1 FOREIGN RELATIONS OF MONGOLIA’S ROAD TRANSPORT SECTOR BROADENING WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2019/02/21      2 MONGOLIA EXPRESSES READINESS TO CONTRIBUTE TO STRENGTHENING ASIA-EUROPE COOPERATION WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2019/02/21      3 OYU TOLGOI FUNDED 35.1 KM ROAD OPENS IN KHANBOGD WWW.GOGO.MN PUBLISHED:2019/02/21      4 POLYMER BITUMEN TO BE DOMESTICALLY PRODUCED WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2019/02/21      5 KHURELBAATAR CHIMED: 319 ENTITIES DREW LOANS FROM TWO FUNDS WWW.ZGM.MN PUBLISHED:2019/02/21      6 CONSTRUCTION OF TAVANTOLGOI-GASHUUNSUKHAIT ROAD TO BE INTENSIFIED WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2019/02/20      7 OVER 30 MEASURES PLANNED FOR REDUCTION OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION WWW.MONTSAME.MN PUBLISHED:2019/02/20      8 MONGOLIA SAYS IT EARNS OVER 169 MLN USD FROM COAL EXPORTS TO CHINA IN JAN WWW.HELLENICSHIPPINGNEWS.COM  PUBLISHED:2019/02/20      9 RUSSIA’S GAZPROM TO START CHINA GAS PIPELINE BY DECEMBER 1 WWW.RT.COM PUBLISHED:2019/02/20      10 MONGOLIA'S FOREIGN TRADE UP 41.6 PCT IN JAN. WWW.XINHUANET.COM PUBLISHED:2019/02/20      УГСАРМАЛ ОРОН СУУЦНЫ ДУЛААЛГАД ЗОРИУЛЖ 12.7 ТЭРБУМ ТӨГРӨГИЙГ УЛСЫН ТӨСВӨӨС ГАРГАХААР БОЛЖЭЭ WWW.IKON.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2019/02/21     2018ОНД ЦАГААН БУДАА , ЭЛСЭН ЧИХЭР , ТАХИАНЫ МАХНЫ ИМПОРТ 24-32 ХУВИАР ӨСЖЭЭ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN  НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2019/02/21     ДЦС IV: 2018 ОНД НИЙТ АШИГ 4.7 ДАХИН ӨСӨЖ , 4.48 ТЭРБУМ ТӨГРӨГ БОЛСОН WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN  НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2019/02/21     ТУСГАЙ САНГУУДААС ГАРГАСАН ЗЭЭЛИЙН 100 ОРЧИМ ТЭРБУМ ТӨГРӨГ ХУГАЦАА ХЭТЭРСЭН ӨР БОЛЖЭЭ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN  НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2019/02/21     МОНГОЛ УЛСЫН БОРЛУУЛАЛТЫН МЕНЕЖЕРҮҮДИЙН ИНДЕКС СҮҮЛИЙН 12 САРД АНХ УДАА УНАЛТЫН БҮСЭД ШИЛЖИВ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2019/02/21     2018 ОНД ХАМГИЙН ЧИНЭЭЛЭГ БҮЛГИЙН ХЭРЭГЛЭЭ ЯДУУ БҮЛГИЙНХНЭЭС 5.1 ДАХИН ИХ БАЙВ WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2019/02/21     ХОВД ГОЛД ОСОЛДСОН 6 НАСТАЙ ХҮҮХДИЙН ЭРЛИЙГ ЗОГСООЛОО WWW.MONTSAME.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2019/02/21     ДБНХ-НООС П.ОРХОНЫ БАРИЛДАХ ЭРХИЙГ 4 ЖИЛЭЭР ХАСАВ WWW.MONTSAME.MN  НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2019/02/21     УУХҮЯ: II САРЫН БАЙДЛААР НИЙТ НУТАГ ДЭВСГЭРИЙН 5.6 ХУВЬД АШИГТ МАЛТМАЛЫН ЛИЦЕНЗ ОЛГОСОН WWW.BLOOMBERGTV.MN  НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2019/02/20     300 ОРТОЙ ТӨРӨХ ЭМНЭЛГИЙН БАРИЛГЫН АЖИЛ 80%-Д ХҮРЧ ГУРАВДУГААР САРЫН 1-НЭЭС ДУЛААНД ХОЛБОГДОХООР БОЛЖЭЭ WWW.IKON.MN НИЙТЭЛСЭН:2019/02/20    

