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Thursday, February 4, 2016

[BREAKING: Mongolia parliament approves taking 34% stake in Gatsuurt, royalty swap left to government]

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- BREAKING NEWS -

Thursday, February 4, 2016

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Mogi: it was previously agreed between Centerra and GoM to swap this 34% stake for 3% added royalty. Hoping this is still the case

Mongolia’s Govt to Proceed With Centerra’s Gatsuurt Gold Mine

By Michael Kohn

February 4 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia’s parlt votes to proceed with Gatsuurt gold mine, owned by Toronto-based Centerra Gold Inc., according to live television broadcast.

* Parlt votes to take 34% of mine; can later swap stake for royalty, according to terms of bill

* NOTE: Centerra, Mongolia Agree on Mine Royalty Rather Than Govt Stake

* Project go-ahead “will likely result in some positive momentum for all Mongolia-related securities traded globally,” Bilguun Ankhbayar, chief executive officer of Mongolian Investment Banking Group, says by e-mail

(BFW)

Link to SKG statement

 

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UBDC: CALL FOR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST AND PROJECT PROPOSALS

February 3 -- UB Development Corporation (UBDC) is a city owned joint stock company with an intention to implement projects and programs within a Public-Private Partnership framework under UB City Master Plan 2030 adopted by Parliamentary Resolution No.23, passed in 2013, and the Economic Development Strategy of UB City which was passed by UB City Council’ Resolution No. 26/08 in 2015.

We are inviting private companies and individuals willing to cooperate with us in implementing economically viable projects via Expression of Interest and/or Project Proposals.

The resolutions and strategic documents are available at www.ublegal.mn and www.legalinfo.mn.

The following criteria will be considered in selection of partners to implement projects:

-          to be in line with UB City Master Plan 2030 and Economic Development Strategy of UB City;

-          financial capability to invest into the project wholly or partially is preferred;

-          must have financial models, cost-benefit analysis and feasibility studies;

-          projects should be oriented for public good and social aspects;

THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS IS 5 PM, FEB 28TH, 2016.

Address: Blue Sky Tower, Suite 409, Sukhbaatar district, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Telephone: (+976) 88093423, (+976) 89980468

E-mail: enkhbold.g@ubdc.mn; altanshagai.b@ubdc.mn;

UB Development Corporation JSC

UBDC aims to implement projects and programs under the Public-Private Partnerships, and ensuring the sustainable development of UB City.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

CEO E. Temuulin Sets Out Role of UBDC and PPPs in Ulaanbaatar City Development

CEO of UB Development Corporation JSC Mr. E.Temuulin set out the role of “UBDC” and “Public-Private Partnerships” in the UB City’s development.

January 26 -- The “UB Procurement 2016” business forum, organized by the UB City Administration in cooperation with the UB City Chamber of Commerce was successfully held for the second year at Shangri-La Hotel on January 20th, 2016.

The Forum was attended by over 1,000 delegates including Cabinet members, UB City Council representatives, and members of the UB City Chamber of Commerce, as well as international organizations, investors and business representatives.

During the Forum, CEO of “UB Development Corporation” JSC (UBDC) Mr. E.Temuulin set out the role of “UBDC” and “Public-Private Partnerships” in UB City’s development.

Explaining the background to UBDC’s establishment, Mr. E.Temuulin outlined the corporation's three main purposes.

The corporation will focus on the implementation of development projects under the principle of Public-Private Partnership through cooperation with the private sector. This aims to improve the economic competitiveness of UB City in support of the “UB City Master plan” which runs until 2030. It also aims to develop the city in a sustainable way in line with the UB City’s economic development strategy.

The corporation will also focus on establishing a Development Fund as well as issuing domestic and international bonds in order to implement UB City’s development projects utilizing some city properties.

UBDC also aims to build a one-stop shop services for the UB City’s business and promotional activities, increasing investment and driving the development of UB’s economy.

Also during the Forum, CEO of “UBDC” JSC Mr. E.Temuulin signed three MOUs. These were with Korean firm HC Corporation LLC, Russian Morton Euroasia LLC, and Bureau Veritas from France. The Memorandums relate to road, bridge, infrastructure construction, and professional quality control in the construction sector and food industry.

[BREAKING: MMC hires advisers to restructure $600m bonds maturing 2017]

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January 27, 2016

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Mongolian Mining Hires Advisers to Restructure 2017 Dollar Notes

January 26 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolian Mining Corp., a coking coal producer, hired advisers for a potential restructuring of $600 million of notes due in 2017 as the company struggles with declining coal prices amid oversupply and weakening demand from China’s steel industry.

The company hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. and SC Lowy Financial HK Ltd., and encouraged noteholders to form a committee to help discussions, it said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The bonds dropped to 17.5 cents on the dollar Tuesday, their lowest on record.

Steel output and demand in China, the biggest producer, is contracting as the world’s second-largest economy grows at the slowest pace in a generation. The country plans to cut crude steel production capacity by 100 million tons to 150 million tons, the State Council said Sunday, without specifying a time frame. Coking coal futures have slumped 23 percent in Dalian in the past year, while the company has posted six straight semi-annual losses.

Changes to economic policy implemented within the group’s principal target market, China, resulted in reduced crude steel production and consequently lower coking coal consumption and declining import volumes,” the company said in its statement. 

Mongolian Mining is due to pay a $26.6 million coupon on March 29. If it fails to do so, it will be the fourth Asian coal company to default on its offshore debt obligations in the past year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 

Winsway Enterprises Holdings Ltd., Hidili Industry International Development Ltd. and PT Berau Coal Energy have all missed payments on their dollar notes in the past 12 months.

(BN)

 

MMC: APPOINTMENT OF RESTRUCTURING ADVISERS AND REQUEST FOR SECURITY HOLDERS’ ATTENTION

January 26 -- This announcement is made by Mongolian Mining Corporation (the “Company”, together with its subsidiaries, the “Group”) pursuant to Rule 13.09(2)(a) of the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the “Listing Rules”) and the Inside Information Provisions (as defined in the Listing Rules) under Part XIVA of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Chapter 571, Laws of Hong Kong).

The board of directors of the Company announces that the Company is seeking a potential restructuring of the US$600,000,000 8.875% senior notes due 2017 issued by the Company (the “Notes”). The Company encourages the holders of the Notes (the “Holders”) to form a committee of the Holders for the purposes of facilitating discussion between the Holders and the Company about such potential restructuring of the Notes.

APPOINTMENT OF RESTRUCTURING ADVISERS

The Company has appointed J.P. Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Limited (“J.P. Morgan”) and SC Lowy Financial (HK) Ltd. (“SC Lowy”) as restructuring advisers (the “Restructuring Advisers”) to the Company for the purposes of providing advice with respect to the potential restructuring of the Notes.

During the last few years, the coking coal markets experienced continuing price decline amid the oversupply situation experienced by the global industry. Furthermore, changes to economic policy implemented within the Group’s principal target market, China, resulted in reduced crude steel production and consequently lower coking coal consumption and declining import volumes. In order to overcome challenges faced due to deteriorated market conditions, the Company remains focused on the strategic initiatives to improve its competitive position, including but not limited to pursuing the opportunity to engage in coal mining, processing, transportation and exploration activities at Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit in Mongolia (the “TT Transaction”). However, even though the Company has been continuing its negotiations with the relevant parties, no definitive agreement or transaction structure has been achieved to date and the Company does not currently expect any conclusion of such negotiations in the near future. The Company is committed to full and open communications and will update its shareholders and investors if and when there are significant developments with respect to these negotiations or the TT Transaction in general. However, there is no assurance that the negotiations will progress, or if they do, that they will result in a transaction.

The Restructuring Advisers will assist the Company in assessing various restructuring options and formulating a plan to implement an appropriate restructuring of the Notes. This plan will be developed with a view to ensuring the continued stability of the Group, and protecting the interests of all stakeholders of the Company.

ENGAGEMENT WITH HOLDERS

In light of the adverse macro-economic environment, and to better protect the interests of all the stakeholders of the Company, the Company desires to start a dialogue with the Holders about a possible restructuring arrangement in relation to the Notes and expects to engage with Holders on a restructuring proposal as soon as possible. The Company is committed to full and open communication with the Holders and will seek the highest level of responses from the Holders to facilitate open communications and obtain their input during the process.

The Company encourages the Holders to come forward to form a committee of Holders for the purposes of facilitating discussions between the Holders and the Company about such possible restructuring of the Notes. The Company looks forward to a constructive dialogue and timely creditor support to ensure the long-term success of the Company’s business for the benefit of all stakeholders. The Holders who would like to enquire about forming a committee should contact our restructuring advisers:

Restructuring Advisers

J.P. Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Limited

Chater House

8 Connaught Road Central Hong Kong

Attention: Liability Management Group

Tel: +852-2800-7616 / +852-2800-7639

Email: JPM_MMC@jpmorgan.com

SC Lowy Financial (HK) Ltd.

Suite 1401-02, Central Tower

28 Queen’s Road, Central, Hong Kong

Attention: Liability Management Group

Tel: +852-3405-1310 / +852-3405-1326

Email: lmgroup@sclowy.com

THERE CAN BE NO ASSURANCE THAT ANY DISCUSSIONS WITH ANY HOLDER WILL LEAD TO A PROPOSAL ACCEPTABLE TO THE HOLDERS MORE GENERALLY OR THAT DISCUSSIONS WITH THE HOLDERS CAN BE PROGRESSED TO ANY POSITIVE CONCLUSION. ACCORDINGLY, THE COMPANY OFFERS NO ASSURANCE THAT THE PROPOSED RESTRUCTURING OF THE NOTES WILL BE SUCCESSFULLY CONCLUDED. SHAREHOLDERS OF THE COMPANY, THE HOLDERS, HOLDERS OF OTHER SECURITIES OF THE COMPANY AND POTENTIAL INVESTORS IN THE SECURITIES OF THE COMPANY ARE ADVISED TO EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION WHEN DEALING IN THE SECURITIES OF THE COMPANY.

Link to release

 

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Friday, January 15, 2016

[BREAKING: Mongolia looks to tap USD bond market again, Moody's rates it B2]

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Friday, January 15, 2015

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Mongolia looking to tap dollar bond market for second time

January 14 (fastFT) Mongolia is looking to take the plunge into the international bond markets for the first time in just over three years.

The landlocked mining-focused economy has got a number of Western banks on board to arrange investor meetings next week, writes Joel Lewin.

