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



South Korea's Kia Motors drafts Trump contingency plan www.reuters.com

Kia Motors (000270.KS) said on Thursday it is drawing up a contingency plan to cope with the policies of U.S. President Donald Trump, reflecting growing wariness by Asian exporters about the prospect of U.S. protectionism.
Trump has promised to revive U.S. industrial jobs by forcing automakers to stop making cars in Mexico, threatening to tax imports and promising to make it more attractive for businesses to operate in the United States.
South Korea-based Kia Motors last year started production at a new plant in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, while sister firm Hyundai Motor (005380.KS) will begin making cars at Kia's Mexico plant this year.
"We acknowledge that there are a lot of concerns about the uncertainty stemming from the new U.S. administration," Han Chun-soo, Kia's chief financial officer, said during an earnings conference call.
"While closely monitoring its policy directions, we are preparing to respond by setting up a step-by-step, scenario-based contingency plan."
Trump has warned German carmakers and Japan's Toyota (7203.T) of a "big border tax" if they build cars for the U.S. market in Mexico. So far however he has not commented on the South Korean carmakers' plans.
Kia plans to more than double its Mexico output this year to 250,000 vehicles and aims to boost U.S. sales by 8 percent to 699,000 vehicles. Hyundai and Kia together rank fifth in global car sales.
Hyundai Motor on Wednesday said it expected competition and protectionist measures to increase, after posting its lowest quarterly profit in about five years.
Hyundai Motor group, which includes Kia, last week said it planned to lift U.S. investment by 50 percent to $3.1 billion over five years and could build a new plant there.
Kia on Thursday said it planned to launch a small sport utility vehicle in South Korea this year, in a bid to take advantage of a booming segment.
The model would be a "crossover utility vehicle (CUV)" based on its Pride sedan, also known as the Rio, the carmaker said without elaborating.
Kia Motors already sells a small SUV called Niro, a gasoline-electric hybrid model.
It also planned to introduce a small SUV in Europe this year, it added.


Investors pull most cash from U.S. stock funds since election: ICI www.reuters.com

Investors sold U.S.-based domestic stock funds at the fastest pace since equities leapt following the presidential election, Investment Company Institute data for the latest week showed on Wednesday.
Stock funds based and invested in the United States posted withdrawals of $3.7 billion during the week that ended Jan. 18, according to the trade group. That is the largest outflow for the funds since the election-week period ended Nov. 9, when outflows approached $6.4 billion.
President Donald Trump was sworn into office last Friday. He and his Republican party, which controls Congress, have touted potential new economic stimulus measures, such as tax cuts.
Those efforts could propel stocks, and investors on Wednesday lifted the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI above the symbolic 20,000 threshold for the first time.
But domestic equity fund sales have taken a pause since they totaled $23 billion in November as investors take stock of an unformed policy agenda.
Meanwhile, taxable bond funds added $3.5 billion in their seventh straight week netting cash. Including municipal bonds, U.S.-based bond funds took in $4.7 billion altogether during the week, ICI said.
U.S.-based fixed-income funds lost $13 billion to withdrawals in November as stimulus policies raised the prospect of bond-harming inflation. Yet bond funds have continued to attract money since then.
Commodity funds, included those that buy gold, netted their first week of cash in 10, attracting $231 million, the data showed.


J&J to buy Actelion for $30 billion www.reuters.com

Swiss biotech company Actelion (ATLN.S) said on Thursday it had agreed to be purchased by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) in a $30 billion deal.
The all-cash offer, to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Actelion for $280 per share, payable in U.S. dollars, was unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies, Actelion and Johnson & Johnson said in a joint statement.


