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



Kincora Announces New High-Grade Targets at Bronze Fox, Mongolia www.investingnews.com

Kincora Copper (TSXV:KCC) has outlined recent extensive exploration activities at its wholly owned Bronze Fox project and planned activities for the remainder of the current field season.

According to the company the focus of these activities are multiple new target zones proposed for drilling at, or on the margin of, the western license relating to the western zone or south-western periphery of the West Kasulu target and Bronze Fox Intrusive Complex, where Kincora previously has had only one field season of unimpeded drilling activities.

As highlighted in the press release:

Drilling to test new infill and extension high-grade targets within western zone of the West Kasulu exploration target and newly identified southerly western zone
Three of the only four holes previously drilled by Kincora in the western zone intersected higher grade zones, with a >1km strike identified, benefiting from significant advancements in exploration activities since limited prior drilling
Exploration target supports one of largest copper-gold systems in Mongolia
IP survey commences to further refine targets to the west and advance pipeline of targets across second intrusive complex



When paper money goes to zero value: Venezuelan hyperinflation explained www.rt.com

Inflation in Venezuela this year could top one million percent, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts. This gallery puts the buying power of today's bolivar into perspective.
A kilogram of meat costs 9,500,000 bolivars, or the equivalent of $1.45.

A 2.4 kg chicken is worth 14,600,000 bolivars, or $2.22.

A 1kg packet of rice costs 2,500,000 bolivars ($0.38)

A kilogram of cheese? Prepare to fork out 7,500,000 bolivars ($1.14)

A toilet roll costs 2,600,000 bolivars ($.040)

Pasta? 2,500,000 bolivars ($0.38)

A kilogram of carrots costs 3,000,000 bolivars ($0.46)

The current price for a kilo of tomatoes now stands at 5,000,000 bolivars, or $0.76.

A kilogram package of corn flour costs 2,500,000 bolivars, or the equivalent of $ 0.38.

A bar of soap reached the price of 3,500,000 bolivars, or $0.53.

Hyperinflation destroys purchasing power of money and encourages hoarding of goods, as people and businesses wait for further price increases. When there is a loss of confidence in a currency's ability to maintain its value, sellers demand a risk premium to accept the currency; they do this by raising their prices.

Russia faced hyperinflation after the collapse of the Soviet Union, while the economic crisis in Zimbabwe made the country ditch its domestic currency in 2009 in favor of the US dollar and other stable currencies.



Commercial banks in Mongolia are to disclose more about the full cost of borrowing to customers www.market-intel.mn

Key event: The Central Bank of Mongolia revised the regulation of transparency of information on banking charges, fees and the methods of calculating interest rates on 23 July 2018. These newly enforced regulations can now be found on the Central Bank’s website.

Implications: As per the regulation, the Mongolian commercial banks are now to include insurance cost, any third-party charges, and other banking fees into the cost of borrowing and fully disclose it to a borrower. In compliance with common practice in the international banking, Mongolian banks will present all interest rates to customers on an annual basis as opposed to a monthly basis.

Outlook: These new regulations are aimed at helping protect consumers from potential debt burden and become aware of true the cost of borrowing going forward. However, as the impact of these regulations is limited to commercial banks only, it may create additional compliance and marketing related costs for the banks and create a less competitive environment for them compared to the other financial institutions such as non-banking financial institutions and credit unions that are not subject to these regulations.

The Central Bank of Mongolia ordered commercial banks to fully disclose any cost(s) related to obtaining loans under MNT 100 million to customers. Previously, commercial banks stated only monthly and annual interest rates and excluded other costs such as origination fees and insurance fees from financing cost in a loan agreement. The misleading nature of this practice was criticized by customers as they were unable to discern the true cost of financing. As a result, bank regulators are now taking measures to cease the practice.

However, costs pertaining to non-banking related activities and financial discipline of a borrower are excluded from the cost of borrowing, regulations state. For instance, state registration fees, notary fees, and penalty fees caused by the borrower’s default on loan repayments are not considered in the financing cost.

