Friday, April 12, 2013

[Erdene strikes Mongolia alliance with Teck, SEFIL & Securities bills advance to committees, and Moody's puts top 4 banks on negative outlook]

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CoverMongolia NewsWire

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Cover Mongolia Funding Update

Hi guys, Mogi here.

To give you an update on the fund raising front, I'm having trouble verifying a PayPal account I opened for Cover Mongolia. Apparently my "international" Mongolian debit USD card is no good for PayPal. Gotta get creative here it seems. Will have a talk to my bank today.

I'm close to signing a once-a-week deal for the top banner real soon. Hopefully you'll start seeing them from next week so please support the venture by clicking on the banners as those advertisers in a way will be someone that has obtained Mogi's stamp of approval. I've also gotten initial indication of interest for other days as well.

As for the corporate subscription, received indication from several companies that they would pay. Now I realized I need to prepare an invoice. Corporate subscription will start from May and most likely will involve signing contracts, which could be cumbersome but worth the experience I'm sure.

Things are getting pretttttty serious it seems.. Hope you guys will support me in my first "entrepreneurial" endeavor.

May will also be the beginning of two, full and cut, versions of the newswire. Hopefully it'll mobilize the crowd to at least asking me WTH.

Let me know your thoughts.



Overseas Market

Erdene Announces Wind-Up of the Mongolian Coal Alliance with Xstrata and Updates Strategic Objectives

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - April 10, 2013) - Erdene Resource Development Corp. ("Erdene" or "Company") (TSX:ERD), today announced that the Xstrata Coal Mongolia Alliance Agreement has been discontinued and provided an update on the Company's strategic objectives.

Mongolia Coal Alliance

Pursuant to the terms of the Mongolia Alliance Agreement ("Agreement") entered into on February 13, 2006, between Xstrata Coal Canada Limited and Erdene, the parties have mutually agreed to discontinue the Agreement.

Over the past seven years, Erdene has conducted coal-focused, regional scale, geological mapping programs across Mongolia, with the last four years focussed on southern Mongolia. Collectively, an area of over ten million hectares was covered by Erdene's exploration team within basins that are considered prospective for high quality thermal and metallurgical grade coal. Erdene's comprehensive review of coal opportunities in Mongolia has included over 250 site evaluations and the drill testing of multiple targets. In addition, Erdene conducted comprehensive due diligence on numerous coal deposits and prospective licenses. As a result of this extensive review and evaluation program, Erdene has created one of the most comprehensive coal databases in Mongolia and has identified certain highly prospective areas and potential acquisition opportunities that will undergo further field evaluation in 2013.

Strategic Objectives

With the Company's corporate restructuring complete, management is now focused on advancing the Company's core projects and business interests in Mongolia. As a result of the reduced availability of equity, management has been reviewing alternative financing opportunities to fund the advancement of Erdene's Mongolia projects. These opportunities include forms of partnerships at the corporate and project level. Over the past six months, Erdene has entered into non-disclosure agreements with 12 companies and discussions are ongoing with potential partners under those agreements.

The management of Erdene continues to believe that Mongolia provides exceptional opportunity for the discovery and development of large mineral deposits. Mongolia's underexplored geologic terrains are highly prospective for hosting porphyry and epithermal style base and precious metal deposits, large high-quality coal deposits, uranium deposits as well as tin, tungsten, lead, zinc, rare earth and fluorite deposits. Mongolia's proximity to China, its improving infrastructure and growing skilled labour force are also important factors in Mongolia's growing profile as a favourable destination for mineral development. The only drawback has been a lack of clarity and stability with respect to mining and foreign investment laws. However, our experience in Mongolia over the past 15 years suggests that Mongolia's parliament has been adept at finding a balance between national interests and creating an environment conducive to much needed foreign investment.

Erdene's focus remains the discovery or acquisition of large, high quality mineral deposits in Mongolia where management believes the risk-reward profile remains very positive. Erdene will continue to closely monitor the political events impacting the mining industry and foreign investment. In particular, it is expected that the outcome of proposed amendments to the foreign investment law and discussions regarding the Oyu Tolgoi agreement will provide clarity for investors in the near-term.

Link to release


Erdene Establishes Strategic Alliance in Mongolia with Teck Resources

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - April 11, 2013) - Erdene Resource Development Corp. ("Erdene" or "Company") (TSX:ERD), is pleased to announce that it has entered into a strategic alliance ("Alliance") with Teck Resources Limited ("Teck"). The Alliance was formed by the signing of option and private placement agreements (collectively, "Agreement") to fund and explore the Company's mineral tenements in the Trans Altay region of southwest Mongolia. Initially, the program will focus on the Company's Khuvyn Khar copper porphyry prospect as well as exploration of select targets across the Trans Altay region. Excluded from the Alliance are the Company's Altan Nar gold project and its Zuun Mod molybdenum-copper deposit.

"Teck is an exceptional partner for our metals exploration in Mongolia and we are extremely pleased for the opportunity to be working together," said Peter Akerley, President and CEO. "In this unique period for the junior mining industry our goal was to secure a partnership that maintained the tremendous upside of our regional copper porphyry exploration. We expect Erdene and its shareholders will benefit from Teck's technical expertise and substantial financial strength, which will support and complement Erdene's extensive in-country experience."

Under the terms of the Agreement, Teck will subscribe for up to $3 million of Erdene shares by way of a non-brokered private placement. The initial tranche ("Initial Tranche") will be for five million shares priced at $0.20 per share for aggregate proceeds of $1 million. Subject to meeting all conditions precedent, including receipt of approval from the Toronto Stock Exchange, the Initial Tranche is expected to close before April 30, 2013.

Erdene will commit 85% of the proceeds from each tranche of the Teck private placement to exploration work to be directed by a technical committee, with the remaining 15% to be used for general purposes.

After the closing of the Initial Tranche, Teck has the option to acquire additional shares of Erdene, priced at the then current market plus 10%, until it has invested $3 million or acquired through subscriptions 19.9% of the outstanding shares of Erdene, whichever occurs first. The balance of the private placement option is due within 30 days of Teck and Erdene being satisfied that clarification of recent proposed changes to the mining law and foreign investment laws of Mongolia have occurred. Specifically, the parties require assurance that Mongolian laws have been clarified to permit transfers of mineral licenses and confirmation that a majority interest in licenses can be transferred to a foreign controlled entity. Until that time, beginning six months after the closing of the Initial Tranche, Teck may subscribe to the balance of the private placement with a minimum of $500,000 on each anniversary date of the closing of the Initial Tranche in order to keep the Alliance funded.

As long as Teck holds at least a 5% of Erdene's shares on an undiluted basis, Teck has a pre-emptive right to participate proportionately in any future equity financing by Erdene.

Once Erdene has spent 85% of the proceeds from the Teck financing on the initial program, Teck will have the option to acquire up to a 75% interest in designated projects through a two stage option process by funding exploration expenditures of up to $10 million on the Company's Khuvyn Khar project and up to $5 million on each of the other existing or acquired projects so designated within the Trans Altay project area.

Khuvyn Khar

The Khuvyn Khar licence hosts multiple copper and molybdenum mineralized porphyry centres with several kilometres of altered intrusive with associated copper geochemical anomalism. Multiple copper mineralized zones have been intersected in wide spaced drilling, including 34 metres of 1.3% copper and 9.24 g/t silver. This zone remains untested at depth and to the south where it trends under andesite cover.

The focus of the initial program will be to further define the priority drill targets through a program of drill core re-logging, detailed surface alteration mapping, geologic mapping, and geochemical and geophysical surveys to be carried out in the second and third quarters of 2013. Drilling will be considered by a joint technical committee following completion of the surface work program.

Trans-Altay Project

Over the past several years, Erdene has carried out regional exploration in an area of southwestern Mongolia designated as the Trans Altay project area ("Project Area"). This has led to a number of prospects being generated on licenses currently held by Erdene as well as on open areas that are expected to be available for licencing in the future. Erdene expects that during the next two year period the Alliance will evaluate the Project Area for further development of future exploration targets.

Link to release


Rio Tinto Spreads the Love Among Banks as Legacy Ivanhoe Assets Put on Sale

April 11 (WSJ) The list of assets Rio Tinto is seeking to sell keeps getting longer. So does the  list of banks getting a slice of Rio Tinto's business.

Investment banks ranging from the best-known names on Wall Street to small Australian boutiques are on the roster as Rio Tinto, under new leadership, embarks on a program to sell off assets.

As The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, the mining giant is looking to sell the 57% stake in Ivanhoe Australia Ltd., which produces copper and gold, owned by unit Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. Ivanhoe Australia has a market value of around A$148.7 million (US$156.5 million).