Events

Name organizer Where
“Doing business with Mongolia”, “UK Investors show” бизнес хөтөлбөр March 27-April 02. 2019 ЛОНДОН ХОТ, ИХ БРИТАНИ Mongolian Business Database London UK
SYMPOSIUM ON GLOBAL MARKETS Nationalism and Protectionism: The United States in the International Arena June 17-18, 2019 The Center for American and International Law Plano, Texas, USA The Center for American and International Law (CAILAW) Plano Texas June 17-18 2019
"Open to Export" ICC WTO International business award ICC WTO London

NEWS

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Mongolia's debt exchange marks stunning turnaround www.kitco.com

By Daniel Stanton

SINGAPORE, March 6 (IFR) - Mongolia completed a stunning turnaround in the global capital markets last week, pricing part of a $600 million sovereign bond more than 300 basis points (bps) inside a shorter issue sold less than a year ago.

Not only that, but the country managed to reward bondholders who had shown loyalty throughout a period of uncertainty, giving them a healthy one-day gain, on paper, of 7.5 points.

After signing a new funding agreement with the International Monetary Fund, the sovereign completed an exchange offer for its state-guaranteed Development Bank of Mongolia bonds due on Mar. 21, as well as offering a new money tranche to other investors to round up the deal size.

Holders of 82 percent of the S$580 million DBM bonds agreed to exchange into new sovereign seven-year notes at par. The yield for the new notes was set at 8.75 percent, the minimum shown in the Feb. 24 guidance.

That accounted for $475.989 million of the new issue size. The remaining $124.011 million was marketed to other investors to raise new money. Guidance started at 8.25 percent area, before tightening to 7.7 percent, plus or minus 12.5 bps, and eventually printing at a cash price of 106.016 to yield 7.625 percent.

That meant the new-money tranche priced more than 100 bps inside the exchange tranche. Some questioned if the exchange could have been priced at a lower yield, but the main objective of the whole exercise was to achieve the highest possible exchange rate ahead of the DBM maturity, as well as rewarding existing bondholders. Mongolia's outstanding 2021 bonds were seen at around 6.98 percent, implying a fair value of around 8% for a seven-year issue.

The new notes are rated B-/B- (S&P/Fitch). Moody's has a Caa1 rating on Mongolia, but did not rate the new issue. HUGE IMPROVEMENT The final pricing was a huge improvement from March last year, when the Government of Mongolia sold a $500 million five-year at par to yield 10.875 percent, the highest yield on any sovereign bonds since 2011. Orders for that deal were a modest $750 million.

More than 200 accounts placed orders totalling $3.3 billion for the new $124 million tranche and, apart from the small allocations, investors had nothing to complain about when the bonds shot up to a cash price of 107.5 the next day.

"It was like trying to drive a truck through a pinhole," said a source close to the deal.

Undoubtedly, the size could have been increased, but the issuer showed prudence, given that it has just entered an IMF programme and was focused on dealing with the short-term maturity.

The existing DBM bonds were issued under Reg S only, so the new sovereigns were marketed under 144A/Reg S and allocations were weighted towards U.S. investors to ensure the broadest investor diversification.

U.S. investors took 76 percent of the new-money tranche, with European accounts next on 18 percent and Asian investors on 6 percent. Fund managers bought 90 percent of the notes, public institutions bought 7 percent, insurers and banks bought a combined 2 percent, and others bought 1 percent.

The seven-year tenor was chosen to avoid clashing with Mongolia's other existing dollar maturities, in 2018, 2021 and 2022. The next challenge will be to refinance a $500 million sovereign bond due on Jan. 5, 2018.

DBM's 2017s had traded at a cash price as low as 90 in February last year, but the agreement last month of a $5.5 billion funding deal with the IMF and other agencies, as well as the extension of a 15 billion yuan ($2.2 billion) swap line with the People's Bank of China for another three years, has helped assuage investors' concerns, at least in the medium term.