Invaluable clean air www.mongolia.gogo.mn

It has been officially acknowledged that air pollution in Ulaanbaatar has reached disaster levels. Some were under the impression that the level of toxins decreased, but on the contrary, wintertime pollution in the capital is suffocating is citizens now more than ever.
The public has united in the fight against air pollution for the first time, as the people realise that our right to live in a healthy and safe environment is being violated. Authorities have taken the issue into account and have made some decisive moves.
The Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism in cooperation with the Ulaanbaatar City Mayor's Office organised a technology exhibition named "Your involvement in reducing air pollution" at the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the 9th-10th of Jan in relation to this winter's hottest topic.
More than 50 enterprises participated in this exhibition and a variety of products were showcased, starting from equipment that reduces vehicle fuel consumption and gas emissions, to traditional water heaters, electric floor heaters, briquette, exhaust filters, Mongolian ger heating curtain and gas heaters.
At this crowded exhibition, a piece of technology that does not use solid fuel and is affordable for the average family caught my eye. Coal in small green sacks sold for MNT 3,000 is the main contributor to Ulaanbaatar's air pollution; hence, if air pollution is related to poverty, can be solved using technology?
Almost 40 companies that participated in the exhibition were offering electric heating. A common heater which does not require additional costs other than purchase and installation costs around MNT 600,000 and can fully heat a five-walled ger regardless of gas or electricity utilisation.
Floor heaters cost approximately MNT 60,000 per square metre. In addition to that, some additional costs will be incurred in choosing the right flooring materials and installation. It would cost MNT 2.3 million for an exhaust filter that neutralises toxic substances in smoke if you decide not to change out a traditional fire stove.
The salesmen said monthly electricity costs of a household becomes MNT 50-60,000 at the minimum depending on the type of electric heater. The monthly costs for gas heating are also about the same. Although the cost is lower than MNT 3,000 per day for coal, how much electricity you use or gas you purchase depends on the amount heat loss from your home. The above numbers are estimates that calculated heat loss at a minimum.
The reality is that people without the financial means to purchase 1.5 tonnes of coal for MNT 150,000 are purchasing small sacks of coal in order to have some money left to buy food. There are those who cannot even buy coal by the small sacks and turn to burning tyres, sacks and old jeans.
The majority of the people who came to the exhibition were interested in heating solutions for summer camps, garages, cellars and small storage units. The best-selling product here was oil that reduces vehicle fuel consumption.
Since the population of the capital has already reached 1.3 million, limiting rural-to- urban migration and subsidising night time electricity tariffs is not likely to be a full solution. Even though the "Khas" and "Ulzii" stoves which were provided to ger district residents showed no visible results, policies and programmes to supply technology that can replace ger district homes’ exhaust pipes are required.


Brexit economy: weak pound stokes inflation as jobs market cools www.theguardian.com