It is also looking to sell Turquoise Hill's 58% stake in Hong Kong- and Toronto-listed SouthGobi Resources Ltd., a Mongolia-focused coal miner. SouthGobi has lately been stymied by rising political tension in Mongolia over foreign investment in the nation's natural resources. Political opposition last year derailed Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd.'s bid to buy Turquoise Hill's stake in SouthGobi.

Citigroup Inc. has been appointed to run both of those sales.

Rio Tinto also appointed Deutsche Bank to sell stakes in several Australian coal mines which could fetch around US$3 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported on April 3.

The London-based miner turned to Macquarie Group to find a buyer for its majority stake in the Northparkes copper-and-gold mine in Australia, The Wall Street Journal reported on April 4.

Rio hired Credit Suisse Group AG and the investment-banking arm of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce to sell all or part of its 59% stake in Iron Ore Company of Canada, The Wall Street Journal reported on March 1.

At the other end of the scale, a small, Perth-based corporate advisory is advising Rio Tinto on a possible sale of its New Zealand iron-sands assets, the newspaper reported last month. Iron sands–magnetic deposits of black sand found along New Zealand's West Coast and used for making steel–attracted investors when iron ore prices were rising, but their shine faded after iron ore prices started falling. Mining iron sands has also proved to be technically difficult and, environmentalists say, harmful to marine habitats.

Rio Tinto owns a 60% interest in two iron-sands blocks in New Zealand.

Link to article


Mogi: like

Turquoise Hill Will Rise Again

April 11 (Gary Bourgeault, Seeking Alpha) On November 17, 2008, the share price of Turquoise Hill Resources (TRQ), then known as Ivanhoe Mines, plummeted to $1.72 a share, dropping from the $11.12 share price it had reached on August 25 of the same year. Not too long afterwards, as news of the resources at its Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia became known, the share price gained momentum, soaring to a high of $28.55 on February 28, 2011.

Since that time it had gradually dropped in share price, taking a big dive in early March of 2012, when it stood at $18.30 a share. About two months later, on May 14, it had fallen to $8.60 a share. As of this writing is trading at $6.44 a share.

In this article, we'll look at what the probable future share price of Turquoise Hill could look like once production at the mine begins in earnest. Based upon the current share price of the miner, my expectations are it could be a three-bagger, although it will certainly struggle to reach higher than that based upon the all-time high of $28.55 it climbed to in response to the targeted media coverage of the magnificent Oyu Tolgoi and its enormous mineral deposits.

Rio Tinto And Turquoise Hill

One major factor in the probability it will be difficult to reach the $28 share price again is Turquoise Hill has since had major partner Rio Tinto (RIO) acquire a majority stake in it, which now stands at 51 percent. That occurred in January 2012.

While not necessarily a bad thing, it does take some of the luster off of the company, which had fought to maintain independence and control from Rio Tinto. That won't affect the share price in a big way, but I think psychologically it does lower the value of the company in the minds of some investors. That could shave some off of the price willing to be paid for Turquoise, although admittedly not a lot.

Nonetheless, all factors need to be considered when considering how high the share price of a company could go. In this case, it's the management that has basically been taken over, with Rio now calling the shots.

Oyu Tolgoi Mineral Resources

There are numerous minerals included in the Oyu Tolgoi location, with most investors focusing primarily on copper and gold. According to Turquoise Hill Resources, "independently verified estimates indicate that Oyu Tolgoi contains approximately 46 billion pounds of copper and 25 million ounces of gold in measured and indicated resources and an additional 55 billion pounds of copper and 36 million ounces of gold in inferred resources."

Additional resources at the mine include ore, silver and molybdenum. A March 2010 feasibility study shows the mine holds 380 million tons of ore, 7,601 tons of silver and 81,600 tons of molybdenum.

Long term, Rio Tinto estimates that Oyu Tolgoi will produce over $8 billion a year for up to 50 years.

Is Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. Oversold?

Based upon the Relative Strength Index, or RSI, Turquoise Hill should definitely be considered oversold.

Recently, shares in Turquoise have been trading from a little under $6.00 a share up to around $6.50 a share. That brings the RSI reading from a little under 28 to a little over 28.

When compared to other metals, the RSI readings in many of those cases are mostly from 42 to a little over 50, to give an idea of the type of opportunity the Turquoise represents at this time.

The point is, it appears sellers could be reaching an inflexion point, and a rebound in the share price of Turquoise could be imminent. In other words, it's time to closely look at buy entry points at these levels.

Rising Costs At Oyu Tolgoi

In the overall scheme of things, the rising costs at Oyu Tolgoi will have a minimum effect on Turquoise Hill.

When including property, plant, development and equipment, final costs for Oyu Tolgoi will come to $6.2 billion. That's not too bad considering it's within about three percent of the budget.

It's the second phase of the project which has caused problems between Rio Tinto, Turquoise Hill and the government of Mongolia.

Even after cutting back, the project has already more than doubled in size, jumping from an estimate of $2.5 billion to about $5.1 billion.

The reason that is a problem is the Mongolian government may have to wait longer for its portion of profits from the deal. Capital costs are specifically worrisome to Mongolian authorities.

Mongolian Government

Speaking of the Mongolian government, this is an interesting and important part of the Oyu Tolgoi and Turquoise Hill story.

This isn't the case so much because it's the government entity ruling Mongolia, but rather because of the extreme inexperience it has in business matters in general, and mining matters in particular.

Consequently, it knows it's over its head, as evidenced by some of the decisions it is making that is detrimental to the country, and which reveals the inexperience and relative cluelessness those making decisions concerning the project represent.

One of the most obvious was the decision by the Mongolian government to ignore the current investment agreement which says the royalty rate will be 5 percent over the life of the agreement.

In its latest budget, the government included a progressive royalty plan, creating it out of thin air, seemingly disregarding the existing agreement in place.

What that does is give the appearance of a 3rd-world dictatorship rather than a government that could be considered low-risk by potential investors of all types.

That, included with the apparent inability to understand the concept of rising costs that can blow past projections, points to ignorant leadership at important levels. It also shows how Turquoise Hills understands this, as they responded by saying they're in no hurry to boost production to projected levels.

Turquoise Hills announced it will keep the expansion in the second phase to about 100k metric tons a day of ore for now. It was thought it would boost capacity to 160k metric tons. Now the question is whether or not this is a bluff or if the company really plans on keeping expansion on hold.

The mistake the government made was in showing its hand in a way that revealed it was desperate for revenue, while at the same time seemingly ignoring or not understanding the reality of business and capital costs. And as mentioned, putting together a budget that make it look petty and unreliable has hurt the government, raising doubts about the country as a predictable place to do business.

Why This Is Great for Turquoise Hills Investors

All of this almost meaningless hoopla is terrific for those interested in investing in Turquoise Hills, because in reality it is being overplayed in the media, and the chance of Mongolia ending the deal is miniscule at best.

In the end, it could cause some delays and result in a little bit smaller of a cut for Turquoise. When considering the larger scheme of things, it won't have much effect on Turquoise unless Oyu Tolgoi was to be nationalized.

Although a possibility, it's not considered to be a legitimate alternative for the country, as it would put the project on hold for even longer; something the government of Mongolia has no interest in happening.

It seems the worst that could happen is a short delay in commercial production. The reason I see this as terrific for investors is it has resulted in Turquoise Hills being oversold on the news, with many investors not understanding there isn't that much risk involved, even though the headlines and coverage give the appearance there is.

Earlier I had mentioned the idea that Turquoise shares could result in being a three-bagger. That is probably on the low end of the scale, and assumes someone entering at the $6.00 to $7.00 range.

Past Performance

Turquoise Hills soared when news of the resources of the mine were discovered and revealed. I don't think that same exuberance exists, now that more knowledge of the mine has emerged.

So taking into account the share price of Turquoise rising to a high of $28.55, it's doubtful that will happen again; at least in the next two or three years. I think once production begins, Turquoise could double in a fairly short time. It of course depends on whether or not there will be a delay in commencing commercial production as to the when of that.

Another factor is the global economy is still considered fragile, and while Turquoise will get a good boost, if China continues to slow, it could put downward pressure on commodity prices, which could cause Turquoise to grow slower than if it was in a more robust economic atmosphere. The result would be that it will take longer to reach the dizzying heights of the past when investors found out the size of the mine and the accompanying resources held in it.

This is the reason I say three-bagger. If the economy were better and the Mongolian government more reliable, we may have seen a four- or even five-bagger. I mean by that in a relatively quick period of time. There is nothing to suggest the global economy will recover any time soon, so the slowing growth will offset some the production that will increase at the mine.