"Mongolia has a lot of potential, but it is monolithic and commodity heavy, so the challenge for the country is to diversify into other industries," said a fund manager.

Credit Suisse and JP Morgan were joint bookrunners for the transaction. SC Lowy was financial adviser to the Mongolian government.

(Reporting by Daniel Stanton; Editing by Steve Garton and Vincent Baby)

 
 
 
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GM set to announce Opel and Vauxhall sale on Monday www.bbc.com

General Motors is set to announce a deal to sell its Vauxhall and Opel operations to the French company that owns Peugeot and Citroen.
PSA Group has scheduled a press conference with GM for Monday morning in Paris.
The two companies had wanted to announce a deal before the start of the Geneva motor show on Tuesday.
The sale could threaten the jobs of 4,500 workers at Vauxhall's plants at Ellesmere Port and Luton.
Union officials said on Sunday that Vauxhall staff had endured a "nerve-wracking" few weeks.
Buying GM's loss-making European operations will make PSA the continent's second-biggest car maker after Volkswagen and ahead of French rival Renault.
PSA and GM Europe sold a combined 4.3 million vehicles last year and posted revenues of 71.6bn euros (£61.9bn).
The two companies already share some production and confirmed last month they were in talks.
Opel had hoped to return to profitability by 2016, but the slide in sterling following the EU referendum last June contributed to its 257m euros annual loss.

Opel has failed to emulate Ford or PSA in reducing overcapacity at its factories, despite closing a plant in the western German city of Bochum with the loss of 3,000 jobs in 2014.
Stefan Bratzel, of Germany's Center of Automotive Management, said: "Opel suffers more from overcapacity than other European carmakers, meaning it has to offer big discounts to keep up a certain level of production and that hits its profitability."
In a bid to protect its Buick and Chevrolet brands, GM has not allowed Opel to expand outside Europe.
"All the western carmakers have been making their money in the Chinese market these past few years," said Marc Staudenmayer of the Advancy management consultancy.
"Opel wasn't allowed to do that, which explains its underperformance since 2005. Opel was reined in too much by GM," he added.
European champion
GM's European operations have lost money for 16 consecutive years and were almost sold in 2009.
For PSA, the deal caps a stellar two-year recovery under chief executive Carlos Tavares, who is expected to slash costs at Opel in a bid to generate savings of up to 2bn euros a year.

Jim Holder, of What Car? magazine, told the BBC: "PSA has capacity to build more cars in its own plants - it doesn't need these plants in Britain.
"And of course there are obstacles in the way, with the currency fluctuations, the problems posed by Brexit with freedom of movement, freedom of movement for parts as well."
Len McCluskey, general secretary of the Unite trade union, said he had spoken to the chief executives of GM and the PSA Group over the weekend.
"While initial discussions with the PSA Group have been relatively positive, our priority now is to ensure a long-term future for our plants and the tens of thousands of workers depending on them," Mr McCluskey added.
Greg Clark, the Business Secretary, said last month that Vauxhall workers had no reason to fear for their jobs.
"We have a very strong domestic market and Vauxhall has a large share of that - something PSA recognises," he told MPs.
"From my initial conversations I think it is understood that Vauxhall's plants are very efficient."
Mr Tavares recently told analysts the acquisition offered an "opportunity to create a European car champion" and quickly exceed five million sales annually.
PSA also plans to revamp Opel's model range. "There are market segments where Opel isn't very strong, like SUVs," Mr Staudenmayer said.

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Japanese IT firms offer more childcare support www3.nhk.or.jp

 
Major Japanese IT firms are providing more support for employees who are raising young children.
 
Online mall operator Rakuten plans to expand a daycare center at its headquarters to accommodate 60 children in April. It had 20 places when it opened 2 years ago.
 
The center has English-speaking childcare workers because Rakuten has many foreign employees.
 
Managing Executive Officer Akio Sugihara says the company wants to help people to raise children without giving up their careers.
 
Portal site operator Yahoo Japan plans to allow staff who are raising children or providing nursing care for their relatives to take 3 days off a week.
Another IT firm, CyberAgent, has started a subsidy program for employees who send their children to unauthorized daycare facilities, which charge higher fees than authorized ones.
 