According to the Financial Stability Report by the Central Bank of Mongolia published in June 2018, in Q1 2018 nominal spending of Mongolia’s average household increased by 13.3% year over year (YOY) and the debt amount per household increased by 20.9% YOY to MNT 8.0 million. Further, the report revealed that, in terms of annualized household income and debt amounts, the debt burden of the average Mongolian household reached 63.1% for the period.

This signaled an alarm to regulators and as a result, the Central Bank issued another regulation on maintaining household debt-income ratios in order to prevent households from defaulting on their bank loans. The regulation will be effective from next year.
As of now, there are 14 banks with 1525 branch offices in Mongolia providing banking services, in aggregate terms, to 927,000 borrowers and 9.1 million customers (Financial Stability Report, 2018).

In addition, there are 539 non-banking financial institutions (“NBFIs”) in Mongolia providing financial services to around 150,000 customers and their total outstanding loan amount reached MNT 768.3 billion in Q2 2018. As it is not uncommon that customers who are not qualified for bank loans go to NBFIs, the cost of borrowing from NBFIs is higher than banks and those institutions look to remain exempt from the new regulations.

Therefore, even though the banking sector is accountable for 95% of the financial sector of Mongolia, these regulations may lead to additional compliance and marketing related costs to the banks and create a less competitive environment for them in terms of profitability compared to the other financial institutions such as non-banking financial institutions and credit unions.


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Yolanda: My feelings about Mongolia has not changed www.zgm.mn

ZGM Daily had the opportunity to sit down with Yolanda Fernandez-Lommen, Country Director of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), about social projects, particularly the implementation of higher education reform, during her visit to Dornod aimag for the monitoring of the higher educational reform project. At the financing of the ADB, several projects were implemented at the Dornod University, such as the establishment of an oil laboratory, expansion of sports hall and Distance Learning Center.

-I had many positive informations and admired the result of the ADB’s higher educational project. What impressed you the most during this trip?

-I had been quite impressed myself with both projects on education. If the petroleum research center is completed and expanded, they are planning to present many important opportunities in terms of implementation. Because it is a new area that will have a very positive impact in the petroleum market, even Dornod is engaging in oil prospection. I am also confident in the university, because if they can establish it with oil companies, they can charge for the services. The regional diagnostic and blood center is also very impressive and modern. The quality of equipment is excellent and kept in very good conditions. I was also impressed with some of the numbers. They used to prepare only 40 or 50 blood products before. But now, they can prepared 240-260 products and that really saves lives. Also maternity center is a top quality facility. Particularly, these facilities are for women from remote areas and countryside. This is one of the highest standards that I have ever seen.

-What are the main purposes of ADB in investing in social projects. What results do you expect?

-Overall, the purpose of the ADB is to foster social economic development and eradicate poverty. Then the different countries on the ADB have different needs depending on the level of development. In case of Mongolia, for the social projects, our objectives are usually in line with the Government objectives. What we try to do is to increase quality of social services, also to increase the access of services. You could have very good quality services in several locations throughout the country, but the access for people living even in remote areas is very difficult. One good example, for instance, is telemedicine program. We are able to bring medical services to the very remote areas in Mongolia. In cities, we can do other things like the blood center etc. We have flexibility to address the quality in the access to key social services education, social protection and health in different ways depending on the location and needs. I would like to emphasize the idea of not only providing good quality services, but also access. One example is national transfusiology center in Ulaanbaatar, which is a huge blood center. We also develop blood units in hospitals under the same project. So, of course Ulaanbaatar is the largest in the country by far and needs more facilities, more blood etc. But when the building was created, the idea was also for this center to help provide blood products to many aimags not only Ulaanbaatar. So it has a capacity to provide blood and blood products to many aimags very quickly.

-Aside from improving teachers’ skill, one of the main purpose of the higher education project of the ADB is to give quality education to students, as well as changing their perspective. For example, a student with tenacity and willingness can be better than students with good grades. So, what do you think about the benefits of having a tenacity at the macroeconomic level?