The pressure on the pound from Britain’s vote to leave the EU is stoking inflation, denting household finances and putting a brake on spending, according to a Guardian analysis.
Official figures this week are expected to confirm the economy enjoyed a strong finish to 2016 as companies and consumers continued to shrug off the shock of the Brexit vote. But signs of a spending slowdown, corporate jitters around the triggering of article 50 and rising prices point to a more challenging growth outlook in 2017.
Seven months on from the referendum, the Guardian’s monthly tracker of economic news shows the weaker pound is being felt in the real economy more keenly than ever, as it raises the cost of imports such as energy and food and that gets passed on to consumers as higher prices in the shops.
To gauge the impact of the Brexit vote on a monthly basis, the Guardian has chosen eight economic indicators, along with the value of the pound and the performance of the FTSE.
The dashboard for January shows a worse than expected performance in four of the eight categories. Two were better than expected and unemployment was as expected. Inflation was higher than economists had forecast, hitting its highest level for more than two years in December.
Writing in the Guardian, a former member of the Bank’s monetary policy committee (MPC), Andrew Sentance, said two factors pointed to economic growth losing momentum: a slowdown in employment and rising inflation.
“For now, consumer spending and strong global growth are supporting the UK economy – and we have yet to see the negative impact on investment which many forecasters are expecting in 2017,” said Sentance, a senior economic adviser at the consultancy PwC.
“But the signals from the labour market are consistent with slower economic growth this year driven by heightened uncertainty following the Brexit vote. In 2017 and 2018, we should expect to see economic growth of close to 1.5%, below the 2% which the UK has achieved over the seven years of recovery so far.”
Among the more downbeat measures in the latest dashboard, the housing market lost momentum at the close of 2016, with property price gains easing and fewer sales. The UK’s trade position deteriorated further on the latest official measures as a jump in imports eclipsed a pick-up in exports. And in a worrying omen for an economy reliant on consumer spending, retail sales fell over the crucial Christmas period.
The public finances were in a slightly worse state than expected for December, but revisions to November figures improved the government’s chances of meeting its borrowing target for the full year.
On a brighter note, surveys from the manufacturing, construction and services sectors signal they all managed to expand again in December, beating economists’ forecasts and boding well for official GDP figures due on Thursday. That first snapshot of fourth-quarter economic growth is expected to show the economy expanded by 0.5%, almost matching the third quarter’s robust growth of 0.6%.
In the jobs market, unemployment remains low and wage growth is outpacing inflation, for now. But in a sign firms are growing more wary of hiring new staff, the number of people in employment has dropped and experts warn that firms’ rising costs will limit their ability and willingness to award pay rises this year.
It remains to be seen whether December’s unexpected drop in retail volumes will prove to be a blip or evidence of a squeeze on consumers. Publishing the sales figures, the Office for National Statistics warned against reading too much into one month alone. It instead highlighted quarterly data showing retail sales grew in the final three months of 2016. Reports on Christmas trading from retailers themselves meanwhile were largely positive, with some noting an early boost in November from Black Friday sales events.
But as inflation starts to bite and the jobs market shows signs of cooling, economists warn household budgets will deteriorate this year and retailers will struggle to keep sales rising. The industry itself is cautious in its outlook, with the British Retail Consortium flagging “growing inflationary pressures and persisting economic and political uncertainty”.
The Bank of England governor said this month that consumers appeared to have looked through Brexit worries to carry on spending. But in his first speech of 2017, Mark Carney also highlighted that the brisk pace of spending had been accompanied by a rise in household borrowing.
The Bank, which presents its latest outlook for the economy next week, expects pressures on consumers to rise further this year as a weak currency stokes inflation. The pound’s sharp moves over the last month have underscored its vulnerability to government announcements on the Brexit process. Sterling skidded to a three-month low against the dollar before Theresa May’s key Brexit speech as news leaked out that she would take the UK out of Europe’s single market. It then recovered as she confirmed any deal would be put to a vote but fell on this week’s supreme court ruling that MPs and peers must give their consent before the government can trigger article 50 and formally initiate Brexit.
David Blanchflower, also a former member of the MPC, said the pound was being buffeted by politics.
“The pound has been responsive to the May government’s many self-inflicted wounds,” said Blanchflower, professor of economics at Dartmouth College in the US.
“The pound moves down every time the prospect of a cliff-edge Brexit rears its ugly head. It strengthens on the possibility that the economic Neanderthals are not going to have their way.”
On stock markets, the pound’s loss has been the FTSE 100’s gain as the index continues to be flattered by a weak currency. The index hit a fresh record peak earlier this month and broke a near 20-year record for its longest run of closing highs. The drop in the pound has boosted the earnings of many of the companies in the FTSE 100 that report in dollars and it is up 13% since the 23 June referendum.


RBS bank to set aside another £3bn for fines www.bbc.com

Royal Bank of Scotland will take another financial hit when it sets aside a further $4bn (£3bn) for fines.
As early as Thursday morning it will announce it has now put nearly $10bn in the kitty to pay a monster fine from the US Department of Justice.
It relates to the bank's role in the selling of risky mortgages - the so called subprime crisis - which was at the epicentre of the financial crisis.
This will plunge RBS, 72% owned by the taxpayer, further into the red.
It will make 2016 the ninth year in a row that RBS has lost money.
To be clear, this is not unexpected, nor is it a final settlement. The urgency to settle once and for all which existed around the beginning of this month (before the change of the guard in the US administration with a Trump presidency) has eased as a new administration and a new attorney general are now in place.
Guesses on the final bill from the US vary widely from $12bn-$20bn. If this $10bn did prove to be enough for the final bill, that would be considered a good result.
It remains to be seen whether the new US administration takes a tougher or more lenient approach to misconduct by European banks.
'Big bumps'
Barclays recently walked away from negotiations, preferring to fight the top US lawman in court, rather than pay what the bank considered a fine that was disproportionate to its involvement in the subprime market.
For RBS it is yet another of the "big bumps in the road" that chief executive Ross McEwan has previously warned lie between the RBS of the last nine years and the RBS he hopes it will one day be. Exclude the fines, and RBS is churning out a £1bn profit every three months.
But the sins of the past are grave, as are the penalties. The bank has paid well over £50bn worth since the financial crisis - more than the £45bn the UK taxpayer put in way back when.
RBS and the taxpayer will hope that as painful as this is, it is one step closer to the light at the end of the tunnel.