Having said that, production itself will ensure Turquoise has a terrific future ahead of it, and at today's share price, it's a no-brainer to look at this being a terrific entry point for those looking at a long-term view.

For those wanting to make fast money, investing at this level almost ensures it. If commercial production begins in July or soon afterwards, there will be a nice, quick profit to be made.

There is more risk in shorting the stock at this time, and some uncertainty as to whether or not the stock will drop even further or if the Mongolian government has another surprise awaiting investors.

At this price, it's not that important for those looking for a nice upwards move in the share price, which will happen when commercial production begins. The reason that's almost a certainty is because it isn't being priced into the shares at this time, with the negative news driving the stock down.


Turquoise Hills Resources' share price is being driven by the news. The news makes it seem there are enormous problems and challenges concerning the Oyu Tolgoi deal, when in fact they aren't really that difficult to overcome. It also appears there really isn't as big a rift between Turquoise Hills, Rio Tinto, and the Mongolian government than the news stories insinuate.

This is important because the share price of Turquoise has fallen to levels where it may be difficult to enter again going forward. That doesn't mean it can't fall further, but at these levels, it's a great place to get in rather than try to time the lowest entry point. Once Turquoise begins to take off, those wanting to get in will find themselves chasing the share price up.

It could drop further in share price if another negative news story appears which causes even more concern from those not familiar with Turquoise Hills. Barring that, we are at a very good entry point.

What is different now than with the share price high in February 2011 is there is a little cloud hanging over the stock now. For those looking to invest in Turquoise, this is terrific, as it was difficult to measure the company back then because it had taken off based upon the resources financial news outlets continually reported to be in the mine.

Most investors understand that now, and the fact that none of that has changed and the stock is priced at between $6.00 and $7.00 per share, points to the reality that there may not be a better time to acquire some shares of the company.

Once the news is reported about the Mongolian government and Turquoise working out their differences, along with the start of commercial production, the share price is going to get a nice boost.

For long-term investors, even as production costs rise, the overwhelming amount of resource in the mine will overcome that. It wouldn't surprise me to see Turquoise hit $18 a share, or even a little more, within a couple of years. That's probable with or without a strong global economy.

Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. holds a 66 percent stake in the mining project. The Mongolian government owns the other 34 percent. Rio Tinto owns 51 percent of Turquoise Hill.

Link to article


MRC Correction on Call of Meeting to Remove Directors from Metals X

April 11, Mongolian Resource Corporation Limited (ASX:MUB) --

Link to release


Parliament Votes Yes to Discussing SEFIL Amendment

April 11 (Cover Mongolia) Plenary parliament session today voted yes to discussing SEFIL (Strategic Entities Foreign Investment Law) amendment introduced by the cabinet and therefore is sent for discussion at the Standing Committee on Economy.

Link to parliament press release


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Local Market

Parliament Votes Yes to Discussing Draft Securities Market Law & Relevant Changes to Other Laws

April 11 (Cover Mongolia) Plenary parliament session today voted yes to discussing the revised draft Securities Market Law and needed changes to other relevant laws and therefore was sent for discussion at the Standing Committee on Economy.

Link to parliament press release



10 April 2013, Wednesday (BDSec) – News that Mongolian inflation slowed below 10 percent for the first time in two years and Rio Tinto saying the copper production in Oyu Tolgoi may start this summer sent the MSE Top 20 up nearly 66.43 points Wednesday, first gain in four days.

Manufacturers and Real estate companies performed well during at the bourse. Zoos Goyol (ZOO) soared 14.80 percent to close at MNT 1,148. Hermes (HRM), Talkh Chikher (TCK), State Department Store (UID), Darkhan Nekhii (NEH) and APU (APU) advanced more than 1 percent.

Shivee Ovoo (SHV), 90 percent state owned thermal coal producer, lost as much as 7.69 percent to finish at MNT 6,000. MSE's turnover reached MNT 235.7 million or USD 167.2 thousand at the close of the trading.

Download the whole report in PDF

Link to report



April 11 (MSE) By the meeting of 4th April 2013, Mongolian Stock Exchange Board of Directors admitted "Gobiin noyon nuruu" LLC as a member of Mongolian Stock Exchange. Consequently, the number of members of MSE has reached 83.

Link to release

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Moody's puts negative outlook on Mongolian banks

April 11 (FT beyondbrics) Mongolia is one of the brightest hopes among the world's frontier markets: a fast-growing economy with a vibrant democracy and a young population. So it's salutary to be reminded that not all is necessarily well.

On Thursday, Moody's Investors Service published its first report on the country's banking sector, giving it a negative outlook. The reason, writes Hyun Hee Park, Moody's analyst in Hong Kong, is "rapid loan growth in an economy that is increasingly exposed to commodity-driven boom-bust cycles," exacerbated by "high loan concentrations, weak risk-monitoring systems, and the developing nature of the regulatory framework." Ouch.

Moody's expects GDP growth of about 12 per cent in 2013, up from 10 per cent in the first nine months of last year as big new mines enter production. But it is dependency on those mines, and their limited markets, that is one worry. Park notes that the IMF expects export earnings from Oyu Tolgoi, due to begin production this year as one of the biggest gold and copper mines in the world, and Tavan Tolgoi, one of the world's biggest coal mines currently under expansion, to amount to $2bn this year, or about a fifth of Mongolia's GDP.

As Park warns, this leaves the country dangerously exposed: "Of its total exports in 2012, some 91 per cent were mineral exports of mostly coking coal and copper, of which, 93 per cent went to China."

Figures from the country's banks suggest this is not such a problem. Just 12.4 per cent of the sector's total loans are classified as going to mining companies.

Source: Moody's

But Park told beyondbrics it was hard to trust the sector's figures and that, as well as loans to other sectors that were ancillary to the mining sector, a large part of the loans going to individuals – a third of total lending – went to people employed in mining.

Dependency on mining, says Park, makes it harder for banks to deal with the threat of overheating in the economy and to diversify their portfolios. She expects faster GDP growth to lead to credit growth of 30 to 40 per cent in 2013, up from about 24 per cent last year: "Such high growth will test the banks' ability to control risks, build capital and maintain liquidity."

Source: Moody's

Reported non-performing loans were 4.5 per cent of total loans in September 2012another respectable figure that Park finds hard to believe. She says a spurt of lending in the past two years took place in "an underwriting environment that was more relaxed compared with that of 2008 and 2009″ and that the 4.5 per cent figure "likely understates the true extent of problem assets in the banks' loan portfolios, and could increase in the coming 12-18 months." As the chart shows, while NPL ratios have fallen, the stock of non-performing loans in the mining sector is on the rise.

It's a similar story with capital ratios. Park says the sector's Tier 1 ratio and capital adequacy ratio were 11.3 per cent and 15.1 per cent in September 2012 – high by many standards. But again, she suspects this position may be overstated because of under-provisioning due to inadequate classification of impaired loans and low risk weights assigned to inter-bank exposures. Most banks, she says, will need to raise capital in the next few years.

Although this is the first Moody's report on the sector as a whole, the agency does have ratings for the four biggest of Mongolia's 14 banks: the Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia, Khan Bank, Golomt Bank and XacBank. All have local and foreign currency ratings of B1 with a stable outlook. But stable is a relative term: their B1 rating brands all the banks as highly speculative credits, four notches below investment grade. What's more, Park writes: "negative rating actions are more likely than positive actions over the next 12-18 months."

We'll leave you with Park's comments on the sector's capital ratios and the results of her stress tests. She reckons the adverse scenario detailed below is the most likely to come true.

Stress test outcomes underscore the fragility of the banking sector and the need to strengthen capital. In our scenario analyses (Exhibit 9), the estimated Tier 1 ratio fell by as much as 3.7 percentage points under an adverse scenario where we assumed a 30% increase in NPLs from 2011. In our highly adverse scenario, which calibrates the extremely stressed period evident during the 2008-09 financial crisis, the system reports net losses, and the Tier 1 ratio would drop by seven percentage points. These results support our view that the banks require Tier 1 ratios well above 10% in order to secure adequate buffers for frontier-market risks and to sustain high loan growth.

Source: Moody's. Note: NPL projections are based on an assumption of an absence of NPL disposals in both stress scenarios.

Link to article


Mongolia First-Quarter Exports Decline 7.8%, Imports Drop 17.3%

April 11 (Bloomberg) Mongolia's exports declined 7.8 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier and imports fell 17.3 percent, the National Statistics Office said today.