Mongolia last tapped dollar bond markets in late 2012, offering $1.5bn in debt that earned the moniker ‘Genghis bonds’. At the time, it managed to borrow at a lower yield than Spain. Now, the yields stand at 8.64 per cent, up from 4.5 per cent as recently as May.

Sentiment towards emerging markets has been heading rapidly south over the last 12 months amid a US rate rise, slowing growth and a commodities rout, which has certainly done no favours for Mongolia, where mining accounts for about a fifth of GDP.

The cost of borrowing in dollars for developing countries has jumped over the last year, and any looking to issue bonds face a potentially tricky task getting investors on board.

Last year, Ghana had to offer 10 per cent to borrow $1bn in 15-year debt, far higher than expected, while Iraq, Kurdistan and Pakistan were forced to rethink borrowing plans as a slowdown in China, a rise in official US borrowing costs and falling commodity prices diminished demand for their bonds.

Link to article

 

Moody's assigns (P)B2 rating to bonds issued under Mongolia's Medium Term Note Program

Singapore, January 14, 2016 -- Moody's Investors Service has assigned a provisional long-term rating of (P)B2 applicable to the forthcoming drawdown under the US$5,000,000,000 Global Medium Term Note Program of the Government of Mongolia, in line with the Government of Mongolia's B2 issuer rating. The outlook on the Government of Mongolia's B2 issuer rating is negative.

The rating is subject to receipt of final documentation, the terms and conditions of which are not expected to change in any material way from the draft documents reviewed by Moody's.

RATINGS RATIONALE

Mongolia's B2 government bond rating is supported by the country's strong economic potential, driven in large part by its abundant natural resource wealth. However, slowing growth due to falling commodity prices, coupled with sizeable fiscal deficits and a thin foreign reserve cover, has weighed on credit quality. Based on Moody's Sovereign Bond Methodology, the three-notch ratings range for Mongolia is B2-Caa1.

The high dependency of the economy on mining and agriculture leaves the growth path vulnerable to mineral price volatility and occasional extremely severe winters. The development of the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold deposits, and other large mineral deposits, such as high-grade coking coal in Tavan Tolgoi, will be transformational for the Mongolian economy. Growth and inward investment flows will, over time, curb the domestic and external pressures that Mongolia currently faces, and support its credit profile at a level commensurate with a B2 rating.

Moody's downgrade of Mongolia's government bond rating to B2 from B1 in July 2014 took into account a worsening external liquidity position and the government's expansionary policy stance. The decision to maintain a negative outlook at that time highlighted the risk of an additional decline in foreign exchange reserves, continued rapid credit growth and the potential for further deterioration in debt metrics.

Although some of the pressures we identified in 2014 have since abated, in January 2016 we affirmed the B2 rating and maintained a negative outlook. The external liquidity position, including the current account balance and the level of reserves, deteriorated initially but has now stabilized. The central bank has tightened monetary policy. Credit growth has cooled. And the government has taken steps -- albeit haltingly -- to arrest the deterioration in debt metrics.

At the same time, the external environment has worsened. The combination of falling commodities prices and lower growth in China (Aa3 stable) has undermined export revenues and related investment flows that drive output in Mongolia. Accordingly, we expect growth to decline to 2.5% in 2015, from 11.6% in 2013. The government has struggled to cope with the impact of the shock. Moody's estimates that the fiscal deficit remains high, at around 6.6% as of the end of 2015. General government debt levels have climbed further, and Moody's does not expect them to peak until 2017, at close to 60%. Economy-wide external debt has continued to rise. Moody's projects it to hit 181.8% of GDP in 2015 and closer to 190% in 2016. Mongolia's score on our External Vulnerability Indicator, which measures the adequacy of foreign reserves relative to short-term and maturing long-term external debt, should peak at over 300% in 2017.

However, beyond that horizon, there is a strong prospect of growth and inward investment flows resuming to adequate levels to address these vulnerabilities. The key driver for the affirmation of the B2 rating is our expectation of an improvement in the outlook for growth over the medium term, led by foreign direct investment in large mining projects -- in particular the development of the second phase of the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine over the next seven years. Although Mongolia's external liquidity position will remain strained for some time, future export and investment revenue streams from the projects should result in credit risks moderating towards the end of this decade.

A resumption in growth would support the authorities' efforts to rein in rising domestic and external debt. The government's medium-term fiscal framework sets out a programme for reducing first primary deficits, and subsequently fiscal deficits towards the end of the decade. While the framework rests on a number of optimistic assumptions, our view is that growth should keep Mongolia's economic and debt metrics consistent with a B2 rating. Despite the persistence of credit-negative pressures in recent years, most of Mongolia's key credit metrics, including growth, the fiscal balance and the debt burden, should converge with those of similarly rated sovereigns over the rating horizon, if mining projects materialize as Moody's anticipates.

RATING OUTLOOK

Link to release

 

Moody's affirms Mongolia's B2 sovereign rating; negative outlook

Singapore, January 14, 2016 -- Moody's Investors Service has today affirmed Mongolia's government bond rating at B2. The outlook on the rating remains negative. Concurrently, Moody's has affirmed the government's B2 issuer rating, its senior unsecured MTN rating at (P)B2 and the short-term Not Prime issuer rating.

The affirmation of the rating signifies Moody's view that Mongolia's credit profile will remain in line with B2 peers over the medium term, with current credit-negative trends dissipating over the coming one to two years. Key credit supports include strong potential growth and abundant mineral resource wealth.

The decision to maintain a negative outlook reflects Moody's view that while some of the credit pressures that drove our assignment of the outlook in July 2014 have diminished, others have emerged. The external environment has worsened, particularly in relation to Mongolia's major commodities exports. Until such time as a ramp-up in production and exports from large mining projects occurs, risks stemming from the country's external position will remain elevated. At the same time, the government's debt burden has not fallen and fiscal space is limited.

Mongolia's long-term local currency bond and bank deposit ceilings are unchanged at Ba3. The long-term foreign currency bond and bank deposit ceilings are unchanged at B1 and B3, respectively. The foreign currency short-term bond and bank deposit ceilings are unchanged at Not Prime. These ceilings act as a cap on ratings that can be assigned to the foreign and local currency obligations of entities domiciled in the country.

RATINGS RATIONALE

Link to release

 

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

[BREAKING: BoM cuts policy rate by 1% to 12% citing lower inflation, effective from today]

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Thursday, January 14, 2015

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BoM: MONETARY POLICY STATEMENT

Cutting the policy interest rate by 1.0 percentage point

Number: 2016/01

Effective date: 14 January 2016

January 13 -- As its meeting on 22 December 2015, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of Mongolia decided to cut the policy interest rate by 1.0 percentage point to 12.0 percent.

Annual inflation measured by CPI decreased to 2.9% as of November 2015, has still been lower than the targeted level for the last 5 months, so it broadens monetary policy room towards expansion. Supply-driven inflation has still been low and stable whilst demand-pull inflationary pressure is expected to be at low level.

Positive and stable outlook on foreign direct investment and its recovery in the medium-term shall support macroeconomic external balance.

This decision on cautious and gradual monetary easing shall positively affect promoting monetary and credit growth, private sector investments and economic activities.

Extracts of the meeting minutes will be released in two weeks on the Bank of Mongolia’s website.

MONETARY POLICY COMMITTEE

Link to release

 

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

[Monroad merges with MNHD; Gatsuurt bill moves forward; election law amended; Moncement granted stability; and livestock reaches 56m]

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, 2015

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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original

 

Overseas Market

MNHD closed 40% on the announcement to US$0.35, intraday high 45 cents.

Mongolia Holdings And Monroad Enter Into Agreement To Merge Operations

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia, Dec. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Mongolia Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: "MNHD") and Monroad, LLC are pleased to announce that they have entered into a Contribution and Exchange Agreement. Upon completion, Monroad will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Mongolia Holdings (the "Company"). In exchange, Monroad will receive preferred shares of Mongolia Holdings convertible into an amount equal to approximately 49% of the outstanding shares of Mongolia Holdings at time of the Closing. Some of the conditions precedent to closing include the conversion of certain debt obligations to equity, a $2.00 per share trading price and capital sufficient to execute the new business strategy of the combined companies.  Additional details are available in the MNHD Form 8-K filed with the SEC on December 29, 2015.

Founded in 2001, Monroad is recognized as one of the largest road construction and earth moving companies in Mongolia. Monroad offers a full range of construction services including the construction and maintenance of roads, bridges, railroad lines, drainage work, earthwork, flood protection dams, and heavy equipment rental. Monroad counts the Mongolian government and Oyu Tolgoi LLC (Rio Tinto's Turquoise Hill Mine), as two of its largest completed-project customers. Monroad's most recent audited financial statements report revenue of 36,286,005,641 Mongolian Tugriks, or $19,214,805 USD as of December 31, 2014. Audited results for the year ending 2015 will be disclosed in a subsequent Form 8-K to be prepared and filed by Mongolia Holdings.

The Company's President, Brad Siniscalchi, a 23-year veteran of Hertz Equipment Rental, commented: "This transaction marks a significant breakthrough for our 2016 business strategy. Monroad's existing facilities, capabilities and staff should significantly streamline and expedite the deployment of our Hertz Equipment Rental franchise operation in Ulaanbaatar, while potentially saving significant hard and soft launch costs. Mongolia Holdings will now possess a much wider array of capabilities necessary to meet growing demands for equipment and construction services, driven in part by international infrastructure development initiatives like 'One Belt, One Road' and mega-mining industry projects like Oyu Tolgoi."

Tengis Garamgaibaatar, CEO of Monroad, stated: "Although it has not previously been our core focus, Monroad has operated an equipment rental business in Mongolia for many years. We plan to bring Monroad's facilities, equipment, highly-trained staff, equipment maintenance capabilities, logistics, market knowledge, reputation and enthusiasm to the deployment and build-out of Hertz Equipment Rental operations throughout Mongolia. The expanded platform makes us better prepared to tackle larger projects and to more aggressively execute the growth strategy of our existing road building and earth moving operations. We believe that the systems and efficiencies of Hertz and the talent and experience of the combined management team will create many advantages for Mongolia Holdings for years to come."

Chairman of Mongolia Holdings, Former US Ambassador Michael Ussery, said: "In addition to all the obvious benefits of this transaction, the consolidation of Monroad into Mongolia Holdings facilitates the assimilation of 15 years of market knowledge, experience and relationships, which cannot be easily replicated by other market participants. In addition, with the recent $4.4 billion financing announcement of Rio Tinto's expansion of the Oyu Tolgoi mega-mine, it's not unreasonable to expect greater economic growth for this exciting market, which, in turn could measurably increase demand for Monroad's road construction and earth moving services."

