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Following the official visit of Mongolian Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh to China, the problems with coal exports have been successfully resolved.
From 16 April the Inner Mongolian Gants Mod border crossing is allowing the trucks bringing high-quality coal from the Tavan Tolgoi mine to occupy three lanes. As a result, Mongolia’s coal transportation through the border crossing has shot up by 20 percent to 869 trucks compared to previous days.
Since late 2017, Mongolian coal trucks had been entering China only via two lanes. This resulted in congestion resulting in a decrease in coal exports and a gigantic queue of coal trucks snaking far across the Gobi desert; in October the daily queues stretched as far a 130 kilometres.
During the PM's visit to China, he specifically visited the Inner Mongolian city of Bayannuur, where an agreement was reached on increasing the volume of coal trucks entering China at the Gants Mod border crossing.
Local Level Agreements in Mongolia: A Need for Government Leadership and Policy Clarity www.resourcegovernance.org
Before any mineral exploration and mining can take place in Mongolia, the country’s 2006 Minerals Law requires that the host local government and license holders sign a “local level agreement” (LLA). LLAs typically include commitments and obligations that help enhance environmental protection, local content and infrastructure investments.
And yet the implementation of the law has been inconsistent, and local governments and mining companies alike have pled for clarification around LLAs’ objectives and scopes. With this in mind, the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) and the Open Society Forum (OSF) have worked together to improve the legal frameworks for LLAs as well as improve practices on the ground. We do this in various ways: establishing the independent monitoring of LLAs via civil society organizations; presenting research-informed policy recommendations; and facilitating regional capacity building workshops for all relevant actors.
There is now growing momentum to define the core objectives and principles of LLAs. But in order to attain true clarity around this issue, the national government itself must do a better job of facilitating a national dialogue. Below, I outline the main reasons why this is necessary, and suggest how the government can take the lead in improving LLAs.
Government-issued model agreement has caused more confusion
Mongolia’s national government showed a commitment to improving the uptake of LLAs when it issued a model for LLAs in 2016, called the “Model Agreement on Protecting the Environment, Developing Infrastructure related to Mine Operation and Plant Construction, and Creating Jobs.” Unfortunately, this five-page document did not provide much help to either local governments or mining companies—at best, it has been used as a reference, but most actors ignore it entirely because of its narrow scope and ambiguity about the model’s legal power. In fact, participants in regional workshops have said that the model has led to more confusion than clarity.
For it to become useful, the Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry (MMHI) should revise the model agreement and define it as a hybrid document that consists of a) a mandatory framework that defines the core elements of an LLA and b) a non-binding guidance document for potential agreement processes and content that local governments and mining companies can adjust to their respective contexts and needs.
Mining-affected communities are marginalized in the current subnational revenue sharing system
In 2015, the national government took an important step when it increased the share of mining revenues for host areas: the budget law was amended to transfer 30 percent of royalty payments of non-mega-projects and 50 percent of license fees to host provinces and districts. However, that 30 percent figure was reduced to 10 percent by the end of 2016. Worse, in 2017 the revenue-sharing scheme was suspended entirely until 2020. LLAs are perceived by local governments and communities as the main mechanism through which they gain benefits from resource projects, and such unpredictable shifts in the revenues to which they are entitled creates both confusion and frustration. To remedy this, the national government––especially the Ministry of Finance and the MMHI––should urgently foster clarity around its sub-national revenue sharing policy and which financial flows should be included in LLAs.
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) should play by the same rules as private companies
All license holders should obey the LLAs requirement in the Minerals Law. However, EITI Mongolia reports show that SOEs do not establish LLAs in Mongolia. (The Erdenet Mining Corporation was the only SOE to establish an LLA, for three years beginning in 2013.) The lack of transparency and accountability of SOEs needs to be remedied if the overall governance of the country`s extractive sector is to improve. Local governments and mining-affected communities are increasingly frustrated by the weak performance of SOEs on environmental and social obligations—making these enterprises comply with the LLAs requirement can help improve their relations with local communities, as well as increase their contributions to local sustainable development.
Both the national government and donor-support civil society should adopt a collaborative and scaled-up approach
Mongolia’s civil society organizations (with support from donor organizations) are most concerned about ensuring consistent and effective implementation of the legal mandate around LLAs. They have developed toolkits and sourcebooks, provided capacity building, and directly engaged in agreement-making on this subject. But the impact of these sporadic efforts has largely been localized and subject to the changing winds of local political dynamics. The national government must take the lead in helping to consolidate these efforts into a larger, national push that can make a real difference.