Dow Jones Industrial Average hits 20,000 for first time ever www.rt.com

The US premier stock index the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit the 20,000 point milestone for the first time on hopes US President Donald Trump’s administration will boost infrastructure spending.
The index came close to reaching the historical high on January 6, as investors were inspired by pro-growth policies and tax cuts from Trump.
"A seminal moment. It is just a number but it is a big number, it is certainly a flashy number," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York, as quoted by Reuters.
"There is a real belief that Trump is real, he has been extremely active these first couple of days of the presidency and a change may happen faster than people had thought," he added.
The new record sees the Dow up 1,667 points since Trump's victory in November. Wall Street expects President Trump to slash taxes, boost investment in US industry and cut regulation.
The surge in US stocks was preceded by Trump’s signing of two executive orders to back the construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, rolling back President Barack Obama’s pivot to renewable energy.
"It's time dust off those Dow 20k hats again, because the Trump rally is well and truly back on," said Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital before the opening bell.
"We are clearly seeing a pro-business administration that is minded to action," Wilson added.


Trump tells biggest US automakers to bring production back to America www.rt.com

US President Donald Trump has met the chief executives of the big three American car producers - General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler – to urge them to build more cars and create more jobs in the country.
Trump, who has threatened the automakers with a 35 percent tariff on cars produced outside the US, held a meeting at the White House with General Motors’ Mary Barra, Ford Motor’s Mark Fields, and Fiat Chrysler’s Sergio Marchionne.
"We have a very big push on to have auto plants and other plants," Trump told reporters at the start of the meeting.
Tuesday was Trump's first chance to meet executives face-to-face to urge them to support his "buy American, hire American" policy. It was also the first time since 2011 the CEOs of the big three jointly met with a US president.
Earlier this month, Ford announced it was canceling plans to build a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico. GM announced an additional $1 billion investment in US plants in 2017, while Fiat Chrysler said it’s investing $1 billion in two existing US plants and creating 2,000 jobs.
The companies’ shares surged in New York after the meeting, with GM finishing the trading day with a 0.95 gain, Ford was up 2.44 percent, and Fiat Chrysler stock jumped 5.84 percent.
Trump promised to revive the US manufacturing sector on the campaign trail. Last year, there were 12.3 million manufacturing jobs in the US, down from 19 million in 1980.
In return, Trump has pledged to cut regulations and taxes to make it more attractive for companies to work in the US.


Eurozone economy starts 2017 with robust growth pace www.xinhuanet.com.cn

BRUSSELS, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- The 19-country eurozone started the year with robust economic growth pace as new business orders helped labor markets gain momentum, a survey said.
But intensified inflationary pressures and growing political uncertainties were expected to weigh on, according to the survey.
The expansion was signalled by flask IHS Markit Eurozone Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) Composite Output, which registered 54.3 in January, one of the highest readings seen over the past five-and-a-half years.
The index reading above 50 indicates an expansion, while one below that level points to a contraction.
The January figure stood slightly down from the 54.4 in December but still suggested steady expansion, boosted by rising exports linked in many cases to euros' recent depreciation.
The start of the year also saw the largest monthly rise in employment since February 2008. Hiring gained momentum in both services and manufacturing on the back of sustained growth of new orders.
Business activity growth slowed in the bloc's powerhouse Germany but remained above the eurozone average. France, the second largest economy in the single currency area, saw the fastest growth pace since June 2011, according to Markit.
However, economists cautioned that price hiking would take the toll in the foreseeable future.
Inflationary pressures intensified further in January. Firms' average input costs rose at the fastest rate since May 2011, with rates of increase accelerating in both services and manufacturing.
"With costs rising steeply due to higher commodity prices and the weak euro, while selling price growth remains subdued, margins are being squeezed to the greatest extent for over five years," said Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit.
Meanwhile, concerns were raised as Europe is experiencing a surge in populism and eurosceptic across the continent. The protectionist sentiment was expected to grow as Brexit negotiation is scheduled to embark on in March and elections are due this year in France, Germany and the Netherlands.
The political risks were as well fueled by newly sworn-in United States President Donald Trump, who signed executive orders to withdraw from a flagship trade deal with countries in the Pacific rim.
The move would raise fears in the bloc that the landmark Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which is being negotiated by Brussels and Washington, will be put on edge due to Trump's resistance.
"As headline inflation rises and political uncertainty damages investment, we still see growth slowing somewhat this year," said Jennifer McKeown, chief European economist at the Capital Economics.


