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      2 CHINA'S FIGHT AGAINST SMOG MAKES PALLADIUM 2018'S BEST METAL WWW.MINING.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      3 MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION PRESENTS GMS LICENSES WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      4 MONGOLIA CALLS FOR GLOBAL ATTENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE WWW.NEWS.MN PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      5 ADB OPENS A NEW WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT IN ARVAIKHEER, MONGOLIA WWW.AGENPARL.EU PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      6 CHINA TO BOOST COOPERATION WITH INDIA, MONGOLIA: DEFENSE MINISTER WWW.GLOBALTIMES.CN PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      7 DEATH ON MONGOLIA’S ‘COAL ROAD’ WWW.NEWS.MN PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      8 MONGOLIA SHAKEN BY WIDENING LOAN SCANDAL WWW.ASIA.NIKKEI.COM PUBLISHED:2018/11/17      9 MONGOLIA’S UNEMPLOYMENT FALLS BY 2.2 PERCENT WWW.NEWS.MN PUBLISHED:2018/11/16      10 MEETING MEAT DEMAND: MONGOLIA TO TRADE 17.9 PERCENT OF LIVESTOCK WWW.NEWS.MN PUBLISHED:2018/11/16      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     СУДАЛГААГААР ЖДҮ ЭРХЛЭГЧИД ЗЭЭЛИЙН ХҮҮНИЙ ЗАРДАЛ ХАМГИЙН ИХ ХҮНДРЭЛ УЧРУУЛДАГ ГЭЖ ХАРИУЛЖЭЭ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     ERDENE RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT: ХАЙГУУЛЫН ЗАРДАЛ III УЛИРАЛД 42 ХУВИАР БУУРСАН WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     ГОРХИ, ТЭРЭЛЖИЙН БАЙГАЛИЙН БОХИРДОЛД АНХААРАЛ ХАНДУУЛЖ ЭХЛЭВ WWW.MONTSAME.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     ИРЭХ БААСАН ГАРАГТ ХОТЫН ДАРГЫГ ОГЦРУУЛАХ ЭСЭХИЙГ ХЭЛЭЛЦЭНЭ WWW.MONTSAME.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     “АМГАЛАН” ХОТХОНД БАЙРЛАХ ГЭРТЭЭ КАННАБИС ТАРЬЖ, УРГУУЛЖ БАЙСАН ТУРК ИРГЭНИЙГ БАРИВЧИЛЖЭЭ WWW.MEDEE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     ӨНӨӨДӨР АВТОМАШИНЫ ДУГААРЫН ХЯЗГААРЛАЛТ ҮЙЛЧЛЭХГҮЙ WWW.EAGLE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/17     ГАШУУНСУХАЙТЫН НҮҮРСТЭЙ МАШИНЫ ЦУВАА 120 КМ БОЛЖЭЭ WWW.EAGLE.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/16     ТАТВАРЫН ОРЛОГО 32.2 ХУВИАР ӨСӨЖ, ТӨСВИЙН ТЭНЦЭЛ 341.9 ТЭРБУМ ТӨГРӨГИЙН АШИГТАЙ ГАРЛАА WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2018/11/16    

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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Alibaba's Ant Financial buys MoneyGram for $880m www.bbc.com

Ant Financial, the digital payments arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba, is buying US-based MoneyGram for $880m (£700m).
MoneyGram has about 350,000 outlets in nearly 200 countries. Ant Financial has more than 630 million users.
The takeover by the Chinese group will need regulatory approval from the US Committee on Foreign Investment.
The inter-agency committee reviews foreign acquisitions of domestic American assets on grounds of national security.
Eric Jing, chief executive at Ant Financial, said in a statement that the marriage of the two companies will "provide greater access, security and simplicity for people around the world to remit funds, especially in major economies such as the United States, China, India, Mexico and the Philippines".
Ant Financial has a big market share in the online payments industry in China. The acquisition could help the company extend the lead as well as expand overseas, as competition is growing in China with rival Tencent's WeChat payment system.
US-listed Moneygram's shares rose by nearly 9% on the news. The takeover has been approved by MoneyGram's board of directors.
Politics over profits?
Ant Financial's shopping spree in the US comes against a backdrop of rising tensions between China and the world's biggest economy.
Before he took office, then president-elect Donald Trump was questioning whether the US should continue its "One China" policy, sparking fury from Chinese state media. And during his presidential campaign, Mr Trump threatened to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese imports.
But Jack Ma, the founder and chairman of Alibaba, held a meeting with Mr Trump in December last year.
While President Trump has been critical of China, he said he had a "great meeting" with Mr Ma, who chose to float Alibaba on the New York Stock Exchange. The share sale in September 2014 was a record-breaker, as Alibaba raised $25bn in its initial public offering.
If the MoneyGram deal goes through, it will be Alibaba's second acquisition in the US. Last year the e-commerce giant purchased EyeVerify in a $70m deal.
EyeVerify is a start-up based in Missouri, which uses biometric authentication technology for securing user's online data and transactions.