Exports totaled $809.2 million in the first three months of this year, falling by $68.6 million from a year earlier, and imports were $1.2 billion, down $252.9 million, according to the statistics bureau.

Mongolia's central bank cut interest rates from April 8 for the second time this year after economic growth moderated to 12.3 percent last year from a record 17.3 percent in 2011. Growth slowed after the price of coal, Mongolia's biggest export, declined and additional controls on foreign ownership of mining assets introduced by government last year led to a 17 percent decline in 2012 foreign investment.

The nation's annual exports fell 9 percent last year to $4.38 billion as imports rose 2.1 percent to $6.74 billion, according to the statistics office.

Link to article


NSO: Social and economic situation of Mongolia (As of the first quarter of 2013)

April 11 (NSO) --

I. Social indicators

In the first quarter of 2013, 18872 mothers delivered 18952 children (live births) increased by 1211 mothers or 6.9 percent, and 1215 children or 6.9 percent, compared to same period of the previous year.

In the first quarter of 2013, at national level infant mortality increased by 17 or 5.8 percent to 311, and child mortality aged 1-5 decreased by 1 or 1.7 percent to 58.

The number of unemployed reached 35.2 thousand at the end of March 2013, reflecting an decreased by 14.9 thous.persons or 29.7 percent compared to same period of the previous year.

In the first quarter of 2013, 538.4 thous.persons were registered as insurer, of which 344.9 thousand or 64.1 percent were those from the establishments, and 193.5 thousand or 35.9 percent from the government budgetary organization. Compared to same period of the previous year, the number of insurers increased by 50.9 thousand or 10.4 percent, of which the increased by 38.1 thousand or 12.4 percent from establishments, and increased by 12.7 thousand or 7.0 percent from government budgetary organization...

In the first quarter of 2013, social welfare pensions and benefits allocated to 53.7 thous.persons, showing an increase of 21 persons total amount of the allocated fund increased by 9.5 bln.tog or 2 times compared to same period of the previous year.

In the first quarter of 2013, a total of 52.7 bln.tog for distributed for children aged below 18 of 868.1 thous.persons by the Human Development Fund for children. For the one mln.tog cash allowances to allocated from The Human Development fund for the elderly and disabled, the fund paid out a total 4.1 mln.tog.

In the first quarter of 2013, the number of infectious disease cases was 10538 persons, decreased by 458 cases or 4.2 percent compared to same period of the previous year. The decrease in the number of viral hepatitis was mainly due to the diseases of 1832 persons or 64.7 percent. Although there was increases of 606 persons or 69.5 percent in syphilis and 422 persons or 37.3 percent in mumps and 526 persons or 28.7 percent in gonococcal infection.

At national level, 6165 crimes were registered in the first quarter of 2013, reflecting an increase of 377 crimes or 6.5 percent compared to same period of the previous year. The increase in the number of crimes was mainly due to the increases in crime against the right of ownership (256), crime against human life and health (or physical well-being) (144) compared to same period of the previous year.

In the first quarter of 2013, occurred crimes caused 2076 injuries and 306 deaths. The number of injuries up by 167 persons or 8.7 percent and death cases has decreased by  48 persons or 13.6 percent compared to same period of the previous year.

II. Macroeconomic indicators

The national consumer price index in March 2013, increased by 0.8 percent compared to the previous month, 3.6 percent compared to the beginning of the year and 9.8 percent compared to same period of the previous year. The increase in national index compared to the previous month was mainly due to 0.8 percent increase in 1.8 percent food and non-alcoholic beverages.

According to the report of the Bank of Mongolia, money supply (broad money or M2) at the end of March 2013, reached to 7293.7 bln.tog, increased by 55.7 bln.tog or 0.8 percent compared to the previous month, and increased by 1188.9 bln.tog or 19.5 percent compared to same period of the previous year.

At the end of March 2013, currency issued in circulation reached 687.7 bln.tog, increased by 12.1 bln.tog or 1.8 percent compared to the previous month and increased by 39.3 bln.tog or 6.1 percent compared to same period of the previous year.

Loans outstanding at the end of March 2013, amounted to 7383.6 bln.tog, up by 215.1 bln.tog or 3.0 percent compared to the previous month, and up by 1602.1 bln.tog or 27.7 percent compared to same period of the previous year.

Principals in arrears at the end of March 2013 reached 99.9 bln.tog, decreased by 11.0 bln.tog or 9.9 percent compared to the previous month, increased by 38.5 bln.tog or 62.7 percent compared to same period of the previous year.

At the end of March 2013, the non-performing loans over the bank system reached 308.6 bln.tog, showing increases of 2.7 bln.tog or 0.9 percent compared to the previous month and decreased by 11.6 bln.tog or 3.6 percent compared to same period of the previous year.

In the first quarter of 2013, trading and 14.2 mln.shares valued at 8.7 bln.tog were traded.

In the first quarter of 2013, total  equilibrated revenue and grants of the General Government Budget amounted to 1103.4 bln.tog and total expenditure and net lending amounted to 1019.7 bln.tog, representing surplus of 83.7 bln.tog in the equilibrated balance of General Government Budget.

In the first quarter of 2013, current revenue of the General Government Budget amounted to 1103.2 bln.tog and current expenditure reached 986.9 bln.tog. Thus, the budget equilibrated current balance was in surplus of 116.3 bln.tog.

In the first quarter of 2013, tax revenue has expanded by 46.5 bln.tog or 5.0 percent. The increase was mainly due to the increases 43.0 bln.tog or 32.3 percent in social security contribution, 42.6 bln.tog or 12.5 percent in taxes on goods & services, 33.4 bln.tog or 15.2 percent in income tax, although there was decreases of 63.2 bln.tog or 37.8 percent in other tax, 11.9 bln.tog or 16.6 percent in taxes on foreign trades. 

In the first quarter of 2013, non-tax revenue increased by 11.3 bln.tog or 10.4 percent. The increase was mainly due to the increases of 20.3 bln.tog or 2.8 times in revenues from oil petroleum, 6.6 bln.tog or 63.6 percent in revenues from interest, 1.1 bln.tog or 10.4 percent in navigation fee, This was mainly due to  although there was decreases of 6.5 bln.tog or 63.1 percent in revenues from dividends, 5.1 bln.tog or 9.6 percent in revenues from budget entities and   5.0 bln.tog or 37.9 percent in revenues from others.

In the first quarter of 2013, total expenditure and net lending of the General Government Budget decreased by 85.1 bln.tog or 7.7 percent to 1019.7 bln.tog compared to same period of the previous year. This was mainly due to decreases of 180.6 bln.tog or 82.9 percent in capital expenditure, 28.9 bln.tog in times in lending minus repayments, although there was increases of 104.2 bln.tog or 27.0 percent in goods and services , 20.7 bln.tog or 4.5 percent in subsidies and transfers.

In the first quarter of 2013, Mongolia traded with 104 countries from all over the world and total external trade turnover reached 2014.2 mln.US dollars, of which exports made up 809.2 mln.US dollars and imports made up 1205.0 mln.US dollars.

External trade balance showed a deficit of 90.7 mln.US dollars in March 2013, while it was in deficit of 167.4 mln.US dollars in March 2012. Compared to same period of the previous year, deficit decreased by 76.7 mln.US dollars or 45.8 percent.

Total external trade turnover decreased by 321.5 mln.US dollars or 13.8 percent, of which imports down by 252.9 mln.US dollars or 17.3 percent, and exports down by 68.6 mln.US dollars or 7.8 percent, compared to same period of the previous year.

Mineral products, natural or cultured stones, precious metal, jewelry, coins, raw & processed hides, skins, fur & articles, animal origin products, textile articles and auto & air  water transport vehicles & their spare parts thereof accounted for 96.3 percent of the total export value amount.

III. Economic sector indicators

In the first quarter of 2013, at national level natural losses of adult animals up by 120.6 thous.heads or 98.1 percent to 243.6 thous.heads compared to same period of the previous year. Out of the losses of adult animals, 11.5 thousand were horses, 29.4 thousand were cows, 0.3 thousand were camels, 90.1 thousand were sheeps and 112.3 thousand were goats.

In the first quarter of 2013, the total industrial output increased by 33.7 bln.tog or 7.1 percent to 507.0 bln.tog (at 2005 constant prices) compared to same period of the previous year. The increase in the industrial output was mainly due to 21.8 percent and 2.1 times increases in тining and quarrying products crude petroleum, gold and3.8 percent and 4.5 times production of major increases in manufacturing sector such as bread, metal foundries, beer, milk, knitted goods, juice, bakery products, kind of sausage, soft drinks, metal steel, sheepskin coat, combed down.