About the Company:

Mongolia Holdings, Inc., through its wholly-owned subsidiary Mongolia Equipment Rental Corporation, is the Hertz Equipment Rental franchisee for Mongolia. This exclusive franchise allows the Company to operate a business of renting, selling, and maintaining equipment for use in construction, mining, materials-handling, commercial, and industrial activities in Mongolia under the unique plan and system of Hertz Equipment Rental Corporation and Hertz Equipment Rental System. In 2014, the Company formed two wholly-owned operating subsidiaries in Mongolia called HERC, LLC and Equipment Rental, LLC. When qualifications are met, Mongolia Holdings intends to apply for an up-listing to the NYSE Markets, NASDAQ, or another US national securities exchange. While the Company is confident in its plans, it can offer no assurances that it will be successful in listing on an exchange of its choice. Upon closing with Monroad, it will also be one of the largest road construction companies, and best-known brands in Mongolia.

About Mongolia:

Mongolia has recently been one of the fastest growing economies in the world, led by the extraction of vast deposits of copper, gold, uranium, iron ore, coal and other commodities. Its proximity to four of the largest economies in the world -- China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea -- creates trade and cross-border investment opportunities that are distinct from those available to competing resource-rich countries. Management believes that these natural advantages, along with recent pro-business changes in foreign investment rules, securities laws, and mining regulations, have the nation poised for sustained growth of construction, infrastructure development and industrialization. Mongolia is an independent democracy of approximately three million people dedicated to becoming an important economic hub and transportation corridor of Eurasia.

For more information, please visit MNHD.mn and monroad.mn.

Link to release

 

Gatsuurt Bill Moves Ahead to Parliament Deliberations

December 28 (news.mn) On 24th December, Parliament discussed the draft legislation on "State Shares in the Gatsuurt Gold Property". Almost 70% of the members voted that the project should be debated. It has therefore been passed to the Economical Standing Committee. Parliament has also discussed draft legislation for increasing the area of land under special protection.  A total of 85.4% of the members voted that this should be discussed: the project has been passed over to the Standing Committee for Agriculture and the Environment, who will be tasked with conducting the preliminary debate.

Link to article

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Local Market

MIK Holding Shares Begin Secondary Trading on 30 December

December 28 (MSE) According to the resolution No.:3/5254 of Financial Regulatory Commission /FRC/ dated on 28 December 2015, the primary market trading of "MIK Holding" JSC was considered successful, and FRC informed that secondary market trading will start on 30 December, 2015.

The primary market trading of "MIK Holding" conducted on 24 December, 2015.

Link to release

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Economy

Historic low ₮1,997.56/USD set December 11, 2015

BoM MNT Rates: Monday, December 28 Close

12/28

12/25

12/24

12/23

12/22

12/21

12/18

12/17

12/16

12/15

12/14

12/11

12/10

12/9

12/8

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USD

1,993.32

1,992.71

1,996.50

1,996.32

1,996.27

1,996.25

1,996.03

1,996.37

1,995.30

1,993.47

1,996.02

1,994.16

1,997.42

1,997.56

1,997.36

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EUR

2,185.58

2,185.50

2,185.67

2,183.08

2,180.13

2,169.82

2,169.29

2,166.86

2,182.36

2,203.38

2,188.04

2,184.20

2,196.46

2,180.44

2,172.23

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JPY

16.53

16.57

16.58

16.50

16.48

16.45

16.39

16.30

16.36

16.53

16.46

16.35

16.40

16.28

16.23

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GBP

2,975.33

2,977.71

2,976.18

2,965.73

2,973.24

2,976.51

2,981.47

2,982.48

3,003.23

3,020.01

3,030.06

3,021.15

3,030.49

3,003.33

3,005.23

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RUB

28.16

28.32

28.70

28.15

28.06

28.00

28.00

28.31

28.34

28.09

28.44

28.86

28.88

28.84

28.88

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CNY

307.28

307.83

308.17

308.23

308.15

308.03

307.93

307.99

308.37

308.53

309.07

308.95

310.28

310.91

311.21

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KRW

1.71

1.70

1.71

1.70

1.70

1.69

1.69

1.69

1.69

1.69

1.69

1.69

1.69

1.69

1.70

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SGD

1,416.72

1,418.25

1,421.81

1,420.67

1,421.09

1,414.38

1,413.17

1,411.86

1,415.71

1,417.18

1,417.17

1,418.07

1,422.77

1,421.85

1,419.23

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CAD

1,438.55

1,442.53

1,442.35

1,435.38

1,431.53

1,432.90

1,434.29

1,445.96

1,451.50

1,454.03

1,456.42

1,462.10

1,473.02

1,471.61

1,477.67

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AUD

1,447.25

1,451.79

1,452.55

1,446.23

1,445.20

1,432.91

1,426.26

1,434.99

1,436.22

1,443.97

1,439.33

1,447.96

1,455.52

1,442.74

1,446.39

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HKD

257.18

257.08

257.59

257.57

257.48

257.50

257.49

257.57

257.44

257.22

257.55

257.30

257.71

257.74

257.72

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CHF

2,016.61

2,017.32

2,020.95

2,017.71

2,011.15

2,009.31

2,009.59

2,005.50

2,018.21

2,032.91

2,027.14

2,018.48

2,027.01

2,011.84

2,003.07

Bank USD rates at time of sending: TDB (Buy ₮1,990 Sell ₮1,999), Khan (Buy ₮1,990 Sell ₮1,999), Golomt (Buy ₮1,985 Sell ₮1,997), XacBank (Buy ₮1,990.5 Sell ₮1,997.5), State Bank (Buy ₮1,992 Sell ₮1,999)

MNT vs USD (blue), CNY (red) in last 1 year:

Link to rates

 

Mogi: whoa, where'd this money come from?

BoM issues 507 billion 1-week bills at 13%, total outstanding +48.3% to ₮850.2 billion

December 28 (BoM) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 507 billion at a weighted interest rate of 13.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release

 

BoM FX auction: USD, CNY bids declined, accepts $25.69m MNT swap offers

December 28 (BoM) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on December 28th, 2015 the BOM has received bid offers of USD 3.5 million in a rate between MNT 1992.72-1996.01, bid offers of CNY 24.0 million in a rate between MNT 305.22-306.31 from local commercial banks respectively. The BOM has not accepted any offers.

On 28th, 2015, The BOM has received MNT Swap agreement buying bid offers equivalent to USD 25.69 million from local commercial banks respectively and the BOM has accepted the offers.

Link to release

 

BoM expects inflation to fall to one percent by 2016

December 28 (UB Post) Mongol Bank predicts that the inflation rate will drop continuously in 2016, and rise again in 2017.

Mongol Bank explains that a rapid decline in inflation will be linked to four factors. Firstly, there will be a decline in inflation caused by slow economic growth and reduced demand. Secondly, a main factor in the decline will be the price of meat dropping rapidly due to increasing supply.

The bank's specialists believe the import of consumer goods will decrease in response to the exchange rate, resulting in lower product prices. Interest rates increased by one percentage point in January 2015, leading to decreased currency circulation influencing inflation.

According to the inflation outlook report released by Mongol Bank, lower prices for meat will have an influence on annual inflation until the first half of 2016. According to a statistical report from November, Mongolia's annual inflation is at 2.9 percent, and it is expected to reach one percent in the first half of 2016.

Link to article

 

Sales Managers Index: Mongolia, December 2015

Mongolia's business activity declines at quickest rate in survey history

·         Sharper declines in both sales and market growth

·         Deflationary pressures intensify amid weak demand

·         Labour market conditions deteriorate further

December 18 (World Economics) The World Economics Headline Sales Managers' Index (SMI) for Mongolia provides the most up-to-date monthly assessment of economic activity in the country. It is derived from an average of the business confidence, market growth, product sales, prices charged and staffing indicators. An index above 50 indicates growth, while an index below 50 indicates contraction. The SMI registered 32.4 in December, down from 34.1 in November, the lowest level in the survey history. That said, the latest reading reflected faster declines in all five of its individual components

A further decline in business confidence was recorded in December following the previous nine-month low. The Business Confidence Index fell to 27.9 from 31.0 on the previous month, the weakest level on record. Fragile demand, high interest rates, declining oil & other commodity prices, and severe weather conditions were mentioned by panel members to have a larger negative impact on economic activity over the next few months. 

The Market Growth Index, which reflects growth of the general marketplace in panellists' own industry sectors, declined at the fastest rate since March during December, signalling worsening market conditions across the country. Similarly, the Product Sales Index, which represents sales made by panellists' own companies, registered the weakest pace in nine months, with panel members attributing this to the difficult economic climate. 

December's data also saw a steeper drop in prices charged, with the Prices Charged Index posting 36.1, down from 38.6 in November. According to surveyed managers, the further reduction in prices charged reflected efforts to stimulate client demand, as reports of lower material costs, particularly for oil-related products and metals continued to weigh on companies' pricing power. 

Moreover, sales managers indicated another decline in employment levels during December thereby taking the current sequence of job shedding to twenty months. The Staffing Index signalled the fastest rate of contraction since May and suggested that the labour market situation continued to deteriorate. Declining sales and market growth were mentioned again by panellists to have contributed to the latest decline in workforce numbers. 

Summary

World Economics Chief Executive Ed Jones commented:

"The latest SMI survey for Mongolia continued to indicate worsening business conditions in December. Business confidence, market growth, product sales, and employment levels all contracted at faster rates. The latest survey data also highlighted greater deflationary pressures as weak demand conditions and lower raw material prices continued to add to companies' pricing power. Overall, the outlook for business remains uncertain as the challenging economic environment suggests that the economy won't be stabilising at least at the beginning of the coming year." 

Link to release

 

Mongolia Economic Review 2015: News on Oyutolgoi has been the most waited one

December 28 (gogo.mn) We are delivering you the review of the year 2015 by sectors. This time GoGo News Agency names the main economic events happened in 2015.