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Tesco to buy Budgens and Londis owner Booker in £3.7bn deal www.theguardian.com

 
Tesco, Britain’s biggest supermarket group, is to buy Booker, the UK’s largest food wholesaler and the owner of Londis and Budgens, in a £3.7bn deal.
The supermarket giant has unveiled an agreed share and cash merger that values Booker at £3.7bn, “to create the UK’s leading food business”.
Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis said: “Tesco has made significant progress in turning around our UK retail business. This merger with Booker will further enhance Tesco’s growth prospects by creating the UK’s leading food business with combined expertise in retail, wholesale, supply chain and digital. Wherever food is prepared and eaten – ‘in home’ or ‘out of home’ – we will meet this opportunity with the widest choice and best service available.”
Under the terms of the deal, each Booker shareholder will receive 0.861 Tesco shares and 42.6p in cash.
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White House: Higher taxes proposed for US imports www3.nhk.or.jp

 
White House officials are proposing higher taxes to help pay for US President Donald Trump's plan to build a wall along the Mexican border. US media reports say that might not mean higher tariffs, but rather steeper taxes for companies in the United States that import products.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Thursday that the White House will propose a 20-percent tax on products from countries that the US has a trade deficit with. He said that the administration is considering discussing the specifics with Republican lawmakers.
Spicer's remark comes after Trump expressed the idea of pushing for tax reforms on Mexican imports to pay for the cost of building the wall.
Media reports say the White House is considering reforming the corporate tax system. They say one idea is to lower taxes on companies that export, while raising those on firms that import.
Such changes could affect Japanese businesses.
But the plan faces persistent opposition from US importers. Trump himself has criticized it for being too complicated.
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S&P Affirms China Rating With Warning Financial Risks Are Rising www.bloomberg.com

 
 
S&P Global Ratings maintained its negative outlook on China, citing increasing economic and financial risk that it said could cause a downgrade in coming months.
The credit rating was affirmed as AA- with a negative outlook, which S&P has maintained since it cut the outlook for the economy from stable to negative in March. It also affirmed the A-1+ short-term sovereign credit ratings.
“The negative outlook reflects our view of gradually increasing economic and financial risks to the government’s creditworthiness, which could result in a downgrade this year or next,” Singapore-based credit analyst Kim Eng Tan wrote in a report Thursday. “China’s reforms to its fiscal and monetary policies, coupled with its anti-corruption campaign, should help support its sovereign creditworthiness.”
Reliance on credit-fueled growth also adds to the risk of a hard landing for the economy, Tan said, adding that the negative outlook was mainly based on the “gradually increasing economic and financial risks.” The last change to the rating was December 2010, when it was raised from A+.
Economic growth over the next three years will be at least 5.5 percent annually, and supporting the expansion may require heavy public investment by the government given the uncertain external economic environment, Tan said.
The report followed another that also cited heavy borrowing. China’s large debt will lead to substantially slower economic growth by the end of the decade rather than an outright financial crisis, Fitch said in a statement this week.
The contribution from consumption will likely increase, but in the meantime, the investment rate is likely to remain above 40 percent of gross domestic product, with credit growth outpacing the economic expansion over the same period, Tan said.
S&P would downgrade if it saw a higher likelihood China seeks to stabilize growth at or above 6.5 percent “by allowing credit to increase significantly faster than the nominal GDP growth,” Tan said.
 