CyberAgent official Yukiko Tamura says those who apply for the subsidy say they were able to return to work thanks to the program.
 
The employees of the 3 firms have an average age of 32 to 36.
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12 provincial regions vow to reduce excess coal production www.chinadaily.com.cn

 
A total of 12 provincial regions have unveiled targets to cut excess coal capacity in 2017, with Shanxi, Henan and Guizhou pleading the biggest reductions, China Securities Journal reported.
 
Both Shanxi and Henan provinces plan to reduce coal output by 20 million tons this year, while Guizhou vows to cut production capacity by 15 million tons. The remaining regions' goals all stand below 8 million tons, the newspaper said.
 
China will reduce steel production capacity this year by around 50 million tons and shut down at least 150 million tons of coal production facilities, Premier Li Keqiang said Sunday in the Government Work Report at the fifth session of the 12th National People's Congress.
 
At the same time, the government will suspend or eliminate no less than 50 million kilowatts of coal-fired power generation capacity.
 
The government pledges to make more use of market- and law-based methods to address the problems of "zombie enterprises," encourage enterprise mergers, restructuring, and bankruptcy liquidations, and shut down all outdated production facilities that fail to meet standards.
 
In 2016, the country reduced coal capacity by 290 million tons and steel capacity by 65 million tons, said the premier.
 
China will face a tough year to cut coal capacity in 2017, said Jiang Zhimin, vice-head of China National Coal Association. Last year, some of the coal mines involved in capacity cut were already idle or operating at half capacity, so it's easy to achieve the goal. However, the coal mines involved this year are all running at normal capacity, said Jiang.
 
Furthermore, the resettlement of laid-off workers will be a difficult task for the government, Jiang added.
 
The country will shut down 500 million tons of coal capacity and consolidate another 500 million tons into the hands of fewer but more efficient mine operators in the next three to five years, according to a guideline issued by the State Council.
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Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management confirm merger talks www.theguardian.com

 
Hundreds of jobs could be cut if an £11bn merger of two of Scotland’s biggest companies – Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management – goes ahead.
 
Talks between the companies about a merger were revealed at the weekend and a tie-up could be confirmed as soon as Monday, creating the second biggest fund manager in Europe and the largest in the UK.
 
In a joint statement confirming the talks, the financial companies said the tie-up would boost profits by creating significant synergies and cost savings. Most of the cost savings are expected to come from eliminating any overlap of back-office operations – such as IT – by cutting jobs and closing offices. Sky News, which revealed the potential merger, reported that the companies could look to cut as much as £200m in annual costs.
 
Standard Life employs 6,300 people worldwide, including 5,500 in the UK, while Aberdeen has 2,800 employees, including 1,500 in the UK.
 
Sources close to the deal insisted at the weekend that Standard Life and Aberdeen were looking to merge in order to grow, not shrink, and create a flagship business for Scotland. They said that job losses could be offset by new opportunities created by the expansion of the enlarged company. Standard Life and Aberdeen are understood to have already held talks with the Scottish government about the proposed deal.
 
The two companies are exploring an all-share merger that would create a business overseeing pensions and savings worth £660bn. They hope to create an investment group with the clout to take on US giants such as BlackRock and Vanguard.
 
Standard Life shareholders would own 66.7% of the combined company while Aberdeen shareholders would get 33.3%.
 
The two companies claim the deal would create an investment group with strong brands and offers customers more choice. Standard Life and Aberdeen have reiterated their commitment to active management – where fund managers actively pick stocks and bonds. Active management has come under pressure from the growing popularity of cheaper index-tracking funds and an increase in costs caused by the introduction of stricter regulatory rules since the financial crisis
 
Faced with the same pressures, UK rival Henderson Global Investors recently agreed to take over Denver-based firm Janus Capital, creating a fund house with assets of more than $320bn (£260bn). Analysts expect middle and back-office roles to be cut as a result of the deal, but a number of senior investment managers have left Henderson amid concerns over cultural differences between the two firms.
 
Cultural differences will be less of an issue for two Scottish businesses, but any office closures and job losses will trigger concerns north of the border. Standard Life employs 5,000 people in Scotland, mostly at its head office in Edinburgh, while Aberdeen says just under half of its 1,500 UK workforce is based in Scotland.
 