The way forward for LLAs
Despite the inconsistent implementation of the LLA requirement in the Minerals Law, local governments and mining companies have established at least 100 LLAs in the past decade, and there are examples of good and bad practice. The lessons learned from these LLAs can help improve the existing regulatory framework and agreement-making on the ground. The government can reaffirm its commitment to promoting LLAs by leading a national dialogue on the core principles of legal and policy frameworks for LLAs in Mongolia, collaborating with donor organizations, and facilitating multi-stakeholder deliberation.
Byambajav Dalaibuyan is a JSPS Research Associate at Tohoku University and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Sustainable Minerals Institute, University of Queensland. He has been collaborating with NRGI and OSF to improve the legal frameworks for LLAs and practices on the ground. This post represents his own views and not those of NRGI....
ULAN BATOR, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia exported 1.85 million barrels or 251,000 tons of crude oil in the first quarter of this year, the country's Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry said Tuesday.
Mongolia is planning to extract 8.1 million barrels or 1.1 million tons of crude oil this year, which would contribute 223.4 billion Mongolian Tugrik (93.31 million U.S. dollars) to the state budget.
At present, the country has implemented 14.1 percent of its export plan, the ministry said in a statement.
Currently, Mongolia exports crude oil to China and imports petroleum products from Russia.
Editor: Mu Xuequan
BGF Retail Co., operator of South Korea’s largest convenience store chain CU, said on Tuesday that it struck a master franchise deal with Mongolian retailer Central Express to advance into the East Asian country where the consumer market has been rapidly developing amid growing young population.
The latest deal is the second of its kind for BGF Retail after a contract with Iranian retail firm Entekhab Investment Development Group last year.
Under the master franchise deal, BGF Retail - the franchiser - will provide brand and overall system and knowhow to local franchisee Central Express that will be responsible for investment and operations.
Central Express is the retail arm of Premium Group, exclusive supplier for Mongolia’s largest mine and wind power project. The company, which opened its first convenience store in Mongolia in 2015, said that it signed the latest deal with BGF Retail in a move to secure leading position in the country’s convenience store market based on its systematized system and 30 years of operation knowhow.
Mongolia is considered a country with high growth potential for the convenience store market as young people under age 35 make up 65 percent of total population. The popularity of Korean culture including K-pop and drama has also been growing in the country with consumers gaining favorable impression on Korean brands.
Park Jae-koo, chief executive of BGF Retail, said that consumers in Mongolia have keen interest in Korea due to the influence of hallyu, or Korean wave, and the countries shares similar culture. The company will strive to become a global convenience store operator by advancing into emerging markets with high growth potential, he said.
Moody's upgrades local currency deposit ratings of Golomt Bank and Trade and Development www.moodys.com
Hong Kong, April 16, 2018 -- Moody's Investors Service today upgraded the long-term local currency deposit ratings of Golomt Bank LLC and Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia LLC (TDBM) to B3 from Caa1.
Moody's has also upgraded each bank's baseline credit assessment (BCA) and adjusted BCA to b3 from caa1.
Moody's has also upgraded each bank's Counterparty Risk Assessment to B2(cr) from B3(cr).
Moody's has also newly assigned a local currency and foreign currency issuer rating of B3 to Golomt Bank.
For both banks, outlook on all ratings is stable.
Today's rating actions conclude the review for upgrade placed on the two banks on 19 January 2018.
A list of affected ratings can be found at the end of this press release.
The upgrade of Golomt Bank and TDBM's ratings reflect our view that their capitalization will remain at levels consistent with a BCA of b3 upon the completion of the Asset Quality Review (AQR).
According to the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of Mongolia, the AQR found a relatively modest capital shortfall in the banking system -- about 1.9% of GDP at the end of 2017 -- and a system-wide capital adequacy ratio of 13.7% at the end of 2017.
While bank-level information was not made public, Moody's believes the two banks' capitalization will remain sufficiently stable to merit the upgrade of their BCAs to b3 from caa1, given the better-than-expected AQR results, and Golomt Bank's reported CET1 ratio of 9.45% and TDBM's CET1 ratio of 14.02% at the end of 2017.
While we expect loan growth to remain strong in 2018, Moody's believes that the banks will have plans in place -- including any capital raisings, if necessary -- to ensure adequate capitalization is maintained by the end of December, according to the schedule laid out by the Bank of Mongolia.
We also believe that the banks will benefit from improving liquidity in Mongolia and the implementation of wide-ranging policy reforms targeted at improving economic fundamentals. For example, amendments to the Central Bank law, Banking law and deposit insurance law have been completed. Growth also remains strong in Mongolia, which will be supportive of bank asset quality. Mongolia reported real GDP growth of 5.1% in 2017.
WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATINGS UP
The BCAs of Golomt Bank and Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia are at the same level as the Mongolian sovereign rating, and as such a positive rating action is unlikely in the absence of upward pressure on the sovereign rating.
WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATINGS DOWN
For Golomt Bank and TDBM, factors that could result in a downgrade include (1) a downgrade of Mongolia's sovereign rating; or (2) a downgrade of the banks' BCAs. The banks' BCAs could be downgraded if: (1) asset quality deteriorates significantly, for example, with problem loans/gross loans exceeding 9.0% for a sustained period; (2) tangible common equity ratio falls below 8%; or (3) profitability deteriorates significantly, leading to annual net losses on a sustained basis.
The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks published in September 2017. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.
Golomt Bank LLC is headquartered in Ulaanbaatar. It reported total assets of MNT5,205.3 billion (USD 2,144.6 million) as of 31 December 2017. Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia LLC is headquartered in Ulaanbaatar. It reported total assets of MNT6,874.9 billion (USD 2,832.5 million) as of 31 December 2017.
List of affected ratings
Issuer: Golomt Bank LLC
- BCA and adjusted BCA upgraded to b3 from caa1
- Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment upgraded to B2(cr) from B3(cr)
- Short-term Counterparty Risk Assessment of NP(cr) affirmed
- Local Currency Long-term Deposit Rating upgraded to B3 from Caa1; outlook changed to stable from ratings under review
- Foreign Currency Long-term Deposit Rating of Caa1 affirmed, outlook maintained at stable
- Local Currency and Foreign Currency issuer rating of B3 assigned; outlook stable
Issuer: Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia LLC
- Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) and adjusted BCA upgraded to b3 from caa1
- Long-term Counterparty Risk Assessment upgraded to B2(cr) from B3(cr)
- Short-term Counterparty Risk Assessment affirmed at NP(cr)
- Local Currency Long-term Deposit Rating upgraded to B3 from Caa1, outlook changed to stable from ratings under review
- Foreign Currency Long-term Deposit Rating affirmed at Caa1, outlook maintained at stable
- LC/FC Short-term Deposit Rating, affirmed at NP
- LC/FC Long-term Issuer Rating upgraded to B3 from Caa1, outlook changed to stable from ratings under review
- LC/FC Short-term Issuer Rating, affirmed at NP
- Backed FC Senior Unsecured upgraded to B3 from Caa1, outlook changed to stable from ratings under review
- FC Senior Unsecured MTN upgraded to (P)B3 from (P)Caa1
For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.
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Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.
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Ulaanbaatar/MONTSAME/ On April 16, Rodney Chanin, General Manager of Centerra Gold, and Steve Basadur, Senior Trade Commissioner at the Embassy of Canada to Mongolia, received representatives of Mongolian hockey team that won a gold medal at Asian Challenge Cup-2018.
Congratulating on their gold medal achievement, Rodney Chanin and Steve Basadur informed that the team would be provided with hockey jersey and other required stuffs from Canada and that Centerra Gold Mongolia would pay transportation costs of the team.
Mongolia hockey team took part in the Asian Challenge Cup for its 9th year, winning three out of four matches. With a total score of nine, the team claimed the first place and received the golden cup and gold medal.
Previously, Mongolian hockey teams won four bronze medals from the competition and last year, the team grabbed a silver medal.
China's economy grew 6.8% between January to March according to official data, slightly beating forecasts for the period.
The growth rate compares expansion with the same three months in the previous year.
The latest GDP figures are also above Beijing's 2018 annual growth target of "around 6.5%".
The data shows resilience in the world's second largest economy, helped by strong consumer demand.
But concerns about China's economy - including rising debt levels - remain.
The government has been fighting to contain ballooning debt and a housing bubble without hurting growth.
Amy Zhuang, China economist at Nordea Bank in Singapore described the first quarter growth figures as "solid" but also said there are signs that the positive momentum is weakening, likely due to the cooling housing market.
The growth figures come amid concerns about China's outlook for exports which has been clouded by rising tensions with the United States, its largest trading partner.
Chinese growth data through 2018 will be closely watched for any impact of tariffs proposed by the US.
Many China watchers advise caution with China's official GDP numbers.
Julian Evans-Prtichard, senior China economist at Capital Economics said the official figures "need to be taken with a grain of salt as they have been implausibly stable in recent years".
"While we don't think China's economy is expanding as rapidly as the official figures claim, there is broader evidence to suggest that a recovery in industry did prevent growth from slipping too much last quarter."
ULAN BATOR, April 16 (Xinhua) -- A Mongolian non-governmental organization (NGO) announced Monday that it launched a special-purpose mobile portal, "Bird 1.0," for communication of disabled people in Mongolia for the first time.