In the first quarter of 2013, a total of 27.4 bln.tog of construction and installation work were carried out at the national level, of which, 26.6 bln.tog or 97.1 percent of the work were executed by domestic entities and 0.8 bln.tog or 2.9 percent by foreign entities.

The 4.3 bln.tog or 18.7 percent increase of construction and installation work compared to same period of the previous year was mainly due to the 3.6 bln.tog or 15.7 percent increase in works executed by domestic entities.

In the first quarter of 2013, 8.0 mln.tons freight and 88.5 mln.passengers (double counting) were carried by all types of transport, carried freight decreased by 359.9 mln.tons or 4.3 percent but passengers increased by 12.4 mln.persons or 16.3 percent compared to same period of the previous year.

According to the report of the Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology, maximum precipitation was registered in Bayanondor soum (20.2 mm) of Orkhon aimag in March 2013. In March 2013, Khovsgol soum of  Dornogovi aimag had the highest air temperature (23°C), while Otgon soum of Zavkhan aimag had the lowest air temperature (-34°C). Wind speed reached 40.0 m/sec in Bugat soum of Govi-Altai aimag and Bulgan soum of Omnogobi aimag.

Daily average concentration of nitrogen dioxide exceeded 31 times around the West crossroad in Ulaanbaatar city, 30 times around the 13th micro district of Ulaanbaatar city, 17 times around the 32nd Toirog, 11 times around Kharkhorin market, 6 times around the 1st micro district, daily average concentration of sulphur dioxide exceeded 25 times around the 32nd Toirog,  17 times around the West crossroad and around the 13th micro district, 16 times around the 1st micro district, 4 times around the Kharkhorin market respectively particulate matter less than 10 micrograms exceeded 29 times around the West crossroad, 22 times around the Kharkhorin market, 20 times around the 13th micro district, around the 32nd Toirog particulate matter less than 2.5 micrograms exceeded 17 times around the West crossroad, carbon dioxide exceeded the maximum allowable concentration of air quality standard in March 2013.

In the first quarter of 2013, 1125 disasters and accidents occurred. As a result, 21 people died, 135.7 thous.livestock and domestic animals had lost. By the types of disasters, 1062 times fires on possessions, 3.5 magnitude earthquake 21 times, 17 cases of domestic animal madness disease, 4 times of fires on forest and river and lake accidents,   3 times severe storm and floods and artisanal mining and rock falls, 2 times chemical substance usage and emergency calls, 1 times disaster, malignant anthrax and chemical substance usage,  animal infections and slug firearms accidents occurred in the first quarter of 2013.

In the first quarter of 2013, estimated damage caused by the disasters and accidents amounted to 5.2 bln.tog, severe storms 350.1 mln.tog, domestic animal madness 9.8 mln.tog, malignant anthrax and chemical substance usage  3.2 mln.tog

Link to report

Link to NSO March Statistical Bulletin (Mogi: link was broken but hopefully it'll get fixed)


Summary of the Government Bills Auction held on April 3

April 3 (Ministry of Finance) Total of 30.0 billion tugrik bills was announced to be sold on this auction, 30,000 quantities with 28 week maturity. Bids received totaled 30.5 billion tugriks and 30.0 billion tugrik bills were sold successfully at weighted average interest rate of 10.39.

Link to release


Summary of the Government Bills Auction held on April 10

April 10 (Ministry of Finance) Total of 40.0 billion tugrik bills was announced to be sold on this auction, 40,000 quantities with 12 week maturity. Bids received totaled 25.0 billion tugriks and 20.0 billion tugrik bills were sold successfully at weighted average interest rate of 10.17.

Link to article


BoM holds FX auction

April 11 (Bank of Mongolia) On the Foreign Exchange Auction held on April 11th, 2013 the BOM received from local commercial banks total bid offers of 44.2 million USD and 123.8 million CNY. BOM has sold 14.5 million USD as closing rate of 1413 and has refused for bid offer of CNY.

On April 11th, 2013, The BOM received MNT Swap agreement bid offer of 52 million from domestic commercial banks and BOM has accepted all the offers for swap agreement.

Link to release


Asian Development Outlook 2013: Asia's Energy Challenge: Mongolia

April 13 (ADB) Continuing economic trends feature high growth and inflation, procyclical fiscal policy, and large current account deficits. GDP growth decelerated to 12.3% in 2012 from 17.5% in 2011 (Mogi: wait ADB has its own GDP data? I thought it was 17.3%), and inflation accelerated. Overly expansionary policies, including substantial off-budget spending, have caused internal and external macroeconomic imbalances. Over the longer term, sound public resource management and effective cooperation with private investors are needed to develop Mongolia's energy sector in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

Economic performance

Economic growth slowed to 12.3% in 2012, falling from 20.2% year on year in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 10.5% in the third quarter of 2012, after a slowdown in growth in the PRC curbed demand for coal, Mongolia's biggest export. A driver of growth was infrastructure spending related to the mining boom, albeit to a lesser extent than in 2011, as the first phase of the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine—among the five largest in the world—neared completion. As a result, gross capital formation, including equipment, buildings, and intermediate goods, increased by 24.0%, markedly down from the 69.9% of 2011 but still the largest contributor to GDP growth, followed by consumption (Figure 3.12.1).

While economic growth in 2012 originated in the mining sector, it was quite broadly based (Figure 3.12.2). Construction continued to boom, raising concerns about another bubble as in 2004–2008. Mining grew by 8.9% to generate 89.2% of exports, 17% of government revenue, and 18.6% of GDP, while employing less than 2% of the workforce. Agriculture, which provides more than one-third of employment, finally emerged from the devastating winter of 2009/10 that had decimated the country's livestock by nearly a fifth. However, growth in wholesale and retail trade slowed to 10.3% from 38.3% in 2011, as spending on investment and intermediate goods decelerated.

Inflation has remained high in Mongolia while declining in other Asian countries, owing mainly to rapidly rising government spending and higher food prices. In 2012, headline inflation increased to 14.3%, but core inflation (excluding food and energy prices) was more stable and averaged 10.5% (Figure 3.12.3).

Fiscal policy in 2012 continued to be procyclical, with the overall cash budget deficit rising to 7.7% of GDP from 4.8% in 2011 and the structural budget deficit rising to 8.3% from 6.9% in 2011. The initial government budget for 2012 projected revenue growth equal to 40% of GDP, expenditure growth of about 32%, and a cash budget deficit of 1%. But cash revenues rose by only 11.2%, as value-added taxes and customs duties did not grow as expected. The government plans to issue $5 billion in bonds on the international market, of which $1.5 billion was sold in November 2012. The proceeds are expected to be transferred to the Development Bank of Mongolia (DBM), which is becoming a major source of public financing for infrastructure projects, corresponding to 3.6% of GDP in 2012. The Fiscal Stability Fund, mandated under the 2010 Fiscal Stability Law (FSL), held MNT328 billion in December 2012, which corresponds to 2.4% of GDP and is likely insufficient in case of a substantial shock (Figure 3.12.4).

Monetary policy has been mildly countercyclical in recent years. Mandated by law to pursue price stability, the central bank raised the policy rate in 2012 by 1 percentage point to 13.25%, as inflation rose substantially above the official target ceiling of 10%. This measure and a three-step increase in the reserve requirement ratio to 12% in April 2012 from 5% in February 2011 have contributed to a significant slowdown in money and credit growth. Broad money (M2) growth slowed from 37.0% in 2011 to 18.8% in 2012, and growth in bank credit almost halved in the same period. Although inflation remained above target, in January 2013 the central bank lowered the policy rate by 0.75 percentage points to 12.50%, citing a drop in inflation. Negative real interest rates and the recent cut in the policy interest rate indicate an expansionary monetary policy.

External trade slowed in 2012. The value of merchandise exports (mainly minerals) fell by 9% in response to a slowdown in PRC growth, while imports increased by 2.1%, widening the trade deficit. Meanwhile, a narrower deficit in the services account helped trim the current account deficit to 31.3% of GDP in 2012 from 31.5% in 2011. Foreign direct investment, largely in mining, decreased to 37.8% of GDP from 53.8% in 2011 (Figure 3.12.5). The resulting basic balance—the current account balance plus foreign direct investment—remained positive but smaller. At year-end, gross international reserves had accumulated to $4.09 billion, equal to 7 months of imports. These reserves included drawdowns from a swap line with the PRC, central bank deposit taking from the DBM, and the recent international bond issuance, such that the share of borrowed reserves rose significantly.