 
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Starbucks must ease mobile order pileup to get customers in line www.reuters.com

 
Starbucks' coffee shops are suffering from a feared consequence of the mobile revolution: the digital world can dump an avalanche of orders in a short period of time, creating delays and lines that scare away customers.
Starbucks Corp is an early adopter of mobile order and payment technology that the U.S. restaurant industry hopes will boost sales while reducing the burden of rising labor costs.
But baristas at the company's busiest cafes had difficulty keeping up with mobile orders in the latest quarter, creating bottlenecks at drink delivery stations and leading some walk-in customers to walk out.
Starbucks on Thursday trimmed its full-year revenue forecast and posted a smaller-than-expected rise in quarterly sales at established restaurants in the Americas, sending its shares down 3.8 percent in after-hours trade.
"It's a high-quality problem" that Starbucks is up to the task of addressing, said AB Bernstein analyst Sara Senatore. She noted that the company found a workaround a few years ago after service slowed when baristas started warming La Boulange pastries for customers.
"We are now laser-focused on fixing this problem, but the nature of it - too much demand - is an operational challenge we have solved before and I can assure you we will solve again," Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said on a conference call.
Earlier this week, Starbucks began adding one to two more baristas focused on mobile orders and payment at some of its top volume cafes during peak hours, spokeswoman Linda Mills told Reuters.
Executives are also rethinking work routines and internally testing text notifications that alert customers when their orders are ready, Mills added.
"There is some incremental labor, but it's mostly just using it more effectively," said AB Bernstein's Senatore.
News of the operational challenges came as Starbucks reported that traffic, also referred to as transactions, at its U.S. cafes slumped during the latest quarter.
Part of that result was due to the fact that the company changed from a loyalty program based on transactions to one based on dollars spent. That switch was designed to address lines at pay stations, where service was slowing because the prior set-up encouraged some customers to game the system by purchasing multiple items via multiple transactions rather than just one.
Stephens analyst Will Slabaugh expects Starbucks to work the kinks out of mobile ordering and pay, but remains concerned about the broader restaurant demand environment.
"This was one of the worst retailing months of December that we've ever seen," Slabaugh said.
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PayPal Has Been Talking With Amazon on Payments, CEO Says www.bloomberg.com

 
Amazon.com Inc. and PayPal Holdings Inc. have discussed letting shoppers pay for Amazon purchases using their PayPal accounts, highlighting how PayPal can attract new partners since its 2015 split from Amazon rival EBay Inc.
“We have been in conversations with Amazon,” PayPal Chief Executive Officer Dan Schulman said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg. “We’re closing in on 200 million users on our platform right now. At that scale, it’s hard for any retailer to think about not accepting PayPal.”
There are no details to announce, but Schulman said the conversations have focused on “how to use one another’s assets to the mutual benefit of our customers.”
A spokesman for Seattle-based Amazon declined to comment. PayPal stock pared its decline in extended trading by about 1.7 percent on the news.
PayPal separated from EBay -- Amazon’s onetime arch rival -- to concentrate on expanding its electronic transactions business without being shackled to the slow-growing online marketplace. Schulman, who became CEO after the split, has been forging agreements in an effort to increase the number of people using PayPal and the frequency with which they use it.
Amazon has its own payment ambitions and hired Patrick Gauthier from San Jose, California-based PayPal in 2015 to lead its initiative. Amazon is balancing its desire to control payments with its customer-centric philosophy, given PayPal’s reach. PayPal on Thursday reported 197 million active customer accounts in the fourth quarter, with 31 transactions per account in the trailing 12 months. Amazon shoppers have asked whether the company would accept PayPal in Amazon customer discussion forums.
Amazon revived its own payments business in 2013 by letting shoppers use Amazon accounts to make purchases with other online merchants.
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Vijay Mallya hits back at India’s $1.3bn debt claim www.ft.com

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Vijay Mallya has denied that he fled India leaving behind $1.3bn of unpaid loans, after Indian authorities this week charged the billionaire industrialist with criminal conspiracy, dishonesty and corruption in an effort to secure his extradition from the UK.

In a series of tweets late on Thursday night, Mr Mallya said that there was “no final judicial determination on what Kingfisher Airlines owes to banks and what I may owe in my personal capacity after trial”.

“Yet it is reported that I have fled or run away owing money to banks that I never even borrowed in the first place.”

India’s Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday filed charges against Mr Mallya, his now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, and nine other executives and bankers, alleging he dishonestly induced the delivery of property and illegally obtained pecuniary advantage — charges that can carry a sentence of up to seven years in prison.