USD 4.4 BILLION FOR OYUTOLGOI UNDERGROUND DEVELOPMENT SECURED

SUPPORT TO FINANCE USD 1.5 BILLION FIFTH POWER STATION

IMMOVABLE PROPERTY IS NOT VALID COLLATERAL FOR BANK LOAN

FAIR COMPETITION AND CONSUMER PROTECTION AGENCY PETITIONED AGAINST THE COMMERCIAL BANKS…

MNT 1 TRILLION DEFICIT FOR 2016 BUDGET

JAPANESE PM PROMISES LOAN OF USD 200 MILLION AND RESEARCH ON THE TAVAN TOLGOI RAILROAD

INDIAN PM VISITED WITH USD 1 BILLION AND REMINDED OF THE TIES OF TWO COUNTRIES

OPENING OF THE MONPOLIMET CEMENT FACTORY

MSE TRADED THE 100 PERCENT INSURED COMPANY BONDS

FIFTH POWER PLANT DEVELOPMENT TO START NEXT YEAR

VERTICAL AXIS ROAD OF WESTERN REGION COMMENCED

PRIVATIZATION STARTED

APPROVAL OF LAW ON ECONOMIC TRANSPARENCY

MAIN THEME OF THE ECONOMIC FORUM-CREDIBILITY

COAL MONGOLIA 2015: WILL DELIVER COAL TO SOUTH KOREA THROUGH NORTH KOREA

CONSTANT GDP DECLINE SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR

ECONOMY WILL SHRINK AS THE INFLATION IS ON DECLINE

INCREASING DEBT, WAITING FOR DEBT MANAGEMENT…

RELATIVELY STABLE CURRENCY RATE OF USD

AVERAGE SALARY INCREASED BY MNT 44,000 AND IS MNT 836,000

MEAT PRICE IN DECLINE LEAVING HERDERS IN DIFFICULT SITUATION

SUMMARY

Economic downturn continued in 2015 as purchasing power of the citizen's declines and debt stress of the entities have increased. Many questions are waiting for answer such as will the policy rate go down and mortgage loan deposit will be 10 percent.

This year Mongolia managed to attract USD 70 million as investments, while this number was at USD 385 million the previous year. WB predicts that Mongolia will attract USD 900 million. Mongolia ranks 104 out of 140 countries with 3.8 points of 7.0 points. Although Mongolia managed to improve in five criteria, the decline in three also played role in such ranking. 

But Mongolia managed to avoid crisis and bankruptcy as Jubilee Debt Campaign analysts predicted ranking Mongolia 8th out of 14 countries with likelhood to go face debt crisis. With still positive GDP Mongolia is on safer side and the underground development of the OT in the second quarter of the next year lets us see our situation in a positive light. 

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Politics & Legal

Mongolia Parliament Amends Election Law

December 28 (UB Post) Proposed amendments to the law on parliamentary elections in Mongolia were discussed during the plenary meeting of Parliament on Friday, and parliamentarians passed the changes to the general Law on Elections with 86.7 percent approval.

Draft documents and suggested changes for the law on parliamentary elections were submitted by R.Burmaa and 15 other parliamentary members (MPs). MP Su.Batbold and six other MPs submitted amendments on November 6, and 10 MPs led by O.Baasankhuu presented draft amendments on November 13.

The changes proposed were discussed in their entirety during a meeting of the Standing Committee on State Structure on December 24. According to the standing committee, the changes embrace a proportional voting system, and outline that election days must be fixed at least 150 days in advance. The new guideline on determining election day called for a speedy vote on the amendments in time for the upcoming 2016 elections.

Link to article

 

Draft Long-Term Sustainable Development Mission of Mongolia 2016-2030 Submitted to Parliament

December 30 (Institute for National Strategy of Mongolia) Submission to Standing Committee of State Structure Long term Sustainable development Vision of Mongolia/2016-2030/

Mongolia has aspirations to:

·         rapidly and sustainably grow its economy

·         improve its status and competitive position amongst the family of the world's nations, and

·         improve the quality of life and social indicators for its citizenry

These aspirations are laudable; however a well proven adage states "you cannot be great at everything". In formulating a strategic development plan for Mongolia, its architects and planners need to recognise this truth and focus their strategic efforts on areas where Mongolia can develop competitive advantage and overcome geographic disadvantage. This strategy should not preclude broad based approaches designed to promote small and medium sized business, but it should recognize, that large projects are what will stimulate the fastest and most sustainable growth.

In 2014 INS re-endorsed a 2012 report – "A Six-Point Action Plan for Mongolia: Enabling Business to Create Employment and Growth" (Regaining credibility …..#nationalstrategy.mn) which was presented to the incoming Altankhuyag Government.  The six pillars of this action plan were:

Stabilize the economy

Develop a prioritized and fundable infrastructure plan

Create policy and regulatory stability

Stabilize and strengthen the mining sector

Reduce government's role in business, streamline bureaucracy          

Deliver critical major infrastructure projects

This report highlighted three key points:

·         Strong economic growth would come from building essential capital assets that would generate new national income

·         This growth needed to be enabled through significant investment in Mongolia basic infrastructure

·         The economy was unbalanced and highly vulnerable to the commodity cycle and extreme weather events.

 The report warned that the government's cash reserves and Mongolia's banking sector were most inadequate to fund large projects. "The investment to fill this significant gap must come from competent national and international investors: yet we are putting at risk the basic conditions to remain attractive as an investment destination. Investors need strong legal protection, a stable regulatory and policy environment, prudent economic management, and leadership that resist reactionary and populist pressures. We do not yet provide this: investors increasingly view Mongolia as unsafe".

Since late 2012 Mongolia's economic fortunes have waned, partly due to three external economic factors – the global financial crisis, the slowdown in China and the collapse of critical commodity prices.

However the vagaries of Mongolian politics and the government's interference in key business matters have also driven falling confidence in Mongolia as a desirable investment destination.  The INS article 2 in 2014 laid out the requirements for the GoM to regain credibility in the eyes of international investors. Mixed progress has been achieved, but there has been progress.

The Saikhanbileg government has successfully resolved the biggest issue, resolving the dispute with Rio Tinto, allowing signing of the $6 billion project finance package and a restart of the underground project at Oyu Tolgoi LLC. This puts Mongolia back on the map as being a place where banks are again prepared to lend large amounts of risk capital.

Addressing and resolving the following critical factors will enhance Mongolia's ability to deliver on major strategic reform and sustainably grow the economy

·         Despite the now nearly negative GDP growth, it is imperative to maintain fiscal discipline.

o    Stimulatory programs need to be driven and funded by the private sector and bilateral support programs to take pressure off the GoM balance sheet.

·         The GoM must be more realistic about PPP programs – especially what it expects to get in terms of free carry from the organizations funding the large infrastructure projects.

o    What is critical is getting infrastructure built cost effectively. It is not critical or essential that government needs to be the owner of the asset

·         Organize government agencies that interface with complex infrastructure and mining projects along "delivery unit" lines.

o    Investors want to see a very clear and practical demonstration of how the GoM will make it easy to start, implement and commission a project or business initiative – across all levels of government

·         A resolution of protracted legal disputes between GoM and business entities is overdue

o    Place the remaining disputes under a single point of "competent accountability"

·         Genuinely reform the SOE structures

o    Ensure they have professional management and eventually privatize them.

o    In the short term professional boards need to be put in place, and political connectedness removed.

·         Be clear on policy about not further investing in – or interfering with – mining assets that are designated strategic.

·         Genuinely reform the exploration sector, so that Mongolia has some chance of enjoying some benefits from the next upswing in the commodity cycle

o    The current policy and execution of it has been most disappointing and needs to be quickly reformed.

o    Many who genuinely participate in this sector (who spend real money and do meaningful exploration) are highly critical of the policy and the managing agency.

Regardless of the final strategy, or the strategic goals and development targets or the "principles for development" that are espoused in this 2016-2030 Vision document several key principles need to be addressed to underpin high chances of success. Amcham has espoused these as:

·         Promote free markets and free enterprise to unleash the potential of the private sector

·         Ensure rule and stability of law

·         Foster regional integration, and

·         Promote economic diversification-while pursuing major mining and infrastructure projects, removing price controls and de-regulating the economy and sensible privatizing state property

 Importantly, China is source of finance and investment into Mongolia and it is an important market for all of the Mongolia's products. It is important that Mongolia "sensibly" value-adds to its minerals and agricultural products within Mongolia and that it becomes much better at receiving international level prices for exports.

But it is also critical for Mongolia and its democratic future that it opens up broad trading and partnership arrangements with many countries and other strong regional powers. Mongolia cannot afford to become overly-dependent on China as this will impact its ability to improve in many areas.

Mongolia needs to overcome its "two neighbor landlocked" status for non-commodity based enterprises. It needs to differentiate itself in several sectors where the ability to trade does not rely heavily on passage permission through China or Russia. This factor remains a major concern for industrial development.

To achieve this Mongolia needs to attract interest from foreign investors who can fund and facilitate market entry into certain countries. For investors to take Mongolia seriously they need to

·         Be satisfied that Mongolia's Laws are competitive

·         Be confident that disputes are solved according to international mores

·         Be comfortable that Mongolian business leaders understand what it takes to be competitive internationally and can partner in an internationally acceptable manner

Developing a highly efficient agricultural sector which leads Mongolia to becoming a net food exporter is a laudable target. Critical success factors include

·         Leveraging leading edge technologies for cold weather production and food processing

·         Providing world class agricultural extension support to farmers

·         Removing price controls and subsidies is essential if exporting is the target

·         Providing sensible investment incentives

Several sectors lend themselves to non-Chinese and Russian domination. These include material and clothing production, tourism and cultural exports, entertainment, information technology and any industry that is global in nature. However the key here is that you must attract and allow the expertise to enter and leave the country and allowing the investors, to repatriate interest, loans and profits freely.

Mongolia is a large country with a very small population. Population growth is one stimulant for GDP growth and building larger internal markets. Mongolia should carefully consider an immigration policy that grows its pools of capital, and expertise to be world-class. The knock on effect into the economy can be very significant. INS recognizes this as a sensitive subject and considerable thinking has also been done at the national level but is also mindful of the adage "populate or perish".

The focus of this article is not on sustainable social and environmental development or green development but rather where the Mongolian government should focus its efforts on managing the economy and business environment. Mongolia is a remote location for investors to consider, therefore government needs to promote and prove it has a world class investment climate and that businesses can succeed in Mongolia.

Link to article

 

Speaker vows to annul Constitutional Court decision stopping new mortgages

December 28 (infomongolia.com) Speaker of the State Great Khural (Parliament), Mr. Zandaakhuu ENKHBOLD and Governor of the Capital City and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, Mr. Erdene BAT-UUL attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony of "Buyant-Ukhaa II" apartment complex held on December 25, 2015.