This app was created by Bird developers NGO, with the aim to facilitate communication of disabled people, support them, and provide inclusive education of children with disabilities.
The "Bird 1.0," available on both iOS and Android devices, allows users to post more than 230 words. In addition, the users can enrich the vocabulary and imagery of the app fitting their needs.
This app can be used by up to 30,000 people and it will be improved year after year by adding new words and images, developers said.
As of the first quarter of this year, there are over 120,000 people with disabilities, including people with Down sy
Petro Matad, the AIM quoted Mongolian oil explorer, announced an operational update for its planned 2018 exploration drilling programme:
· Interpretation of high quality 3D Seismic data in the Tugrug basin ongoing
· High quality data has identified bright amplitude anomalies which are very encouraging for hydrocarbon prospectivity
· Falcon prospect shown to be smaller than initially anticipated and removed from the drilling programme whilst other more promising prospects identified in the Tugrug basin are analysed and high-graded
· 90 MMbo Snow Leopard prospect (Block V) to be spudded first, with well site civil works commencing in May 2018 and required permitting anticipated to be finalised by the end April 2018. Rig fully contracted and certified
· The 290 MMbo Wild Horse Prospect (Block IV) will be drilled following Snow Leopard, with permitting progressing as planned
· The tender process for a rig for Block XX drilling is near completion with drilling anticipated to commence in H2 2018
North Korea increases diplomatic efforts with China, Russia, and Mongolia ahead of spring summits www.hani.co.kr
Pyongyang appears to be increasing its diplomatic efforts with friendly nations ahead of its summit with Seoul and Washington. Analysts see North Korea as attempting to firm up its own position and expand the playing field for dialogue by establishing even closer ties with friendly nations such as China, Russia, and Mongolia.
The Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the Workers’ Party of Korea, printed a front-page article and photograph on Apr. 15 on leader Kim Jong-un’s meeting the day before with Chinese Communist Party International Liaison Department director Song Tao, who was visiting North Korea with a group of Chinese artists. According to the piece, Kim “expressed satisfaction with the recent development of relations between the two parties and countries [North Korea and China], announcing plans to continue strengthening party relations with exchanges of high-level delegations between the two sides and actively promoting cooperation and associations among various areas and fields to actively carry on and develop the traditional friendly relations between North Korea and China to a new stage of development to meet new historical demands.”
The message was read as an expression of Pyongyang’s commitment to maintaining and developing relations with Beijing after their first steps toward recovery with a surprise China visit by Kim and North Korea-China summit last month.
In terms of the subject of Kim and Song’s meeting, the newspaper reported that “in-depth opinions were sincerely exchanged on the international situation and serious issues of common interest to the Workers’ Party and Chinese Communist Party.” The “serious issues of common interest” and “in-depth opinions on the international situation” reported by the newspaper are seen as very likely to include matters related to an inter-Korean summit scheduled for Apr. 27 and North Korea-US summit expected in May or early June.
“You get the sense that [North Korea] is trying to broaden the scope [of talks] because it feels overwhelmed negotiating one-on-one with the US at the upcoming summit,” said Institute for National Security Strategy senior research fellow Cho Sung-ryul.
“Because issues such as implementation and guarantees [on the outcome of agreements] become uncertain when it’s reaching agreements one-on-one with the US, it appears to be responding to the talks with Washington by bringing China into it and visiting Russia and countries and Europe to broaden the overall playing field,” Cho suggested.
Indeed, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho visited Russia on Apr. 9 and met with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Apr. 10 in Moscow. On Apr. 4, Foreign Ministry director general for European affairs Kim Son-gyong met with senior European Union (EU) officials in Brussels to exchange opinions on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and other issues. North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Apr. 14 that Supreme People’s Assembly Presidium president Kim Yong-nam had met and talked to a Mongolian People’s Party delegation visiting North Korea.
The second page of the Apr. 15 issue of the Rodong Shinmun
North Korean press reports also suggested efforts at “First Lady diplomacy,” with Kim’s wife Ri Sol-ju attending various external events. KCNA reported on Apr. 15 that Ri viewed a performance of the ballet “Giselle” the day before by Chinese dancers at Pyongyang’s Mansudae Art Theatre with officials from the Workers’ Party and North Korean government. It is seen as unusual for North Korean media to report separately on Ri’s attendance at a major event with party and government officials without Kim accompanying her.
“Ri Sol-ju is playing the role of First Lady in a normal state,” Cho Sung-ryul said, noting that Ri had “also had a separate conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s wife Peng Liyuan during the previous North Korea-China summit.”
“It looks like she is involved in ‘First Lady diplomacy,’ meeting with the wives of other countries’ leaders and attending separate events,” he said.
By Noh Ji-won, staff reporter