-There is a very strong linkage between education and economic development. This is mainly through the labour market channel which is essential for any economy to grow. So, higher and stronger education background of the people in any country is better quality of the labour force that you will have. The better quality of the labour force also means that you will be more productive, which means you can produce the same things cheaper and in less time. This increases your competitiveness compared to other countries. It gives you an advantage, for instance, in terms of export goods you will produce. Also, if you are better educated, you will be more innovative and open to adopting technology. All these elements have very positive impact in the way pro-education system in any economy works and it always has a very positive impact in terms of economic growth.

-Since 1991, the ADB has been supporting Mongolian economy in many spheres. Which sector receives the higher amount of support from the ADB?

-Overall, we had the privilege to have been involved in many sectors throughout so many years. Because we are lucky to have sufficient resources to be patient in many different sectors. So, we had loan in different issues changing from education, health, social protection, regional cooperation, roads, energy and power plants. We also assisted in the preparation of the airport reconstruction, financial sector reform, public management, finance management, agriculture, natural resources and climate change etc. So we are present in many areas and every 4-5 years, we prepare company partnership strategy (CPS) and there, we decide which sectors we are going to focus in alignment with the Government priorities. So, there might be changes every 4-5 years in the share of each sector. But overall, we are present in these sectors since the very beginning in most of them. Traditionally, energy and transport in the beginning where large sectors of attention. Because of that, there was an urgent need for support to public plans. We were not good in condition. There was also an urgent need to habilitate the constructive road. There were not many roads at that time in Mongolia. But this is changing and we are thinking about a new strategy, which covers from 2017 to 2020. Perhaps the CPS shows the largest change even though we were impressed in same sectors. But we have larger locations for urban development including water. We are greening our portfolio now, turning into climate change and environmental protection. We organized many operation in these areas in the past, but we only had small support. They are now becoming important operations with agriculture and urban development. While we maintain sectors of innovation, we are also exploring new areas in CPS. For instance, where we are taking actions in gender. Both in terms of gender disparity and the declined process into support women, girls and children victims of domestic violence. Another area that is new is sustainable tourism in Khuvsgul Lake, which is the largest freshwater lake in Mongolia, and to support people with disabilities. This is the first time ADB in history of over half century doing projects of this nature, and we are pioneering in Mongolia, and are looking into disabilities from a different angle instead of the traditional angle of medical point of view. We are providing people with disabilities with skills to join and integrate themselves in the labour market. So that they can live in normal life without the need of reliant subsidies. The can have their own income and integrate into society.

One of the aspects of delays is the frequent changes in the Government staff
-Since the ADB’s operation is aligned with the Government priorities, Mongolians will be thankful to ADB’s assistance for sure. What were the main difficulties during the project’s implementation?

-We have a large portfolio which means projects are ongoing in the process of implementation. So, the amount exceeds USD 1 billion in projects. That, per se, is a large portfolio many different projects on many different sectors. Just to start with implementing so many projects at the same time on different sectors is a challenge itself. Then, we have other type of challenges; for instance, due to the harsh weather in Mongolia, construction season is very short. Cold areas like the western area maximize only about five months, South Gobi might be seven months and rest of the country might be six months. This is also a big challenge because it takes doubled time for us to build road; for instance, compared to other countries in Southeast Asia. If we miss construction season, we need to wait one or more years. Another aspectof causes and delays is the frequent changes in the Government staff and in-line Ministries. Because we work very closely with the ministries and implementation agencies like higher education projects etc. When there is reshuffle in minister, vice minister and secretariat, also staff in the technical levels, the new team has to study stuff from scratch and they are not familiar with the projects. Preparation of the project is not familiar with the ADB standards and procedures. Of course, we are complex and bureaucratic institution. We need to be health by rules and procedures. It takes time to get familiar with those procedures. So, if there is a new team, it implies that it will take time to them. If there is a change, we start again. So, that also causes delays. We need to extend completion of the operation sometimes two years or more. Generally, stability is the best thing anyone who wants to do something.