The next day, the Securities and Exchange Board of India, India’s market regulator, barred Mr Mallya and six others from the stock market for allegedly diverting funds out of United Spirits, the liquor company he ran until last year.

Mr Mallya’s case is at the heart of a public controversy in India about the lifestyles enjoyed by big businesspeople. As an investigation by the authorities intensified last year, the tycoon left the country for the UK, where he has been since.

The charges come ahead of state assembly elections and are likely to be seen as an attempt to lessen public criticism of the ruling Bharatiya Janata party for not prosecuting the billionaire Mr Mallya.

Mr Mallya hit out at SEBI over its claims: “Allegations of fund diversion out of United Spirits are baseless. United Spirits accounts were approved by top auditors, an eminent Board of Directors and shareholders,” he said on Twitter.

 
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World Bank's a gold price bear www.mining.com

 
Gold dipped to a two-week low on Monday hurt by a stronger dollar and investors moving money into equities with major US stock markets continuing to trade at record levels.
Gold for delivery in February, the most active contract on the Comex market in New York, was exchanging hands at $1,187.20 in late afternoon dealings, trimming year-to-date gains for the metal to 3%.
The World Bank this week joined the chorus of gold bears forecasting a drop in the gold price to an average $1,150 an ounce in 2017 in its January Commodities Outlook. That compares to an average gold price of $1,247 an ounce last year, compared to 2015's average of $1,160, but nowhere near 2012's $1,689:
Precious metals prices are projected to fall 7 percent in 2017, mainly due to weak investment demand, prospects of a stronger dollar, and rising real interest rates.
Gold prices are expected to decline 8 percent on weak investment demand, while silver prices are expected to fall 4 percent. Platinum prices are projected to rise marginally on likely tightness in supply. Downside risks to the forecast are stronger economic growth and faster than expected increases in U.S. interest rates.
Upside risks include geopolitical tensions, stronger demand in China and India, delayed rates hikes, and mine supply shortfall.
In contrast, industrial metals producers can look forward to a bullish 2017 with prices projected to increase by 11% in 2017 "due to tightening markets for most metals, especially those facing imminent resource constraints":
The largest gains are expected in zinc (27 percent) and lead (18 percent) due to mine supply constraints brought on by permanent and discretionary closures. Double-digit gains are also expected for copper, nickel, and tin.
Upside risks to prices include stronger global demand, slower ramp-up of new capacity, tighter environmental constraints, and policy action that limits supply. Downside risks include slower demand in China and higher-than-expected production, including the restarting of idled capacity.
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China turns to blockchain to make markets clearer and cleaner www.reuters.com

 
Chinese banks are hiring blockchain experts as the government pushes use of the technology behind bitcoin to increase transparency and combat fraud in its financial sector.
Lenders have struggled for years with outdated and disparate technology. While four Chinese banks rank among the world's five largest by capital, many still use paper, faxes and traditional chop stamps to verify documents.
Now, spurred by regulators, they are looking to use blockchain to leapfrog a generation of technology and clean up the system, bankers and blockchain experts say.
Demand from Chinese banks for experience in blockchain more than doubled last year and will grow further this year, headhunters and blockchain professionals say, as lenders scramble to catch up with Western counterparts that have already invested $1.5 billion in the technology.
"Demand is increasing rapidly and shows no sign of slowing. We expect similar levels of year-on-year growth in 2017," said Simon Lance, managing director of executive search firm Hays in China, which is hiring for a number of Chinese banks.
Banks and headhunters are trawling Chinese universities for talent and luring tech start-up executives with 50 percent pay rises and salaries of up to 1.2 million yuan ($175,000).
Blockchain is a ledger system that processes, stores and tracks digital information, from crypto-currencies to loan agreements. Because blockchain documents all changes and is hard to tamper with, financial firms and regulators see it as a potential way to make transactions more transparent, auditable and secure.
Beijing wants banks to adopt the technology to help combat chronic fraud such as fake trade finance deals.
Banks including Ping An Bank (000001.SZ) and Bank of China (601988.SS) have unveiled blockchain investments and projects, and around ten banks are looking to hire some 30 blockchain professionals, said Steven Shen, a senior manager at executive search firm Robert Walters in Shanghai.
Six Chinese banks contacted by Reuters declined to comment.
Last year, multiple cases of fraud emerged in the archaic bills financing industry when it was found bills thought to have been kept in a safe were actually old newspapers, and the real documents had been used to raise margin financing.
According to business intelligence firm Kroll, 86 percent of companies surveyed in China reported fraud in 2016, four percentage points above the global average, and up 13 percent on 2015.
In October, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology identified blockchain as a fraud-fighting tool, and called on "every level of government" to encourage large firms to invest more in the technology.
The People's Bank of China, the top financial regulator, has also signaled support for blockchain, with the central bank's chief Zhou Xiaochuan telling local media last year it had spent "significant resources" researching the technology.
"China is really interested in blockchain," said Brian Behlendorf, executive director of the Hyperledger Project, one of the biggest global blockchain projects, and a former technology adviser to the White House. "They're looking at this as a leapfrog technology. Can you take a very backward, very paper based market, and reinvent that using blockchain?"
Banks are testing blockchain for know-your-client documentation, trade finance transactions, payments, and asset custody.
Over the past year, financial conglomerate Ping An has built a core blockchain team of around 35 people at group level to look at initiatives for asset registries, credit, payments and digital currencies, said Daniel Tu, group chief innovation officer at Ping An Insurance (601318.SS). If the projects are successful, Ping An subsidiaries will also assign full-time blockchain experts, he added.
Ye Xiaofeng, founder of blockchain start-up ZerOne.IO, said he was talking to two of China's four biggest banks looking to use blockchain for monitoring bills of exchange and credit tracking.
 