The "Buyant-Ukhaa II" apartment complex was built by order of State Housing Corporation of Mongolia (SHC) and 1,620 apartments, first part of the complex, are ready as of December 2015.

During the ceremony, Chairman of the State Great Khural delivered a speech and cut red ribbon welcoming its new residents. However, only five families could get their apartment during the opening.

Speaker Z.Enkhbold said: "1,620 families could not have their new apartments before the New Year celebrations because of decision made by Constitutional Court of Mongolia recently. It has invalidated three most important provisions of two laws, which led Mongolian commercial banks to suspend their mortgage loan programs. Commercial banks stated that they will not change their decision unless the Government fixes the issue. I am sure that people who addressed banks for mortgage loans got the same answer.

Therefore, I am making this official statement as a Speaker of Parliament. The Parliament will annul the decision of Constitutional Court and restore original law with the same provisions as before.

SHC is in no condition to pay its debt to building materials companies due to suspension of mortgage loans and could not pay two months' salary of its employees. Before the mortgage suspension, there were 200 families ready to apply for housing program. It could bring 10 billion MNT (Tugrug) to SHC."

Link to article

 

Mongolia Celebrates 104th Anniversary of Declaration of Independence

Ulaanbaatar, December 29 (MONTSAME) Mongolians are celebrating the 104th anniversary of declaration of the national independence.

The National Independence Day is celebrated in Mongolia every year on December 29. This day marks the Mongolian independence declaration from Manchu Qing Empire.

In 1911 of this day, the Eighth Jebtsundamba Khutugtu (Javzandamba Khutagt) was proclaimed as the Bogd Khaan, and a historical decision was made to establish the government with five Ministries.

After the Bogd Khaan received the state seal and flag, Sain Noyon Khan Namnansuren was appointed as the first Prime Minister of Mongolia. Including the Prime Minister, the government of Mongolia had six Ministers. Chin Van Khanddorj was the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Erdene Dalai Van Gombosuren--the Minister of Military; Tushee Gun Chagdarjav--the Minister of Finance; Erdene Van Namsrai--the Minister of Court; and Da Lam Tserenchimed--the Minister of Internal Affairs.

The National Independence Day is celebrated annually pursuant to a decree of the President N.Enkhbayar issued on October 28, 2008.

Link to article

Related:

Today is "Day of the National Freedom and Sovereignity"news.mn, December 29

 

Parliament Accepts Resignation of BoM First Deputy Governor

December 25 (gogo.mn) Even though Vice President of the Mongolian Central Bank Boldyn Javkhlan has submitted his letter of resignation and the issue has been discussed by the Thursday morning Plenary Session of the State Great Khural, majority of MPs has declined the resignation.

While at the afternoon session MP D.Khayankhyarvaa has submitted the proposal to dismiss the morning resolution and to conduct votes again to the Speaker of the Parliament.

The renewed voting has resulted in majority of the MPs supporting the dismissal of the Vice President of the Mongol Bank.

The reason for resignation for B.Javkhlan is that he plans to put his candidacy for the Parliamentary Elections 2016 and in order to comply with the Election Law he resigns as of January 1st, 2016.

Link to article

Related:

B.Javhlan's resignation acceptednews.mn, December 25

 

The Kingdom of Mongol Bank

By Jargal "Defacto" Dambadarjaa

December 28 (UB Post) A week ago Janet Yellen, Chair of the Federal Reserve System of the United States, announced that the Federal Reserve had increased its federal funds rate by 25 base points, after seven years at zero.

As soon as the news was out, international stock exchanges saw significantly increased trading, whereas the price of gold reached its six year low at 1,050 USD an ounce.

However, Mongol Bank has had its interest rates at 13 percent for a year. The United States has an economy as large as 18 billion USD and accounts for one fifth of global GDP. So, how does a difference of 25 base points in the federal funds rate affect a small, 10 billion USD economy such as Mongolia's?

THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM AND ITS CHAIR

The Federal Reserve System, also known as the Fed, was set up in 1913 after the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act. The Fed is the central bank of the United States, and is responsible for supervising and regulating commercial banks, and overseeing monetary policy,

The fifty states of the United States are divided into 12 districts, each of which has its own reserve bank. Commercial banks are supposed to become a member of the district reserve banks and purchase stock.

Every district reserve bank has the right to buy and sell government securities. In order to operate in all states, a commercial bank has to be a member of the Fed.

Every district reserve bank has nine directors, six of which are represented by member banks and businesses, with the rest being appointed by the Board of Governors of the Fed. The Board of Governors implements the monetary policy of the Fed through district reserve banks.

The Board of Governors has seven members serving a 14 year term, appointed by the President of the United States and ratified by the Senate. The President of the United States appoints the chair of the board, with a four year extension. Once a director is appointed the chair, they lose their voting rights.

The objective of the United States' monetary policy is to eradicate unemployment, keep prices stable, and minimize inflation. Besides supervising the operations of commercial banks, the Fed set the maximum savings rate until 1986. Today, the Fed has a mechanism of loan control where they set the maximum amount of securities purchased with capital not borrowed from others.

The Fed uses three tools when implementing its monetary policy. They include setting the necessary amount of funds that depository institutions must hold in reserve, setting the discount rate, and setting the federal funds rate.

The third tool is to take part in the Federal Open Market Committee, which is also chaired by the Chair of the Federal Reserve System. The main goal of this committee is to increase the employment rate, support economic growth and price stability, and ensure stability of the financial market, loan interest rates, and currency exchange rates.

MONGOL BANK AND ITS CHAIR

The main objective of Mongolia's monetary policy is to make sure that prices are stable. In other words, keeping the inflation rate at a minimum. But the objectives do not include macroeconomic goals such as reducing unemployment rates, like the Fed does. The Law of Mongolia on the Central Bank states that the President of Mongol Bank is to be appointed by Parliament to serve a six year term, with a recommendation from the Speaker of Parliament. The President of Mongol Bank also has a council to advise them on matters that are in the president's portfolio. The President of Mongol Bank makes the final call on the formation of the council and its operational procedures.

The Council of Monetary Policy, for example, has twelve members. They include the President of Mongol Bank and eleven other members, six of which are internal members (seven if you count the president of the bank) such as the Deputy President of Mongol Bank and department directors, and five external members including the Deputy Finance Minister, representatives from the senior management of universities, and scholars.

According to the law, Mongol Bank is an organization dependent on the decision of a single person. Therefore, the person who makes the final decisions has to be held accountable for everything.

Decisions coming from the President of Mongol Bank directly affect the economy. N.Zoljargal, President of Mongol Bank, and N.Altankhuyag, then Prime Minister of Mongolia, signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on a price stabilization program in October 2012, and initiated the program to create a stable system for financing in April 2013.

In order to implement these programs, they have printed 3.8 billion MNT so far and injected the money into the market. The fact that the prices of goods and services should be set by the market for the market's long term benefit, rather than by the government, has been ignored by the governments that have had ruling power in Mongolia. The reality today is that everything that has been done under the name of setting or stabilizing prices ends up leading to an economic decline.

Mongol Bank is supposed to be the institution that makes the strongest demands that the government should not set prices and ensures its independence from them. On the contrary, Mongol Bank has initiated these price-restricting policies and worked together with the government. An example of what happens is that housing prices have doubled and disrupted the relationship between demand and supply.

Today, Ulaanbaatar has 40,000 empty apartments and 17,000 households living in the ger districts, carrying their water and using wooden toilets. Soon, the commercial banks that have funded construction companies will have to take ownership of the apartment blocks they built. When the constitutional court allowed people to rent out the apartments they were using as collateral, commercial banks stopped providing the eight percent housing loans.

This proves that loans twice as cheap as the market rate cannot keep being issued for eternity. This means that the government can no longer make up for its deficits by acquiring loans.

Changes made to the federal funds rate by the Federal Reserve System of the United States affect every open economy. For instance, it affects the banks that are about to invest 4.4 billion USD into the largest project in Mongolia, and their decisions about when to transfer funds and what interest rates to use.

LIBOR has already increased by almost one unit. A stronger USD results in weaker currencies around the world, which affects the livelihood of everyone to some extent.

If Mongol Bank truly wants to target inflation, it is time for them to reduce their interest rates immediately. Mongolia currently has an inflation rate of approximately three percent. Isn't it time they decreased their interest rate to a single-digit number at least? If that happens, commercial banks would also lower their interest rates, forcing them to immediately resume granting loans.

However, despite what recommendations might come from the Council of Monetary Policy, it is all up to the President of Mongol Bank – the King of Money – who will make the final decision.

Trans. by B.AMAR

Link to article

 

Mongolia's flagging economy stalls political progress

Author: Julian Dierkes, UBC

December 26 (East Asia Forum) 2015 marked the 25th anniversary of Mongolia's democratic revolution. So after 25 years of democracy, where does Mongolia stand? And, what role does Asia's only post-state socialist democracy play internationally?

Politically, it was a quiet year. The Mongolian economy remains moribund largely due to domestic policy decisions, exacerbated by international commodity prices. Yet Mongolia has continued to be active in the international arena.

The political year began with the replacement of the former Democratic Party (DP) prime minister N Altankhuyag by Ch Saikhanbileg, also of the DP, following a motion of no confidence in November 2014.

Saikhanbileg made a mark early in his tenure by conducting an SMS poll asking Mongolians to choose between austerity or large mining projects. Saikhanbileg was seeking a popular mandate for action on the giant Oyu Tolgoi (gold and copper) and Tavan Tolgoi (coal) projects. Unfortunately for the new leader, the poll delivered a tepid response: only 350,000 votes were cast from over three million cell phones. Mongolians were apparently not persuaded that an SMS poll was an appropriate method to gauge their views. Of those who did respond, 56 per cent preferred large projects over austerity.

Then in August the DP decided to remove all Mongolian People's Party (MPP) members from cabinet and return to its coalition with the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) and the Mongolian National Democratic Party only. Alongside the dissolution of the super-coalition, which was forged only nine months earlier, the government introduced an amnesty law to parliament. Traditionally, parliament has marked the anniversary of democracy with a general amnesty, but this summer's variant covered a number of criminals that had been involved in political activities and corruption. This led to the general perception that it was law forced on the DP by its coalition partner, the MPRP, and its leader, N Enkhbayar, former president but also pardoned money laundering convict. Debates around this law have persisted, especially after the arrest of the MPRP Minister of Health, G Shiilegdamba, on corruption charges in November.