-What was your the first impression when you first came to Mongolia in 1991. If you compare that time against today, what has changed so far?

-There are things that have not changed at all, which is my feelings about the country. The first time I came to Mongolia, I thought it was the most beautiful country in the world. That is still the same today, I think. At that time, of course I was younger, more junior, as well as very enthusiastic country economist. I wanted to do my best to help Mongolia that was going through difficult economic situation after two consecutive dzuds (heavy wintering) at the time. There were many losses in life sector and then large macroeconomic imbalances required support from the International Monetary Fund. But many things have changed a lot, even outside Ulaanbaatar. Of course, Ulaanbaatar city transformation is very visible, we can see all the new buildings, supermarkets, services. It has become a very developed city. If you compare what you could buy in the supermarket today, you can find range of products from many countries in the world, variety fruits and vegetables that were very difficult to find at that time. Sometimes I remember walking for a long time to find something, maybe just to buy one apple. Now there are many types of apples everywhere. Overall economic development is spectacular. But you need to understand how much has been achieved just in the last 15 years, which is really amazing. Also, you used to travel a lot to visit different aimags that time. When I travel now, I observe many changes in the quality of life,, key public and financial services. I remember that in the Ulaanbaatar, a man with a telephone with big batteries standing in the corner. Little funny to make phone call. Now we have telemedicine.

-Some officials in charge of the implementation of higher education reform projects mentioned that the Government is planning to establish a knowledge hub in universities. In developed countries, there is a think tank centers for gathering, networking and exchanging their knowledge. But in Mongolia, we do not have such centers and scientists complain that Government is not listening to them. What do you think is needed to be done in this area?

-In the UK and US, think tank is very prominent despite the culture and their society. It is not so common in other countries including, for instance, my own country and other countries in Europe, for universities to have a knowledge hub. We prioritize efforts in terms of knowledge in universities. Secondly, there is a very close relationship between thinktank and universities. Usually, most of the staff working in think tanks are university professors. For myself, before joining the ADB, I was a university professor and was working in a think tank. It is actually an excellent combination, because in the think tank, you have more resources. Sometimes you have private sponsors, knowledge to actualize what you learn and get from this knowledge. You can share with the students in the universities in Spain. It is an opportunity to bring students what they can learn from their own research in the think tank. So the connection is very strong. There are very bright scholars in Mongolia. Think tanks and universities of any country play critical role. Difference between universities and think tank is that think tanks do not teach. Universities do the same research as them and they teach. But both are knowledge hubs. In Mongolia, you have to put more efforts in pulling the resources in a coordinated manner, maybe by merging and strengthening small think tanks of universities with existent think tanks through collaborations. Think tanks should work very closely with universities. So, I am sure it will take time.

-My last question is higher education reform project, which is expected to complete next year. How do you see the result of this nationwide project. How well is the project going so far?

-This has been a special project for us. We focused on higher education for the first time. Traditionally, the ADB is supportive to mainly primary and secondary education, as well as pre-primary education. So, this is somehow like a step forward for us to be focusing on higher education. You need to pay attention to stages starting from pre-primary like kindergarten until university. We try to cover many centers as possible in the country; however, we have limited resources. Nonetheless, we have seen very good results in Ulaanbaatar city, Dornod and Khovd aimags. I am very looking forward to the results of new areas. So, the project has been satisfactory.



Mongolia Meat Exporters Turn to Iran's Halal Market www.financialtribune.com

Amid surging demand and limited local production in Iran for halal meat and as Mongolia pushes to make more money from the huge herds of livestock that roam its vast grasslands, the latter country is tapping overseas appetite for halal mutton from the former.

Mongolia has an estimated 30 million sheep-more than New Zealand-but has until recently only managed to export a thin slice of its overall meat output. It hopes that will change, Reuters reported.

Largely because of that kind of new demand, Mongolia’s sheep and goat meat shipments hit 2,601 tons in 2017, 11 times more than 2016.