Standard Life also has a customer service office in Glasgow with 200 people and another office in London in the Gherkin skyscraper, while its rival is based in Aberdeen and has offices in Edinburgh, London, Bristol and Jersey.
 
The combined group would be run by co-chief executives – Standard Life boss Keith Skeoch and his counterpart at Aberdeen Martin Gilbert. The Standard Life chairman Sir Gerry Grimstone would chair the new board, while Aberdeen’s chairman Simon Troughton would become deputy chairman.
 
It is likely to be based in Edinburgh and one name being considered for the enlarged company is Standard Aberdeen, although this is yet to be confirmed.
 
Under the terms of the deal, Aberdeen shareholders would receive 0.757 new Standard Life shares for each Aberdeen share. The planned tie-up would need to be approved by the shareholders of both companies – who have reacted positively so far – and competition authorities.
 
Gilbert has been on the lookout for a deal for Aberdeen for some time. The company suffered outflows of £10.5bn from its funds in the final three months of last year, taking its total assets to £302.7bn. Gilbert said “investor sentiment stalled” following Donald Trump’s election as US president. Aberdeen specialises in emerging markets and has struggled since investor interest cooled in recent years, prompting Gilbert to freeze salaries and cut other costs.
 
Standard Life has fared better, and recently posted a 9% rise in operating profit before tax to £723m for 2016. The Brexit vote in June “triggered very substantial [fund] outflows for the industry”, Skeoch said, but the impact on Standard Life was modest. Its assets increased 16% to £357.1bn over the year. However, its flagship investment fund, Global Asset Return Strategies, suffered as investors pulled out £4.3bn.
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South Korea's Lotte says 4 retail stores in China closed amid political tension www.reuters.com

South Korea's Lotte Group said on Monday four of its retail stores in China were closed after inspections by authorities, as Seoul protests at discriminating action by China after Lotte agreed to provide land for a U.S. missile defense system.

China is the biggest overseas market for Lotte Group, South Korea's No.5 conglomerate, generating annual sales of a little more than 3 trillion Korean won ($2.60 billion) in 2015.

A Lotte Mart spokesman said the four stores, in Dandong, Changzhou and two other locations, were closed last week after the inspections, but could not provide further details. Lotte Mart had about 115 stores in China by January.

The retail closures came after affiliate Lotte International Co Ltd approved a South Korean land swap last week to allow the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, which is being installed in response to North Korea's missile threat.

South Korea's military said earlier on Monday North Korea fired "multiple ballistic missiles" from its Tongchang-ri region, where a missile base is located.

South Korea's acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn said on Monday Seoul should swiftly complete the THAAD deployment after the launch of the missiles.

China has objected to the deployment of the missile system, saying it has a radar capable of penetrating Chinese territory.

Shares in Lotte Shopping (023530.KS), of which Lotte Mart is a business division, fell 2 percent by 0155 GMT, compared with a 0.2 percent drop in the wider market .KS11.

Lotte's duty free operator, Lotte Duty Free, said on Thursday a cyber attack using Chinese internet protocol (IP) addresses had crashed its website. It is currently back online.

FEARS OF CANCELLATIONS

China's tourism ministry instructed tour operators in Beijing on Thursday to stop selling trips to South Korea from March 15, with the order spreading to other regions across the mainland, an official at Korea Tourism Organization said on Monday.

The order came days after the Lotte land swap.

A Chinese company abruptly canceled its plan to send some 5,000 employees to South Korea's Incheon city in April, the official said, adding that there were concerns about more cancellations by group tourists.

Shares of tourism, cosmetics, and airline firms extended losses on Monday, although the declines were not as severe as those on Friday.

On Friday, China canceled its invitation for South Korea Trade Minister Joo Hyung-hwan to its annual Boao forum, the ministry said on Monday. The forum's office cited a lack of panels for a session to which Joo was invited, the ministry said, without elaborating further.

On Sunday, Joo expressed "deep concerns over a series of actions in China" and protested against discriminating action by China towards South Korean companies.