Ongoing proposals to reconfigure the institutional underpinnings of Mongolian democracy have received particular attention this year. Constitutional reforms centred on rebalancing the division of power between the president, prime minister and parliament were floated in November, but the push for such reforms seems to have stalled.

A more pressing issue is the timing of the upcoming 2016 parliamentary election. In recent years elections have been held at the end of June, but that will put the election just before Mongolia is set to host the Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM) in mid-July.

On the international front, Mongolia's foreign relations continue to be rooted in its 'Third Neighbour Policy' of cultivating virtual neighbours beyond the bounds of geography. This policy aims to balance the overwhelming and sometimes overbearing influence of Russia and China. The most significant steps taken this year towards diversifying Mongolia's foreign relations were the negotiation of an Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit.

In multinational matters, Mongolia continued to enjoy relative international prominence despite its small population, modest economy and limited geopolitical significance. In May, Mongolia served as the first Asia Pacific host for the Freedom Online Coalition, an organisation of like-minded democracies dedicated to preserving human rights online.

At the UN General Assembly in September, President Ts Elbegdorj declared his intention to pursue a state of permanent neutrality for Mongolia. Presumably, this would be used to fend off Chinese and Russian pressure for Mongolia to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. But the concept of permanent neutrality is now being debated actively in Mongolia with more opposition than the president might have anticipated.

In October 2015, Mongolia was elected as one of five representatives of the Asia Pacific region in the UN Human Rights Council, with the highest support in its region. It is the first time that Mongolia has been elected onto the Human Rights Council. And it might pave the way for its declared 2022 candidacy for the UN Security Council.

Since taking over the government in 2012, the DP has pushed Mongolia's economy into a largely self-made crisis, initiated by legislation that restricted sales of stakes in Mongolian mining companies. This legislation was primarily aimed at preventing further dependence on Chinese investments, but the foreign investment community saw it as an unacceptable restriction. The economic fallout from this legislative blunder has been exacerbated by a fall in the price of Mongolia's primary exports.

In March 2015, Canadian uranium miner, Khan Resources, was awarded US$100 million in an arbitration case against the Mongolian government stemming from the loss of its mining license. This seemed to confirm that the Mongolian government had made arbitrary decisions that hurt foreign investors. This idea has been exacerbated by contradictory government statements on the giant Oyu Tolgoi mining project.

Even a commitment in May by both the government and investor Rio Tinto to underground expansion of the Oyu Tolgoi project could not halt this slide in investment.

Foreign debt has put Mongolia in a fiscally precarious position and a default has only been prevented by lines of credit from China, India and international organisations. In the middle of this economic malaise, Mongolia has been promoted to 'upper middle income' status by the World Bank, as it has had a per-capita GDP of above US$4,000 since 2012.

Mongolians will be voting for a new parliament in 2016. The government that will result from this will continue to enjoy an international visibility rooted in Mongolia's democracy. But that same democracy will also give voice to increasing expectations in the population that Mongolia meet more of its economic potential.

Julian Dierkes is an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia's Institute of Asian Research. He writes on Mongolian affairs at his blog, Mongolia Focus, and on Twitter.

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Business

GoM Grants Stability Certificate to Monpolymet on Moncement Plant Project

December 28 (gogo.mn) Investment agreement of "Moncement Plant" was signed by the Government, "Monpoliment" LLC and "Moncement Building Materials" today in accordance with the investment law. 

Specifically, 20.1 Article of Investment Law stated that "The Government of Mongolia shall conclude an investment contract with the investor who is to invest more than MNT 500 billion at the investor's request with the purpose of stabilizing the environment of business activities."

Working group in charge of concluding investment agreement with project investors was established at the order of PM. 

Working Group led by the Minister of Industry D.Erdenebat proposed 83 principles and technical requests to the agreement and made negotiation with investors side. Delegations from all ministries involved in the Working Group. 

Draft agreement has 16 articles and 19 pages which included amount of investment to the project and its stages, source, stabilization of tax issue, rights, duties and responsibilities of the Government and investors, the environment, social issues and other issues. 

Project investor "Monpoliment" LLC started the project to establish dry technology cement processing factory based on Senjit Hudag limestone deposit located in Urgun soum, Dornogobi aimag since 2006. In further, "Moncement Building Materials" LLC to implement this project. If "Moncement Plant" to work with their high capacity;

  • 984 000 tons of clinker 
  • 1 000 000 tons of cement 
  • 100 000 tons of lime to be produced. 

The total investment required for the project is MNT 512.2 billion. Currently, MNT 463.4 billion was invested. Remaining MNT 48.8 billion will be funded by the investors, international banks and financial institutions. 

WHAT RESPONSIBILITY DID THEPROJECT IMPLEMENTOR "MONCEMENT BUILDING MATERIALS" LLC TAKE?

  • To budget total of MNT 458.1 billion to the state budget as tax (MNT 21.8 billion in a year)
  • To employ 375 Mongolian citizens 
  • To construct kindergarten, apartment for 220 households, shopping center by their own financing
  • To decide environment and social issues
  • To cooperate with local authorities and residents 
  • To choose domestic entities at first as subcontractors and suppliers needed for the construction and production of the project 

This agreement became the third agreement which was established in accordance with the investment law implemented since the end of 2013.

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Livestock numbers reach 56 million heads in Mongolia, up 7.6% from 2014

December 25 (infomongolia.com) On 24 December 2015, the National Statistical Office (NSO) of Mongolia has released the preliminary results of the 2015 livestock census.

According to the report, Mongolia has 55 million 957.6 thousand heads of livestock, including horses - 3,294.6 thousand, cattle - 3,779.5 thousand, camels - 367.9 thousand, sheep - 24,933.4 thousand, goats - 23,582.2 thousand heads.

The number of animals has increased by 7.6% or 3,975.0 thousand heads compared to the same period of the previous year, where the number of horses increased by 298.8 thousand, cattle by 365.6 thousand, camels by 18.6 thousand, sheep by 1,718.6 thousand and goats by 1,573.3 thousand heads respectively.

Uvurkhangai aimag counted the largest number of livestock (4,511.0 thousand), being followed by Arkhangai (4,457.0 thousand), Tuv (4,444.9 thousand), Khuvsgul (4,397.2 thousand) and Bayankhongor (3,771.8 thousand) aimags.

In Orkhon, Selenge and Darkhan-Uul aimags, the number of livestock declined by 3.5-36.2 thousand heads.

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Ulaanbaatar

Cars parked illegally on 77 streets will be towed from January 1

December 25 (gogo.mn) Yesterday the City has approved the resolution to tow the cars during 8AM to 8PM parked in illegal spots in order to reduce the traffic congestion and accidents.

The towing of the illegally parked vehicles will be conducted with specialized towing cars and the tariffs are set as:

  • motorcycle MNT 30,000
  • sedan, vans, trucks up to 3,5 tons and busses MNT 60,000
  • vehicles over 3,5 tons MNT 90,000.

The resolution will be effective on following locations: 

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Buyant Ukhaa-2 affordable housing complex commissioned

December 28 (UB Post) The Buyant Ukhaa-2 apartment complex, located in the 10th khoroo of Khan-Uul District, opened on December 25.

Speaker of Parliament Z.Enkhbold, Ulaanbaatar Mayor E.Bat-Uul, General Secretary of the Democratic Party L.Erkhembayar, President of the National Creation Corporation B.Jugder, Director of the State Corporation for Apartment Investment (SCAI) A.Gantulga, and Executive Director of the State Bank of Mongolia D.Batsaikhan participated in the opening ceremony of the apartment complex. The new residents of the apartments were also present. Z.Enkhbold handed each of them their apartment keys at the opening.

A part of the "New Creation" program, in its completion, Buyant Ukhaa-2 is to be built on 28 hectares of land. Initially, the project will build 20 nine-story apartment buildings capable of housing 1,620 households, daycare centers and kindergartens, and six five-story service centers. The construction started in June of 2014. The second stage of the project will include 60 12-story buildings, three kindergartens, two elementary schools, a seven-story parking lot, a park, and a sports complex.

SCAI was founded in 2013 to stimulate the housing projects of the government's 2012 to 2016 development agenda. It chose the National Creation Corporation as the main executor of the complex. Over 100 domestic companies participated in the execution of the project and 80 as suppliers. Over 1,500 people participated in construction and 1,700 in interior work.

The director of SCAI, A.Gantulga, said the 30 apartment buildings of Buyant Ukhaa-2 were evaluated by the state and determined to be "satisfactory". "The buildings are also built to be resistant to magnitude 8.0 earthquakes," he said.

Speaker of Parliament Z.Enkhbold toured the complex and gave opening remarks. "Specifically, 1,764 households got in the Buyant Ukhaa-1 apartment complex with a low interest mortgage. Today, 1,620 families are ready to move into their apartments," he remarked.

"Since the government started the eight percent loans in 2012, 44,336 families have received 2.4 trillion MNT in eight percent mortgage loans. As for construction, a total of 2.5 million square meters of buildings that cost 5.2 trillion MNT were commissioned between 2013 and 2014. Following the increase in construction, the number of people working in the field has increased by 15,300 and reached 77,000 in total. This is a relatively high number in the past 20 years of construction development in Mongolia," said Z.Enkhbold.

The Speaker mentioned that he's working to overturn the Constitutional Court's decision to suspend the eight percent interest mortgage and reintroduce the program. "Inflation has dropped to three percent, so we're working to decrease the eight percent interest loans," said the Speaker of Parliament.

Ulaanbaatar Mayor E.Bat-Uul expressed his pride for the hard-working workers who started construction in the spring but finished in winter. "Today, the number of people moving into apartments is being measured not by the thousands, or 10 thousands, but by the hundreds of thousands. It's great how so many have worked hard to meet up with this increasing demand," he said.

"Aside from congratulating our builders, I came to ask the Parliament something on behalf of all Ulaanbaatar residents. It's very unfortunate how we're bringing politics into housing projects. Many are waiting to get a loan and move into apartments. Even in developed countries, such as America and Germany, people get their apartments with mortgages. The main circulation in housing projects is based on loans.

"It's not that we're giving out loans based on political party preference. It's people who want the mortgages that are getting it.

"Then people got the opportunity to put their land into economic circulation, as the Parliament passed a law last July. The Constitutional Court suspended that law too. Why can't they sell their land? Let's stop bringing politics into this," E.Bat-Uul said.