And while that was worth only around $8 million, industry officials say those volumes are likely to be just the start, with exports in the first half of 2018 quadrupling year-on-year to 775.6 tons.

"The halal meat market is growing worldwide, promising new opportunities for Mongolia," said Ochirbat Begz, executive director of Mongolia Meat Association.

Under pressure from the International Monetary Fund to diversify away from mining, Mongolia aims to turn its huge pastoral economy into a major earner, hoping its free-range organic meat will find a home on plates overseas.

Darkhan Meat Foods, along with rival meat producers Max Impex MMX.MNE and Max Market is rushing to supply mutton to Iran.

It employs around 200 workers at the site, all involved in halal mutton output and expects to double its exports in 2018 from 1,320 tons last year.

“Before contracting with an Iranian company, we only exported beef and horse meat to other countries,” said Otgon-Erdene Bavuudorj, the firm’s general manager.

During a visit to the plant by Reuters, around a thousand 18-month old sheep were slaughtered and then deboned, chopped and packed under the supervision of experts from Dana Negah Parsian, an Iranian importing company, as well as the Iran Veterinary Organization.

The mutton is then frozen and transported by truck through Russia and Kazakhstan, reaching Iran in about two weeks.

But Mongolia’s nascent halal meat industry faces a number of hurdles on the path to growth.

Erfan Esfahani, business manager with the Iranian importer, said the country still needed to improve technology at its slaughterhouses and to train more staff.

In order for meat to be deemed halal, the butcher who slaughters animals must be Muslim. Mongolia is predominantly Buddhist, but 100,000 mostly-Muslim Kazakhs account for around 3% of its population.

The nation has also struggled with foot-and-mouth disease, with an outbreak this March forcing the government to declare martial law in 12 provinces and distribute 500,000 vaccines.

Mongolia has drawn up new animal health legislation to fight such diseases, with the Iranian importers saying they were doing all they could to guarantee meat they buy is safe.

“I check sheep before slaughtering and have not seen any major problems with animal diseases, said Hamid Reza Kavosh, the head of the veterinary office in Iran’s Khuzestan Province, while at the Darkhan plant.

Another problem is the seasonal nature of meat production in Mongolia.

“Putting livestock to pasture is good in the sense that they are free to choose the best grazing area and drink clean water from nature,” said Ochirbat at the country’s meat industry body.

“But importing countries demand regular supplies, which is impossible to meet with pasture, so export-oriented farms need to be developed,” he added.

The reintroduction of trade sanctions on Iran by the United States could also cloud the horizon. Washington has warned there will be consequences for countries that do not respect the sanctions.

But Ochirbat played down such worries, saying it was still early days for halal exports to Iran.

“It’s a little business-to-business trade and not a big international cooperation or something, so it should be okay,” he said.



Russia to conduct joint military exercises with China and Mongolia www.uawire.org

Russia and China, along with Mongolia, are planning to hold large-scale military exercises, including simulating a nuclear attack, reports Voice of America, citing high-ranking US officials.

To participate in the exercises “Vostok-18”, China will send to Russia more than 3,200 troops and 900 units of military equipment, as well as 30 aircraft, reported the Chinese Defense Department.

Mongolia will take part in these exercises for the first time. Mongolia has recently sought relations with the United States, even though it is geographically located between Russia and China.

A Pentagon official told The Washington Free Beacon that US Intelligence services will closely monitor the exercises due to the expected simulation of the use of nuclear weapons.

“For almost 20 years, at the exercise Vostok, Russia has been developing its new doctrine of “escalation for the sake of de-escalation” using a new low-powered nuclear weapon, which the artillery can be used primarily,” said Richard Fisher, Director of the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

Russia’s new doctrine of rapidly escalating future conflicts with the use of nuclear weapons after the beginning of military conflicts worries the Pentagon.