This means people with the skills to lead these projects are in demand.
 
"The market isn't lacking people who know how to design simple systems on blockchain, rather people who have a broader understanding of how to put blockchain to use," said Shen at Robert Walters, adding those individuals could command 50 percent pay rises when moving jobs.
 
A senior person with blockchain expertise and financial systems knowledge could expect a salary of between 600,000 yuan and 1.2 million yuan, he said, while a mid-level employee is paid 400,000-600,000 yuan.
 
Chinese banks are focused for now on hiring home-grown talent for language and cultural reasons, but increasing demand may force them to scout overseas, headhunters said.
 
HYPE CYCLE
 
About 80 percent of top global banks will have launched blockchain projects by next year, the World Economic Forum said in August, describing the technology as the future "beating heart" of the financial sector.
 
While China accounts for most of the global trading in the bitcoin crypto-currency, Chinese lenders lag Western rivals on blockchain adoption by up to 12 months, and are playing catch-up, industry insiders say.
 
China Minsheng Banking Corp (600016.SS), Ping An, China Merchants Bank (600036.SS) and the China Foreign Exchange Trade System last year joined R3, a U.S.-based blockchain consortium founded by nine global banks in 2014.
 
"They're still going through the hype cycle," said Tim Swanson, a director at R3, which is now backed by 75 financial institutions.
 
To be sure, many blockchain projects globally are still in their infancy, but the complexity of Chinese bank legacy systems could make it even tougher to apply the technology successfully, said Zennon Kapron, founder of market research firm Kapronasia.
 
"It's all nice you have a blockchain solution, but being able to integrate that back into your existing systems in a sensible way is where a lot of these organizations will be challenged."
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Alibaba's financial arm to acquire MoneyGram www.chinadaily.com.cn

 
HANGZHOU, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Ant Financial, e-commerce giant Alibaba's financial arm, announced late on Thursday that it has reached a deal to acquire U.S. money-transfer company MoneyGram for 880 million U.S. dollars.
"The acquisition of MoneyGram is a significant milestone in our mission to bring inclusive financial services to users around the world," said Eric Jing, chief executive officer of Ant Financial Services Group.
The company owns Alipay, one of China's biggest online payment platforms and controls the company that manages the country's largest money market fund, Yu'ebao.
The transaction will connect MoneyGram's money transfer network of 2.4 billion bank and mobile accounts and 350,000 physical locations with Ant Financial's users, according to the statement.
MoneyGram will remain headquartered in Dallas and continue to operate under its existing brand, it said.
The transaction will help expand Ant Financial's business following its partnering with Paytm in India and Ascend Money in Thailand, it said.
Alex Holmes, CEO of MoneyGram, said Ant Financial is an ideal partner. "We will be able to expand our business, and in doing so, offer people around the world access to a reliable financial connection to loved ones," Holmes said.
The transaction is subject to approval of MoneyGram's stockholders and regulatory approvals. The acquisitions is expected to finish in second half of 2017.
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