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Public Buses to Operate Past Midnight From New Year's Eve Celebrations at Chinggis Square

December 28 (gogo.mn) Following plan has been made to provide public transportation service for residents after New Year Celebration at Chinggis Square.

Public New Year Celebration will finish at 12.30am and 18 buses to serve for 18 routes from West, East and South parking lots of Chinggis Square (which is described on the picture). 

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Diplomacy

North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister on Official Visit to Mongolia

December 28 (infomongolia.com) The Deputy Foreign Minister of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Mr. Ri Gil-song visited Mongolia on 24-25 December, 2015, at the invitation of Mr. D.Gankhuyag, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia.

During the official talks, the two sides evaluated the outcome of bilateral visits made in 2015 and shared views on cooperation activities planned for 2016. The parties expressed their satisfaction at the regular exchange of high-level visits, increased social, economic cooperation and cultural exchanges as well as the active cooperation at the regional and international arena.

Mongolian side expressed appreciation to North Korean side for participating on a regular basis in meetings and events, organized within the framework of the "Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security" initiative, and expressed confidence that North Korea would further continue to participate in the activity, reports the Press and Public Relations Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia.

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Health, Education

Mongolia awards 100 million prize goes to inventor of horse-bone calcium supplement

Ulaanbaatar, December 28 (MONTSAME) Technological advancement prize of MNT 100 million is granted every two years. On December 28, this prize went to chemist Dr D.Demberelnyam for inventing a calcium supplement out of horse bones.

The import-substituting and export-targeted calcium supplement has already become one of the top national brands, having utilized horse bones with its biological values as secondary raw material.

While granting the Technological Advancement Prize, Premier Ch.Saikhanbileg lauded Mongolia to develop on the basis of "know-how". According to results of scientific observations, this horse-bone calcium supplement has three times greater efficiency than other products of same type, in terms of preventing osteoporosis and bone remediation, noted the Premier.

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Local programs to prevail in TV under new culture law

Ulaanbaatar, December 28 (MONTSAME) On December 28, Ts.Oyungerel MP made press briefing to inform about the changes made to the Law on Culture, that are to take effect on January 1, 2016. The draft amendments, adopted last February 2, outlines the definitions of national television program and national film, and gives dominating power to such programs in television and radio broadcasting.

The revised law regulates that national programs must occupy more than 60 percent of art, publication and cognitive programs, and at least 70 percent of cognitive, art and documentary programs for children, aired on the Mongolian National Public Radio and Television.

As for other domestic television channels, the portion of national programs must be more than 50 percent in arts, publication and cognitive programs, and more than 60 percent of children's programs.

Portions of national film in cinemas and other entertainment centers and of national films and programs in IPTV video base must remain at least 50 percent, informed Ms Oyungerel MP.

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Society

Another bank robbery in Ulaanbaatar

December 25 (infomongolia.com) A branch of Capital Bank of Mongolia located in "Altain Town", in Khan-Uul district of Ulaanbaatar city was robbed on December 24, 2015.

According to police, 180 cm tall man, aged about 25-30, committed the robbery, taking 14 million MNT (Tugrug). The robber used a knife to threaten tellers.

Currently, the 1st Division of the Police Department of Khan-Uul district is working on the case. The suspect is still on the run and investigation is progress.

On December 13, 2015, a branch of Trade & Development Bank of Mongolia (TDBM) was also robbed and about 400 million MNT was taken then. Moreover, the same case happened in 2014.

These cases usually occurred at branches located in districts away from downtown, showing the need for commercial banks in Ulaanbaatar city to pay more attention to the security of their distant branches.

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Related:

Capital Bank confirms robberygogo.mn, December 25

 

MONTSAME Names Top 10 Events of 2015 in Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, December 29 (MONTSAME) The National news agency of Mongolia MONTSAME named Tuesday ten highlight events that took place in Mongolia this year.

1. Mongolia's population reaches three million

2. Oyutolgoi to be funded with USD 4.4 billion by 15 banks

3. The 800th birth anniversary of Khubilai Khan marked

4. Glass account and new social relation

5. OSCE parliamentary Assembly session convenes in Mongolia

6. Mongolian soldiers march in Moscow and Beijing

7. The state pardons citizens and entities

8. Burkhan Khaldun Mountain and Coaxing Ritual for Baby Camels recorded by UNESCO

9. State Honored Artist G.Ariunbaatar wins International Tchaikovsky Competition

10. National production and creation

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Mongolia: Social Sector Review of 2015

December 29 (gogo.mn) GoGo News Agency delivers main events happened in Social Sector

Traffic accident have dropped by 35.9 percent due to the revised law on road traffic safety

Water purificaiton center to be reestablished

Public unite against child abuse

New technology introduces to public transportation service and residents use smart card for ride on buses

"Head of the Labor Union of Erdenes TT set himself on fire

Auction winner Abdul Karim refused from privatization of the Printing Industry

MNT 20,000 per child is to be directed at households with low income

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President Awards State Orders and Medals on 104th Anniversary of Independence

December 28 (gogo.mn) On December 28, 2015, on occasion of the 104th anniversary of restoring the national freedom and independence of Mongolia, the President of Mongolia has issued a Decree to award state Orders and Medals the outstanding figures in industry, energy, health, economy, education, culture, sports, communication, trade, service, and public sectors for their achievement and contribution to the development of the country. The following figures awarded with state Orders and Medals of Mongolia: 

President Elbegdorj handed over the Medals and Orders and delivered congratulation remarks.

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Related:

State awards grantedMontsame, December 28

 

New Year Traditions of Mongolia

December 25 (gogo.mn) New Year's Day is a family holiday for many Mongolians and is being celebrated widely. Dinner usually starts late on December 31. Traditional meals include salad, buuz, cake and sparkling wine. The president Ts.Elbegdorj addresses the nation with a short speech on TV, listing the achievements of the passing year, at 11.55pm. Once he finishes, people raise toasts, fireworks burst into the air and the New Year officially begins.

If you're in Ulaanbaatar, you can head to Chinggis Square to experience the most popular public New Year celebrations. City Governor`s Office annually organizes New Year celebration including artists and fireworks. 

Recently, youth tend to celebrate New Year at night clubs, while night clubs operating in UB offer events and packages for New Year Celebration.

Celebrations for children include a decorated tree and Grandfather Frost, the Mongolian equivalent of Santa Claus, who gives presents. Grandfather Frost often comes with his granddaughter, snow maiden. As things quieten down later in the day, many people visit their friends or relatives. Interestingly, Jan 1 is the non-working public holiday in Mongolia. If this day falls on a weekend, it moves to weekdays. 

1. New Year Tree decorated with money

Most of Mongolians consider that New Year tree is decorated for children. Parents decorate and buy New Year tree in order to make their children happy.

Also people who visit the family during New Year put some money on the tree in order to gift the child of the family. It has become the tradition already. Moreover, the money on the tree is spent by the children mostly. For example, if the family has two children, the money will be shared by two. New Year tree has become the symbol of wealth and prosperity in the world. However, on the other hand, New Year tree has become the best way to earn money for children. If you see New Year tree decorated with money in Mongolia, do not be surprised anymore!

2. Be awake for champagne until 12am on Dec 31st 

Almost every Mongolian is awake until 12am on Dec 31st to open champagne and to toast. It has become the tradition to wait for the speech of the President and toast together as a family for the coming new year and wish each other all the best.

3. Mongolian Santa Claus and Snow Maiden is originally from Russia  

Technically, Mongolians celebrate New Year like Russians. In Russia and Mongolia, Santa Claus is known as Father Frost. He is usually illustrated with his granddaughter, the snow maiden. Usually appearing as a tall, thin man with a long white beard, he often wears flowing robe of blue and white. The Snow Maiden was said to assist Father Frost in the delivery of his gifts to the children. 

Today, Father Frost and Snow Maiden make appearances at children's parties during the New Year season, distributing presents.

4. See Fireworks at Chinggis Square 

No one goes to bed on New Year's Eve, even the children stay up until the early hours of the morning. It is essential to watch the fireworks on New Year's night, which accompanies with lots of celebrations. You do not have to gather at Chinggis Square to see the fireworks. You can see it from your home, if you live in the tallest building where you can see the entire skyline of UB.

5. Giving presents to children 

It has been a tradition to Mongolians to give presents to children. Also companies give presents to the children of their employees. Recently, groups, friends or individuals give presents to children of poor families. 

Here we deliver you the general background of New Year Celebrations in UB. Also you can feel free to share your experience of New Year celebration in UB. 

Finally, Mongolians welcome the New Year by saying SHINE JILIIN MEND HURGEY.

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Sports

Yokozuna Hakuho's Record 34 Sumo Wins Officially Registered as Guinness World Record

December 25 (GoGo Mongolia) 34 wins of Yokozuna Hakuho M.Davaajargal, Labour Hero, Honored Athlete anad 69th yokozuna of Sumo Wrestlling has been officially registered in the Guinness World Record.

Hakuho M.Davaajargal held a reception in Japan after receipt of the Certificate of the Record Holder.

At the reception Hakuho paid his respects to Legendary Yokozuna Taiho and opened the ceremony.

Hakuho constantly pays respect to his own father J.Munkhbat, Oyakata Miyagino and Legendary champion Taiho.

He also mentioned that "While 40 years ago Yokozuna Taiho has become the holder of the record with 32 wins, I have bettered the record with 34 wins."

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Bonhill runner to take on Ice Marathon challenge in freezing wolf-packed Mongolia

Maurice Donohue will be taking part in the Genghis Khan Ice Marathon in temperatures that could reach a freezing minus 40 degrees.

December 29 (The Daily Record) A marathon fanatic will run 26 miles in freezing temperatures in the wilds of Mongolia – all in aid of charity.

Maurice Donohue, from Bonhill, will be taking part in the Genghis Khan Ice Marathon on January 26 – which will see him tackle the mammoth distance in temperatures that could reach a freezing minus 40 degrees.

The 52-year-old is no stranger to tough running challenges, having completed 104 half marathons in 104 days last year in aid of the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH). This time, he will join a group of adventurers for the expedition across the frozen and heavily wolf populated Tuul Gol river before finishing up at the famous 131ft Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue.

Their efforts in the extreme conditions will help raise vital funds for SAMH and Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA).

Keen runner Maurice was made aware of the once in a lifetime experience earlier this year, but never thought he would be taking part in something so challenging.

He was persuaded to take on the icy feat by Dr Andrew Murray, a sports and exercise doctor who is all too familiar with demanding running challenges – having done a 4300km run from the north of Scotland to the Sahara desert.