Korean Air donates computers to schools in Mongolia www.asia.etbtravelnews.global

Korean Air held a donation ceremony yesterday at the National Centre for Lifelong Education in Baganuur, Mongolia, after providing computers and school supplies to improve the local students’ access to Information Communication Technologies (ICT). According to the airline, the donation is part of Korean Air’s bid to bridge the digital divide that local students face in Baganuur, Mongolia, where “Korean Air Forest” is located. In 2013, Korean Air started supporting local educational institutions in Baganuur, by donating computers to selected public schools each year. The Baganuur National Centre for Lifelong Education was founded in 1997 to provide local residents with computer education. The ages of students range from 12 to 60. Korean Air donated 20 computers to the centre, and 10 to 10 public kindergartens in Baganuur, providing educational opportunities to Mongolians and improving their access to rapidly advancing technologies. Korean Air’s relationship with the region goes back to 2004, when the airline began planting trees. A section of the barren Mongolian desert has now turned into a 44ha (440,000m2) forest with around 120,000 trees. The Korean Air forest symbolizes the friendly relations between South Korea and Mongolia. Korean Air employees actively participate in volunteer work for the local community. Employees at Korean Air Ulaanbaatar office visit an orphanage in Baganuur every year to deliver donations, and Inha University Hospital of Hanjin Group has been participating in medical volunteer work for the underprivileged in Mongolia. As a leading global carrier, Korean Air will continuously support global volunteer activities in order to perform its corporate social responsibility as part of company’s initiatives to give back to society. Read more at http://www.etbtravelnews.global



Mongolian PM meets Chinese FM to enhance bilateral ties www.xinhuanet.com

ULAN BATOR, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- Mongolian Prime Minister Ukhnaa Khurelsukh met visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi at Ikh Tenger Complex in Ulan Bator on Saturday.

Khurelsukh asked Wang to convey his best regards to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

He said that Mongolia and China are long-standing neighbors and comprehensive strategic partners, and the current smooth development of bilateral relations has become a model for friendly neighbors.

"Mongolia firmly adheres to the one-China policy and maintains that Tibet and Taiwan are inalienable parts of the Chinese territory, and issues concerning Tibet and Taiwan are China's internal affairs," the Mongolian prime minister said.

He noted that there are no political, economic, territorial, religious and other questions between Mongolia and China, and the cooperation between the two countries has great potential and broad prospects.

He said that Mongolia is committed to the integration of its Prairie Road development initiative and the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, adding that the country hopes to deepen cooperation with China in the fields of agriculture, animal husbandry, energy and infrastructure construction, and elevate bilateral ties to a higher level.

The Mongolian side sincerely thanks China for its support and assistance to Mongolia's development and improving people's livelihood over the past years.

He said that Mongolia highly appreciates China's support for the construction of a waste water processing plant in Ulan Bator, which will make an important contribution to improving the city's ecological environment and the people's quality of life.

Next year will mark the 70th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties, Khurelsukh said, expressing the hope that the two sides will take this opportunity to accelerate the development of bilateral relations, iron out a new blueprint for the two countries' future cooperation, and work together to push bilateral relations to a new level.

Wang conveyed the cordial greetings from Premier Li to Khurelsukh.

He said that China and Mongolia are friendly neighbors connected by mountains and rivers, and that strengthening the all-round cooperation and deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries are the only right choice for the two sides.

The Chinese side reaffirms its respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Mongolia, and appreciates the Mongolian government's reiteration of its firm adherence to the one-China policy and its confirmation of always supporting each other concerning the other side's core interests.

Wang said that China-Mongolia political mutual trust has grown stronger, expressing the hope that relationship between the two countries will develop rapidly and healthily.

He said that the Chinese side appreciates Mongolia's active response and support for the Belt and Road Initiative, adding that China is ready to work with Mongolia to work out a cooperation outline on the basis of the memorandum of understanding on cooperation between the two countries, and promote the early arrival of more projects.

The Chinese foreign minister also said that China is ready to help Mongolia translate its resources into development advantages, improve its self-development capabilities, achieve economic diversification and improve the people's livelihood in building the Belt and Road together.