Japan gets first sumo champion in 19 years www.bbc.com

Japan has formally named its first home-grown sumo grand champion in almost two decades, in a boost to the traditional wrestling sport.
Kisenosato, 30, was promoted to the top-most yokozuna rank after his win in the first tournament of the year.
He is the first Japanese-born wrestler to make it since Wakanohana in 1998. Five wrestlers from American Samoa and Mongolia have made it in the interim.
Foreign wrestlers have come to dominate sumo, amid a lack of local recruits.
Kisenosato, who comes from Ibaraki to the north of Tokyo and weighs 178kg (392 pounds), has been an ozeki - the second-highest rank - since 2012.
After being runner-up on multiple occasions, he finally clinched his first tournament victory - and thereby his promotion to yokozuna - in the first competition of 2017.
"I accept with all humility," Kisenosato said in a press conference after the Japan Sumo Association formally approved him.
"I will devote myself to the role and try not to disgrace the title of yokozuna."

Japan's much-loved traditional sport dates back hundreds of years.
Two wrestlers face off in an elevated circular ring and try to push each other to the ground or out of the ring.
There are six tournaments each year in which each wrestler fights 15 bouts.
Wrestlers, who traditionally go by one fighting name, are ranked and the ultimate goal is to become a yokozuna.
Many Japanese fans will be pleased to see a local wrestler back at the top of a sport regarded as a cultural icon.
As yokuzuna, Kisenosato, whose real name is whose real name is Yutaka Hagiwara, joins three other wrestlers in sumo's ultimate rank - Hakuho, Harumafuji and Kakuryu.
The trio all come from Mongolia, following a path forged by sumo bad-boy Asashoryu, who was Mongolia's first yokozuna in 2003.
The last Japanese-born wrestlers to reach the top were brothers Takanohana and Wakanohana, who made it to yokozuna in 1994 and 1998 respectively.
In recent years, sumo has been hit by falling numbers of Japanese recruits, partly because it is seen as a tough, highly regimented life.
Young sumo wrestlers train in tightly-knit "stables" where they eat, sleep and practise together and are sometimes subjected to harsh treatment in the belief that it will toughen them up.
In 2009, a leading coach was jailed for six years for ordering wrestlers to beat a young trainee who later died, in a case that shocked the nation.
Those at the top of Japan's national sport are also expected to be role models, showing honour and humility - and can be criticised if they get it wrong.

Sumo must also compete with the rising popularity of football and baseball, which have vibrant leagues that draw crowds of young Japanese fans.
But the sport is attractive to wrestlers from other nations, who can earn a good living. Wrestlers have come from Estonia, Bulgaria, Georgia, China, Hawaii and Egypt, as well as Mongolia and American Samoa.
As a child, Kisenosato was a pitcher in his school's baseball club before he chose to train as a wrestler at a stable in Tokyo.
He made his debut in 2002 and, reported Japan's Mainichi newspaper, the 73 tournaments he took to become a yokozuna are the most by any wrestler since 1926.
Speaking to reporters after the tournament victory on Monday that sealed his elevation, Kisenosato said he was pleased to be holding the Emperor's Cup trophy at last.
"I've finally got my hands on it and the sense of pleasure hasn't changed," he said. "It's hard to put into words but it has a nice weight to it."