Speaking to the Lennox, Maurice said: "It all started with a conversation with Dr Andrew Murray in the Scottish Parliament.

"We were having a conversation and I just made a casual remark about wanting to do something like that.

"He later sent me an email to tell me he was doing it and to see if I wanted to join him and for some reason I said yes.

"It's a great opportunity to profile the charity and raise awareness of mental health.

"It's also a once in a lifetime opportunity as I don't think I will be doing it again."

With just less than a month to go, Maurice is now in training to ensure his body will be able to withstand the arctic temperatures and is ready to take on the freezing weather despite some setbacks.

He added: "Training is going well, I have been trying to train at least three times a week.

"I had a chest infection recently so I couldn't run at all so I'm just trying to get back on track.

"It's tough in the winter because I'm trying to keep myself healthy and also trying to stay injury free.

"I have been going to an ice rink to get an idea of how I have to move and walk on the ice.

"I'm hoping that the training will see me through but I'm not sure how much more energy I will use because it will be more difficult for me to run on the ice.

"That will be the difficult bit."

Maurice admits the different conditions will make the race a challenge for even the most experienced runner.

He added: "I have done the distance before but because of the conditions I have no idea how it is going to pan out.

"It's all about trying to find a balance as I can't get too hot or too cold.

"I just need to make sure I have the right clothes.

"But there shouldn't be any issues as long as I am fit and healthy."

To donate to Maurice's fundraising page, go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/GhengisKhanIceMarathon.

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Mongolia Awards Its Best Athletes and Coaches of 2015

December 28 (infomongolia.com) The 2015 "Burte Chono Awards" was held successfully on December 25, 2015. The most important sports event in Mongolia, which selects the best athletes of the year, was broadcasted live around the country.

The President of Mongolia, Mr. Tsakhia ELBEGDORJ and President of the Mongolian National Olympic Committee (MNOC), Mr. Demchigjav ZAGDSUREN, other officials and veterans of Mongolian sports attended the event.

"Burte Chono 2015" ranked Mongolian athletes based on scores given by 97 sports journalists. This year, three athletes from both men's and women's categories were selected instead of ten like previous years.

The 2015 Best of the Best Awards went to International Master of Sports (IMS) Erdenebat BEKHBAYAR and two-time World Wrestling Champion Soronzonbold BATTSETSEG.

IMS Munkhjantsan ANKHTSETSEG, who won the eighth place at 2015 IWF World Championships in Houston, USA, was awarded Best Young Athlete, and "Erchim" Football Club has become the Best Team of the Year.

Moreover, Mr. Odvoo BALJINNYAM, Head coach of the national judo team, was awarded a Special Cup named after Thomas Bach, President of International Olympic Committee (IOC), for his contribution to development of judo sports in Mongolia.

Best Athletes of 2015

Men:

- Erdenebat BEKHBAYAR (Freestyle Wrestling) with score of 133.

- Purevjav UNURBAT (Freestyle Wrestling) with score of 132.

- Batbold NOMIN (Freestyle Wrestling) with score of 107.

Women:

- Soronzonbold BATTSETSEG (Freestyle Wrestling) with score of 228.

- Dorjsuren SUMIYA (Judo) with score of 118.

- Tsedevsuren MUNKHZAYA (Judo) with score of 95.

Best Coaches of 2015

- Zeveg DUVCHIN, Coach of Soronzonbold BATTSETSEG, with score of 137.

- Khishigbat ERDENET-OD, Coach of Dorjsuren SUMIYA and Tsedevsuren MUNKHZAYA, with score of 99.

- Tserenbat TSOGTBAYAR, Coach of men's freestyle wrestling team, with score of 93.

Best Young Athlete

- Munkhjantsan ANKHTSETSEG (Weightlifting)

Best Team of the Year

- Erchim FC (Football)

Best Sports Organizations

- Mongolian Wrestling Federation (MWF)

- Mongolian Judo Federation (MJF)

- Mongolian Shooting Sport Federation (MSSF)

- Mongolian Football Federation (MFF)

Best President

- Luvsanvandan BOLD, President of Mongolian Athletics Federation (MAF)

Best General Secretary

- S.Gan-Erdene, General Secretary of Mongolia Taekwondo Federation (MTF)

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Mongolia: Sports Review of 2015

By U.Badamtsetseg 

December 28 (gogo.mn) We are delivering you the review of the year 2015 by sectors. This time GoGo News Agency names the main sport events happened in 2015.

Hakuho M.Davaajargal sets new record in Sumo history

Mongolian Olympic Hope in 2016 chooses professional boxing

International Master G.Otgontsetseg to represent Kazakhstan during the next Olympics

Wrestler from Umnudelger soum won at Naadam Festival after 16 years

Judokas succeed at the World Judo Championship in Astana

Amusing success at World Wrestling Championship after 40 years

11 athletes qualified for 2016 Olympic rights

SHOOTING

ATHLETICS 

FREESTYLE WRESTLING 

ARCHERY

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Art, Entertainment

Talk with Me: NARA, Singer

December 27 (Star TV Mongolia) --

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Travel

Better Safe than Sorry: Advice Travelling in Mongolia

December 25 (Mongolian Economy) The world recognises Mongolians as generous owners of vast steppes and Mongolia as a generally safe country. Safety is considered the top priority of any nation's tourism sector. One evaluation of the level of safety of a nation such as Mongolia is the security of the citizens of the capital. Although this is an issue beyond the power of one ministry or agency, initiatives to identify what areas need improvement have begun.

Many people from all parts of the world choose Mongolia as their travel destination. One such visitor who set foot in our country, CNN journalist Nila Sweeney, highlighted in her travel journal that "Mongolia is known for its eternal blue skies and boasts about 250 days of beautiful weather […] on average." Just as she remarked, we can enjoy the freedom of having before us uninhabited lands stretching for hundreds of kilometres with no sight of people or animals. Tourists come here to view this splendour and go back with the image of a pristine nature forever engrained in their minds. What is regrettable is the fact that these guests prefer to keep their stay in the capital as short as possible.

Ulaanbaatar is the first station in Mongolia for international tourists. On the one hand, the city administration and the state are paying more attention to the need for a make-over for the city, and on the other hand, how the city works to ensure the safety of tourists is of utmost importance. B.Munkhnaran, a tour guide and translator for New Juulchin and Overseas Adventure Travel, said that unfortunately, tourists themselves pay more out of pocket to insure their lives, health and belongings in order to come to Mongolia, when really, we should be the ones paying attention to their safety. Naturally, tour operators and guides always make sure to warn tourists about potential dangers in an introductory briefing more akin to a military mission behind enemy lines, rather than an introduction to a beautiful country. Such is the true state of the city's tourism safety.

Although the hospitality of the Mongolians leaves a good impression on tourists, it is also true that they go back with some anxiety as a result of distressful things they experienced in the city. While some may consider such unwanted events an adventure, for others they become dark memories that devastate their trip. According to a tourist satisfaction survey, social issues such as theft, robbery and disrespectfulness toward female tourists left awful impressions. As with other developing countries, there are many safety issues related to infrastructure. Cases of falling down due to poor sidewalks and not understanding the traffic lights are common.

Ulaanbaatar is relatively peaceful compared to Caracas or some Mexican cities, which are among the most dangerous cities for travellers. Our city is much safer than those where natural disasters and armed conflicts occur frequently. However, as noted above, there are still issues that must not be ignored. Guides and translators say that steps taken to ensure the safety of tourists are limited; however, they are quite happy about the student police initiative. The Ulaanbaatar City Tourism Board, Metropolitan Police Department and Mongolian Student Union cooperated to organise the "Student Police" programme for the second consecutive year. Students worked for six hours a day for three months during the summer, and as a result, the number of foreign victims of crime decreased by18.4 percent from the previous year. This was the result of the work of youths wearing orange caps and green jerseys that say "Tourist Guide Police."

However, some countries have police departments dedicated to tourists rather than student police. Mexico City, one of the most dangerous travel destinations, has a "Tourist Police" centre that provides emergency medical treatment to tourists. This type of special police force also exists in countries such as Russia, Malaysia, Israel and Thailand. As for Mongolia, an independent police unit dedicated to tourists was established for the first time this year under the Ulaanbaatar City Police Department. This unit must address the various issues related to the safety of tourists that were ignored in the past. Now experts are saying that this unit must be strengthened and consistent efforts to make tourists prolong their stay in the city must be taken. The infrastructure that leaves bad impressions on tourists is the first thing to be improved.

Other cities are paying special attention to the assurance of tourists' safety and prioritising their comfort. The City Tourism Board has done many works in this regard. For example, a tourist information centre now operates with three branches, and information on the city's service organisations was added to Google Maps. In addition, tourist buses and transports were exempted from licence plate restrictions, as transportation permission was granted to more than 500 buses, and dedicated stations were built. These endeavours have been already completed in other countries. Our country started the works to ensure the safety of tourists relatively late. The Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism working to submit a revised tourism law to the government is an indicator of our latency. "We're revising the tourism law because so many things need to be updated. About 50 percent of the revised provisions are directed at ensuring the safety of tourists," said B.Margad, Head of the Ministry's Department for Tourism Policy Management. He also stated that he will clarify the Ministry's position on the safety of tourists in more detail after the approval of the amended version of the law. The government approved a national programme on development of tourism in July of this year. Article 4.1.3 of the programme elucidates its purpose: "To ensure the tourist's comfort and safety of travel." Seeing this, it appears that the safety of tourists is no longer ignored.

There is one notorious example of awful tourism safety. In April of this year, the "Blue Mongol" sect assaulted Inner Mongolian tourists who were hiking through Burkhan Khaldun Mountain. At the time, the city administration paid special attention to the event, and the city mayor apologised to the tourists. However, seeking forgiveness from tourists upon every occasion of shame is not possible –an appropriate system is necessary. This year, the city is going to develop a tourism risk management plan. The plan includes ways to prevent and ensure the safety of tourists during emergencies and risky situations such as earthquakes. Mitigating possible risks is the most important aspect of ensuring the safety of tourists, and the City Tourism Board knows this. We should not be so complacent as to think our country is relatively safe, but the tourism ministry and city administration have lots of work ahead. More than anything, it is the responsibility of each and every citizen of the capital city to make the city friendlier and more hospitable. Otherwise, our city may find its way onto the list of most dangerous cities and earn itself an irreparably tarnished reputation.

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