In response to the 2008/09 crisis, the government adopted a broadly floating exchange rate regime toward instituting inflation targeting. However, during 2012, the central bank occasionally intervened to limit the togrog's depreciation. This eroded how effectively monetary policy could control inflation and the adverse effects of the Dutch disease. The official exchange rate of the togrog against the dollar has fallen by 8% since April 2012, while the real exchange rate continues its trend appreciation caused by high domestic inflation (Figure 3.12.6).

Economic prospects

Mongolia's medium-term economic prospects are favourable. The mining sector is expected to continue to be the main engine of growth in 2013 and 2014, with commercial production at the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine starting in mid-2013. Growth is expected to accelerate to 16.5% in 2013, before being trimmed to 14% in 2014 by capacity constraints in public investment planning and project management, a tight labor market and skill shortages, and some tightening of monetary and fiscal policies including lower off-budget spending financed by the DBM (Figure 3.12.7).

Until that tightening takes place, inflation is expected to remain well into double digits, reaching about 13% in 2013 (Figure 3.12.8). Assuming more prudent fiscal policy and some tightening of monetary policy in 2014, inflation could be brought down to 10%.

The 2013 government budget is the first prepared under the full effect of the FSL, which sets ceilings on the structural deficit, debt, and expenditure growth. These ceilings function as fiscal circuit breakers and work together to ensure fiscal discipline.

The 2013 budget foresees overall revenue growth at 28.9%; expenditure growth at 17.9%, mainly reflecting a sharp increase in capital expenditure; and an overall budget deficit of 1.1% in cash terms and 2% structural, which is the maximum allowed under the FSL. The revenue projections are overly optimistic, however, as they are not based on actual revenue outcome in 2012, but on the much higher revenue projections of the 2012 supplementary budget, setting the stage for a significant revenue shortfall and a deficit violating the FSL ceiling. The government is expected, however, to tighten public expenditure as needed in 2013 to comply with the FSL and constrain lending by the DBM.

Under the assumption of stable global commodity prices and continued high economic growth in the PRC, Mongolia's mineral dominated exports will likely show very strong growth over the next 2 years, while imports grow moderately in line with a slowdown in mining investments partly compensated by high growth in public investments, especially infrastructure (Figure 3.12.9). These developments are expected to drive the current account deficit down to 22% of GDP this year and 15% in 2014. The net effect of the start of Oyu Tolgoi operations on the balance of payments will be limited in 2013, as gross export proceeds will go mostly to repaying investment costs.

The outlook for 2013 and 2014 is subject to substantial risks. A renewed slowdown in the PRC, which absorbs almost all of Mongolia's exports (92.6% in 2012), is the biggest external risk. A worsening of the global economy, in particular in the euro area, could also be damaging. Internal risks are expansionary monetary and fiscal policy, including off-budget expenditure, and the possibility of renewed problems in the banking sector. The price stabilization program announced in October 2012, through which the central bank provides loans at subsidized interest rates through the commercial banks to specified industries, aims to contain supply-side inflationary pressure but may intensify those from the demand side and create macroeconomic risks and distortions. The program amounts to about 14% of GDP over a three-year period. The DBM's operations undermine the integrity of the FSL and should be taken into account when judging the short- to medium-term macroeconomic impact and long-term sustainability of government spending. Without strong fiscal retrenchment, adherence to FSL requirements, and appropriate monetary management, inflation in the forecast period could be higher.

The fragile banking system has been reinforced, but vulnerabilities remain. Nonperforming loans fell to 4.3% of all loans in November 2012, and the capital adequacy ratio for systemically important banks was raised to 14%, among other measures. However, the banking system continues to suffer structural weakness related to corporate governance and risk management. Moreover, the rapid acceleration of bank lending in 2011 has masked growing problems in asset quality that can leave banks exposed.

Policy challenge—energy security

Mongolia's growing demand for energy, heavy dependence on coal as its major energy source, and reliance on two big neighbors—the PRC and the Russian Federation—for increasingly important oil challenge its economic development. Rising demand for energy reflects rapid economic growth, the development of the mining industry, and the doubling of Ulaanbaatar's population since 1995. Oil imports—more than 90% from the Russian Federation—have risen by 44% since 2003 (Figure 3.12.10).

Mongolia has vast proven reserves of coal and some oil, but their exploitation has been either delayed or inefficient (Figure 3.12.11). Coal fuels 70% of electricity generation and 90% of heating but with poor energy efficiency. Facilities are old, and electricity tariffs below market rates put proper maintenance and investment in new plants beyond the reach of undercapitalized plant operators. Ulaanbaatar has no spare capacity for power and heat. Many households unconnected to the grid use coal stoves, polluting the air in Ulaanbaatar and other urban areas.

The government has a two-pronged approach to energy vulnerability. In the short-term, it attempts to stabilize energy prices to protect consumers. To this end, oil imports have been exempted from custom duties and excise taxes in autumn and spring.

Over the longer term, the government is considering using public–private partnership to expand electricity generating capacity. It is preparing an energy master plan that defines long-term priorities and intends to build a 450 megawatt combined heat and power plant in Ulaanbaatar. This project, if successfully implemented, will show the government to be a credible partner of the private sector, which is important for developing energy resources. The government has announced plans to finish constructing its first oil refinery by 2015.

Meanwhile, Mongolia has huge potential for renewable energy resources. The country's first wind farm, at Salkhit, is expected to add 5% of national electricity supply while reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Solar resources are substantial, and there is potential for hydropower. Tapping these resources requires sound public planning and resource management and effective cooperation with private investors.

Link to report

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Presidential Election Set for June 26

April 11 ( The spring plenary session of Parliament discussed the draft resolution on the date announcement of the Presidential Election today, Thursday April 11th. 

The General Election Committee introduced suggestions to the Standing Committee on State Structure to announce the date of the Presidential Election on April 22nd 2013 and to conduct the Presidential Election voting on June 26th 2013. Suggestions were also made to poll votes of constituents residing in the countries where there are Mongolian diplomat consuls on June 14-16 2013. Most of the members of the Standing Committee on State Structure agreed with the suggestions. 

The Parliament draft resolution was approved by 74.5 percent of the members attending the plenary session on the date announcement of the Presidential Election according to results of a poll. 

The official announcement of the date of presidential election will be on April 22nd. 

Voting for the Presidential Election will be conducted on June 26th. 

Mongolians who have the right to vote in the countries where there are Mongolian diplomat consuls will vote for the Presidential Election on June 14-16th. 

Link to article


Bayartsogt: The Bombshell that Fizzled

April 11 (The Mongolist) A week has passed since the revelations about Deputy Speaker S. Bayartsogt's offshore company and Swiss bank account were first reported by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). As mentioned in previous posts on this blog here and here, Mr. Bayartsogt neglected to claim the company and account on his official disclosure forms to the Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) as required of all elected representatives and high-ranking officials in Mongolia (Mogi: actually every public servant must declare their assets). At this point he has only admitted to having violated those local regulations and codes of conduct. The more scandalous implication of the report is that it provides strong circumstantial evidence of a political leader abusing his official position for personal gain, and his public image as a proponent of the Oyu Tolgoi (OT) project also adds another layer of intrigue for conspiracy minded critics of the mine project. Given the popular perception that corruption is endemic among politicians and the accusations of wrongdoing routinely tossed around by critics of the OT project, this story had all the makings of a first rate political scandal. Yet, it appears to have fizzled for three reasons.

The first is that the opposition Mongolian People's Party (MPP) chose not to make the scandal an issue during the opening of the spring session of parliament. The MPP instead made a spectacle during the proceedings by holding up signs criticizing PM Atlankhuyag's government.1 Some party members also walked out of the chamber during President Elbegdorj's remarks (Mogi: I thought every MPP & MPRP member walked out) to participate in a protest rally just outside the parliament building. The daily newspapers Unuudur and Zuunii Medee described the MPP as taking a page from former MP L. Gundalai's play book.2, 3 For those not familiar with L. Gundalai, he was an MP who represented Khuvsgul Aimag from 2000-2012. He was notorious for his antics and theatrics to the point that the verb гүндалайдах (gundalaidakh) was coined to refer to general political buffoonery. Holding up signs and disrupting official proceedings, as the MPP did during the opening session, was pure гүндалайдах behavior. The MPP's main justifications for making a scene were that PM Altankhuyag's government has allegedly violated the constitution on several occasions and has allowed economic conditions in the country to deteriorate.4 The latter criticism in particular should have had some teeth on its own given the steady stream of bad economic news of late, so the theatrics were somewhat hard to comprehend from a tactical perspective. The гүндалайдах behavior likely only served to undermine any legitimate criticisms of the current government in the eyes of the public.