"We will act accordingly to international law against any actions that violate policies of the World Trade Organization (WTO) or the free trade agreement between South Korea and China," he said

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Mongolia Mining Forum held in Canada www.montsame.mn

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ Mongolian delegation of 40 people is participating in the 2017 International Convention, Trade Show & Investors Exchange hosted by the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) in Toronto, Canada on March 5-8.

The delegation is made of representatives of Government of Mongolia and state-owned companies.

On the first day of the convention, March 5, Mongolian Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry in cooperation with Mongolian and foreign-invested exploration and mining companies hosted a Mongolia Mining Forum at PDAC. The forum was themed ‘Mongolia for Stability’, and aimed to provide investors and the international mining community with timely information on Mongolia’s current investment environment and mining industry.

The forum discussed Mongolia’s mining potentials, recent government actions to increase investment in mining sector and improve Mongolia’s competitiveness, and new exploration discoveries and upcoming investment opportunities.

Mongolia-Canada bilateral meetings also took place.

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China to cut steel capacity by 50 mln tonnes, coal by 150 mln tonnes www.xinhua.net

BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) -- China will push its drive to cut overcapacity in bloated sectors, with targets to slash steel production capacity by around 50 million tonnes and coal by at least 150 million tonnes this year, according to a government work report available to the media Sunday morning ahead of the annual parliamentary session.

The report pledged to make more use of market- and law-based methods to effectively deal with "zombie enterprises."

China eliminated steel production capacity by more than 65 million tonnes and coal by over 290 million tonnes last year, both beating government annual targets.

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Chinese coal draw-down gathers pace www.mining.com

Coal continues to be the sector in the cross-hairs of Chinese plans to shift its energy mix away from fossil fuels and into cleaner renewables.

In his annual report delivered Sunday, Premier Li Keqiang said the country would do away with over 50 gigawatts of coal-power capacity – an amount equivalent to over the entire capacity of South Africa – through new measures to wean itself off coal, MarketWatch reported.

The Chinese leader also said China would cut 150 million tonnes of coal capacity this year, about half of the 290 million tonnes cut in 2016.

China may also soon reinstate coal production curbs in an effort to avoid the return of an oversupply and improve the profitability of its heavily indebted coal industry. The curbs would come in the form of limiting mines' operations to 276 days a year, from the current 330 days.

Coal, particularly the steelmaking kind, rocketed last year after Beijing introduced production restrictions.

Meanwhile China's coal consumption dropped in 2016 for a third year in a row, official data showed last Tuesday, as the world's top consumer and producer of the fossil fuel continued tightening environmental rules aimed at dealing with pollution.

Beijing has made public its intention of modernizing its coal-fired power plants by 2020 in an effort to cut “polluting” emissions by 60%. The government also aims to add over 20 million kilowatts of installed wind power and more than 15 million kilowatts of installed photovoltaic power by the end of the decade.

Coal accounted for 62% of the nation’s energy mix last year, down from 64% in 2015, and it is expected to fall further under the current five-year plan of capping it at 55% by 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

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Indian iron ore shipments up 169% www.mining.com

The amount of iron ore handled by India's ports has more than doubled in the period between April 2016 and January 2017.

In a recent report by the Indian Ports Association, quoted by Economic Times, the country's 12 major ports handled 169% more iron ore cargo – a total of 38.61 million tonnes – in the April to January period compared to the same period the year previously, when just 14.37 million tonnes crossed the nation's docks.

The increase in tonnage can partially be explained by a resumption in production from India's top iron exporting state of Goa in the summer of 2015, led by Vedanta Resources (LON:VED), after an almost three-year hiatus.

Iron ore output contracted 9.4% every year between 2012 and 2016 following mining bans in Goa, Odisha and Karnataka, Economic Times points out. Those bans are no longer in place, meaning analysts are bullish on Indian iron ore production.

BMI Research said last month it projects output to increase to 185 MT in the next four years, from 136 MT in 2017.

The boost is not only due to the spike in the iron ore price, which reached a 30-month high on Feb. 20, but also a surge in global steel production.

World Steel Association data released in February showed a 7% jump in global steel output in January to 136.5 million tonnes.

World number three steel producer India recorded the biggest gain of the major producing countries, with output increasing by 12% year-on-year. India's infrastructure push should keep blast furnaces on the subcontinent humming throughout this.

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