He said that the two sides should work closely together to accelerate the process of signing the bilateral free trade agreement and achieve a 10-billion-U.S.-dollar target for bilateral trade as early as possible.

He noted that China is willing to cooperate with the Mongolian side to seize the important opportunity of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries next year, to maintain close contacts at all levels and promote continuous progress in China-Mongolia comprehensive strategic partnership for the benefit of the two peoples.

On the same day, Wang and Khurelsukh attended the launching ceremony of construction of a waste water processing plant in Ulan Bator. He and his Mongolian counterpart Damdin Tsogtbaatar inspected a special lane at the Chinggis Khaan International Airport in Ulan Bator which was built in the framework of a project to enhance customs clearance facilitation under the Belt and Road Initiative.



Is China secretly building up its huge gold stockpile? www.rt.com

Official data from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) shows the country’s gold reserves have not increased since 2016, when Donald Trump was elected US president. They stayed unchanged at 59.24 million ounces (1,843 tons).
As of the end of June, the PBOC valued its precious metal reserves at $74.1 billion.

Analysts, however, have raised doubts that Beijing has really stopped accumulating gold. They claim a potential trade war with the US and this year’s slump in gold prices are reasons for China to buy.

“The strategic imperative is probably still there to add some gold to reserves quietly bit by bit,” Philip Klapwijk, managing director of Precious Metals Insights, told Bloomberg. The expert, who has tracked precious metals for nearly 30 years, said, “The reason to own gold as a portfolio diversification is even better given the rather strained relations with the US.”

As one of the top gold holders, China has been aggressively accumulating gold reserves to cut its dependence on the US dollar, according to Singapore’s BullionStar precious metals expert Ronan Manly. In an interview with RT, he said that the combined China-Russia gold reserves could shake US dominance in the global economy.

China has gone long periods without revealing increases in its gold holdings. In 2015, for the first time in six years, the PBOC announced a 57-percent jump in reserves to 53.3 million ounces. The announcement coincided with the adoption of stricter IMF rules for foreign reserves and debt data as the government pushed for the yuan to be included in the Special Drawing Rights basket. The IMF added the Chinese currency in October 2016, the last month that the PBOC announced an increase.



Centerra, Kyrgyz Gov’t delay completion of deal over Kumtor mine www.mining.com

Canada's Centerra Gold (TSX:CG) has once again agreed to extend the deadline for completion of all conditions included in a deal it signed in September with the Kyrgyz government, ending long-dragged environmental disputes over the firm’s Kumtor gold mine, the country’s largest.

While the Toronto-based miner did not provide much detail about the reasons for the deadline extension, the fifth one this year, it said the date had been moved from August 24 to Nov. 2

Fifth deadline extension seeks reaching final agreement that would end long-running dispute over Kumtor gold mine.
The announcement comes two months after MINING.com reported the country’s new Prime Minister, Muhammadkaliy Abylgaziev, was reviewing the agreement signed by his predecessor, adding his administration planned to submit to parliament its own proposals regarding the document. The authority, however, didn’t elaborate on when or how radical those suggested changes might be.

The news also follows recent charges of corruption against former Prime Minister Sapar Isakov, who signed the strategic agreement with Centerra last year — a development local media said it could jeopardize the legitimacy of the pact.

When and if finally signed, the wide-ranging arrangement would end a long-drawn-out dispute that crippled investor confidence in the impoverished Central Asian country and prevented Centerra from partaking in any profit from its majority-held and majority-operated Kumtor mine, resulting in the Canadian company filing for international arbitration.

The settlement would also end mutual lawsuits and force the Kyrgyz government to drop all environmental claims against Centerra and its subsidiary. In return, the miner would increase its annual environmental contributions.

Kumtor, which lies near the Chinese border at an altitude of 4,000 metres, has produced around 11m ounces since inception and remaining reserves are pegged at 5.6m ounces.

The Kyrgyz government owns just under a third of Kumtor and the mine contributes nearly 10% of the country's GDP.