The second is that on Sunday PM Altankhuyag and an entourage of about 70 people went missing in the mountains northeast of Ulaanbaatar in Khentii Aimag.5 The group was caught in a fierce snowstorm according to reports, and rescue crews were sent out to search for the party.6, 7 For several hours Sunday evening and Monday morning the PM was lost. When the group was finally found, some were medevaced to hospitals in Ulaanbaatar, but no one was seriously injured. A few years ago another politician went missing on Lake Khuvsgul, and an expensive aerial search was mounted for him.8 The politician eventually reappeared having been at a secluded location on Lake Khuvsgol on vacation without notifying anyone.9 The politician was, you guessed it, Mr. Gundalai. As such, comparisons to Mr. Gundalai's disappearance have prompted the use of the word гүндалайдах in at least one critical media report to describe the PM's misadventure in the Khentii mountains.10 Гүндалайдах is a versatile word in Mongolian politics.

The third is Mr. Bayartsogt was in Germany from shortly after his press conference until yesterday according to one local report.11 The daily newspapers have carried very little information since the initial revelations and press conference, so there has been little additional examination of the scandal in the mainstream press. I have seen a few articles about other high-ranking officials around the world revealed in the ICIJ report facing political pressure in their home countries, but nothing significant about Mr. Bayartsogt's own scandal.12

Between the spectacle of the MPP theatrics, the PM going missing, and Mr. Bayartsogt being out of the country, what should have been a fairly explosive revelation already appears to be old news. Mongolian politics can be a messy business with a lot of side shows and distractions as this week has demonstrated. In terms of the strained relationship between the government and Rio Tinto and outspoken critics of the OT project, the scandal being a dud is a good thing. It would only have served as an unhelpful distraction. However, in terms of public discussion on corruption, it is unfortunate if this issue ends up not serving as a catalyst in the evolution of the public's understanding of the many sophisticated ways officials can potentially abuse power. PM Altankhuyag's "Reform Government" is missing an opportunity to prove they are serious about reforming politics and governance in Mongolia by addressing the issue head on, but it is also understandable politically why the government would avoid doing that in the absence of outside political or public pressure. For now it appears to be the bombshell that fizzled.


1. С. Туул, "МАН-ын Гэнэтийн Бэлэгтэй Чуулган Нээлээ", Өнөөдөр,, 2013-04-06.

2. Ibid.

3. М. Ганцэцэг, "Тавын Эсрэг Найм", Зууны Мэдээ, 2013-04-08, pg. 2.

4. "МАН Ерөнхий сайдыг огцруулна гэв",,, 2013-04-10.

5. "Намайг Олоорой", Өнөөдөр,, 2013-04-10.

6. Б. Гал, "Бурхан халдунд авирсан 69 хүнийг олжээ",,, 2013-04-08.

7. "Бурхан Халдунд ийм юм болов",,, 2013-04-10.

8. "Намайг Олоорой", Өнөөдөр,, 2013-04-10.

9. Ibid.

10. "Ерөнхий сайд цасанд боогдсон уу аль эсвэл 'Гүндалайдсан уу'", Үнэн,, 2013-04-08.

11. Б. Отгоо, "С.Баярцогт өнөөдөр эх орондоо ирлээ", Үдэстэн,, 2013-04-10.

12. For example see, Ж. Цогзолмаа, "Оффшор Бүсийн 2.5 Сая Баримтыг Илрүүлжээ", Зууны Мэдээ, 2013-04-08, pg. 5.

Link to article


Deputy Speaker's disclosure failure yet to be discussed

April 11 ( Many politicians whose offshore companies were revealed but that were not include in their income declarations have come to light. 

One of these politicians was the Deputy Speaker of Mongolia, Sangjav Bayartsogt. He confirmed that his account at one point contained more than one million US dollars when he was confronted with the evidence of his offshore entity and secret Swiss bank account.

Sangjav Bayartsogt who signed the controversial Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement in 2009 agreed that he has not informed about the offshore company and secret bank account during press conference.  

Currently the Anti Corruption Authority has not started an investigation into the case.  The Ethic"s Sub-Committee of Parliament should discuss the MP`s law breaking case according to law

The Chairwoman of the Ethic"s Sub-Committee, Migeddorj Batchimeg, spoke stated that "the issue is not included in the subjects to be discussed yet. Members of the Ethic"s Sub-Committee are analyzing the case." 

The case is therefore expected to be discussed soon in Parliament. 

Parliament will discuss the case after the Ethic"s Sub-Committee has spoken about the issue. It might then be transferred to the Anti-Corruption Authority if it is seen as necessary. If it is not, Parliament will take responsibility due to its power. 

MP and Deputy Speaker Sangijav Bayartsogt might be demoted, imposed a fine or reprimanded for failing to include his secret bank account and offshore entity in the income declaration. 

Link to article

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ADB Introduces Redevelopment Plan to Bayankhoshuu Ger District Residents with Mayor

April 11 ( The Governor of the Capital City and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, E.Bat-Uul and the Team Leader, ADB PPTA for MFF on Ulaanbaatar Urban Services and Ger Areas Development Investment Program, Bharat Dahiya met residents of Bayankhoshuu, suburb ger district on Thursday April 11th. The Ulaanbaatar City Governor`s Office signed a cooperation memorandum with Asian Development Bank for the re-planning and development of the ger district areas of 7, 8, 9, 10, 28 khoroos, covering a total 162 hectares in Bayankhoshuu with a population of 200,000.  

The Asian Development Bank introduced the project to re-plan and develop the ger district to citizens who gathered during the meeting. 

The project team developed a 10 year plan that will be run in three main phases to develop Bayankhoshuu. 

The Asian Development Bank supported the largest re-construction with 500 million US dollars finance. It is estimated that the first two phases will require 240 million US dollars. The second phase of the project will be started in 2015 after the first phase of construction is completed in 2013-2018. 

The project team has planned to build a 2.73 km long sewage system in order to expand it to the sub-center and a 6 km infrastructure line along the road and two new steamers this year. 

Two business and development shopping malls with parking are also planned to be built in Bayankhoshuu. 

The project coordinators stated that citizens` participation and effort is important to start such a huge project. 

Residents in Bayankhoshuu held several meetings with project coordinators to share opinions and information about the re-planning of the ger district. 

The Ulaanbaatar Urban Services and Ger Areas Development Investment Program offered three choices to residents of the Bayankhoshuu ger district:

Stay in their ger yard paying the expenses for the engineering of infrastructure delivery; pay expenses for the engineering infrastructure while selling some parts of their land to the re-planning project; or work with the project coordinator to replace property or land with an apartment. 

Parliament will discuss the project and whether or not to grant the right to the coordinator to develop the project for the re-planning of the ger district. 

Link to article


Inspection finds 4,256 hectares of land damaged & abandoned by mining

April 11 ( The Mineral Resources Authority and the Ministry of Environment and Green Development jointly conducted an inspection among mining companies that operate in the field in Mongolia.

As result of the inspection conducted in territory of total 20 aimags it was revealed that a total of 22,752 hectares granted under special licenses have been mined. 

Currently only 9100 hectares have had any remediation works and 4175 hectares of this had bioremediation done. Mining companies are supposed to carry out rehabilitation in the surrounding nature during mining activities.

But 4256 hectares of land has been damaged by mining activities and abandoned with no rehabilitation

The Ministry of Mining is considering having the abandoned and damaged area rehabilitated by a qualified remediation company by raising 1 billion MNT from the Government budget. The process of rehabilitation will be run in stages. 

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Turkey willing to intensify relations with Mongolia

Turkish PM Erdogan said the trade volume should be increased to 250 million USD by 2015 

April 11 (World Bulletin) Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Mongolian Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag on Thursday.      

Erdogan said in a joint press conference, "with the support of Turkey, Mongolia was accepted as the 57th member of Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)".      

Erdogan said that Turkey's aim was to improve the trade volume with Mongolia from 36 million USD to 250 million USD by 2015.      

Erdogan noted that the relationship and cooperation between Turkey and Mongolia developed after Turkish Airlines (THY) started flights between the two countries, and added that the number of flights rose from three to seven times a week, and another aim was to hold cargo trips too.      

Turkey built 400 residences in Mongolia within the scope of reconstruction of the country in the last 10 years, Erdogan reminded. 

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Turkey, Mongolia initiate mutual visa liberalization

April 12 (APA) Turkey and Mongolia signed an agreement to initiate mutual visa liberalization between the two countries on Thursday, APA reports quoting Todays Zaman.

During Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's diplomatic visit to Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia, which included holding talks with Mongolian officials, a cooperation agreement that foresees the lifting of visas between the two countries was signed.

Erdoğan conducted high-level diplomatic talks during his visit to Mongolia on Thursday, giving messages on further developing ties between Turkey and the Central Asian country.

Erdoğan held a private meeting with his Mongolian counterpart Norovyn Altankhuyag in the capital of Ulan Bator on Thursday. After that, officials from the two countries had an inter-delegation meeting.

During a joint press appearance with Erdoğan on Thursday after the meetings, Altankhuyag expressed his wish that more Turks would visit Mongolia after such an agreement. The prime minister noted that a total of 6,500 Mongolians visited Turkey last year but only a one-tenth of this figure visited Mongolia from Turkey.

Meanwhile, İbrahim Kalın, the deputy undersecretary of the prime minister, announced on his Twitter account that the number of Turkish Airlines flights between İstanbul and Ulan Bator will be increased.

Erdoğan was accompanied by Deputy Prime Ministers Bülent Arınç and Bekir Bozdağ, Culture and Tourism Minister Ömer Çelik, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek and Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy chairmen Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Menderes Türel in the inter-delegation meeting.

After the meetings, Erdoğan and Altankhuyag made a joint press appearance, emphasizing the flourishing ties between the countries.

Mongolia was the last stop of Erdoğan's Central Asian tour. Erdoğan went to Mongolia directly after making another diplomatic visit to Kyrgyzstan on Thursday.

Under the scope of his visit, Erdoğan also met with Z. Enkhbold, the chairman of the State Great Khural, or parliamentary speaker, later on Thursday. He also attended an official dinner given by his Mongolian counterpart in the evening.

Erdoğan was welcomed with an official ceremony during his arrival to Mongolia. During the ceremony, horse-riding military unit, symbolizing the army of the founder of the Mongolian Empire, Genghis Khan, paraded on Sukhbaatar Square in the capital. The national anthems of both countries were also played during the ceremony. Greeting Mongolian soldiers at the ceremony, Erdoğan also placed a wreath upon a monument of Genghis Khan.

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Turkish-Mongolian ties to reach new heights

April 11 (Hizmet Movement) The ties between Turkey and Mongolia, which have remained relatively modest so far, are expected to get a substantial boost with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit this week.

"Erdoğan's visit will give a great impetus to bilateral relations," Badamdorj Batkhishig, Mongolian ambassador to Ankara, has said.

There are currently 56 Turkish companies in Mongolia, mostly in the restaurant business and leather industry. Last month, around 10 businesspeople from the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) visited Mongolia, and 20 more Turkish businesspeople plan to pay a visit this month.

But it's not only economic relations which connect Mongolia and Turkey. "Historical ties connect us more than money, because Turkish and Mongolian people are connected to each other by history," Batkhishig emphasized. The Turkish and Mongolian nations share common historical roots, and Mongolia sees Turkey as its "third neighbor," though the country is physically surrounded by only China and Russia.

There are currently around 900 Mongolian students in Turkish universities, with half of them getting scholarship from the Turkish government. A Turkology department was established at the Mongolian National University by a protocol signed between the university and TİKA in 2001. "Mongolians learn Turkish very fast," the ambassador noted, because the sentence structure is very similar. The two languages have more than 1,000 common words such as "elçi" which means envoy. Turkish schools in Mongolia also play a major role in connecting the two peoples. There are at present five Turkish schools in Mongolia, with two of them being in Ulan Bator, and the remaining three in other cities. Turkish schools, which teach in three languages, namely Mongolian, English, and Turkish, are in high demand in the country.

The first Turkish school in Mongolia was established in 1994, and more than 3,000 students have graduated so far from these schools, in which there are Mongolian students from all segments of the society. Turkish schools were voted best among high schools in Mongolia in a poll in the country at the beginning of this year. "Turkish schools are very popular in Mongolia," affirmed the Mongolian ambassador.
Excerpted from the article published on Today's Zaman, 09 April 2013, Tuesday

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Belarus suggests setting up joint ventures with Mongolia

MINSK, 11 April (BelTA) – Belarus would like to bolster mutually beneficial all-round cooperation with Mongolia, Deputy Premier of Belarus Mikhail Rusy said as he met with Minister for Industry and Agriculture of Mongolia Khaltmaa Battulga on 11 April, BelTA has learnt.

Last year the trade between Belarus and Mongolia was estimated at $112 million. According to Mikhail Rusy, the two countries are well-positioned to expand the bilateral ties. "Our countries have capacities to boost the all-round cooperation, including in industry and agriculture," he said. In particular, Belarus is ready to increase exports to Mongolia, including supplies of dump trucks and farm machines. "We are ready to consider suggestions on the import of Mongolia products that can be in great demand in Belarus," the Vice Premier said. 

Another promising cooperation avenue is personnel training. Belarusian universities and vocational training facilities can offer majors in land reclamation, land management, veterinary science and other fields. 

Mikhail Rusy suggested considering advancement to a higher cooperation level, from mere trade to establishment of joint ventures. "We believe that we should advance from mere trade to closer cooperation, establishment of joint ventures. The government of Belarus will uphold any initiatives related to implementation of mutually beneficial joint projects," he said. 

The Vice Premier reminded of the planned visit of Prime Minister of Belarus Mikhail Myasnikovich to Mongolia this year. The visit is expected to give a new impetus to the bilateral cooperation. 

Khaltmaa Battulga expressed hope that the bilateral cooperation will gain momentum. Mongolia is particularly interested in Belarusian agricultural machines. Agriculture makes a great contribution to economic development of Mongolia. "We need to improve physical infrastructure and we are able now to collaborate in this field. Belarus can offer what we need," he said. 

In January-February 2013 Belarus' export to Mongolia made up $36.95 million vs. $12.6 million in 2012, up almost three times. Belarus does not import anything from Mongolia. Belarus' major exports include oil products and mine trucks.

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Fourth meeting of INDIA-MONGOLIA Joint Committee on Cooperation

April 11 (Jagran Josh) The 4th Meeting of the India-Mongolia Joint Committee on Cooperation was held in New Delhi on 21 March 2013. It was jointly chaired by E. Ahamed, Minister of State for External Affairs of India, and Luvsannyam Gantumur, Minister for Education and Science of Mongolia. The Joint Committee reviewed the entire range of issues in India-Mongolia relations.

The Indian side conveyed that Indian companies were interested in playing a larger role in the Mongolian mineral processing and mining industry, and expressed the hope that a favourable environment for their operations could be created.

The Indian side reiterated its support for Mongolia's development processes and reaffirmed that it is modernizing the Rajiv Gandhi Polytechnic College of Production and Art in Ulaanbaatar. The Indian side is also considering setting up a milk processing plant in Mongolia. Implementation of the Line of Credit of US $20 million extended by India to Mongolia for setting up an India-Mongolia Joint Information Technology Education and Outsourcing Center in Ulaanbaatar was discussed.

Discussions during the Joint Committee Meeting also focused on continuation of joint military exercises, the proposed visit of an Indian business delegation to Mongolia this summer, the possibility of launching air services between India and Mongolia and the establishment of an India-Mongolia Joint School. The 5th Meeting of the Joint Committee on Cooperation will be held in Mongolia in 2014.

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Dr John MacDonald: Mongolia could be blueprint for Scots nuclear ban after independence

April 12 ( MONGOLIA has banned nuclear weapons from its soil, and Dr John MacDonald believes that Scotland could do exactly the same.

In WASHINGTON DC on Tuesday, Alex Salmond reiterated his commitment to an independent Scotland free of nuclear weapons. In articulating this to an American audience, his conviction on the issue is clearly undiminished.

The First Minister has referred to how a written Scottish constitution might help an independent Holyrood government achieve this aim. As he recently stated: "Scotland is currently the home of Western Europe's largest concentration of weapons of mass destruction. They are based on the River Clyde, within 30 miles of Scotland's largest city. A constitutional ban on the possession of nuclear weapons would end that obscenity."

But are his convictions justified? Could a written constitution really help in the removal of nuclear weapons from an independent Scotland?

The short answer to this is "Yes". For those who might require convincing, there are pertinent examples we can look to. Improbably, perhaps, Mongolia is one such example, a benchmark for how a state can enshrine nuclear weapons opposition into legislation which is then used to gain formal recognition by the international community.

The government of an independent Scotland, and those charged with scripting a written Scottish constitution, would do well to look to the Mongolian experience as an example of good – and effective – practice.

Before detailing the Mongolian experience, we might first consider the difficulties a newly independent Scotland would likely face on the nuclear weapons front, difficulties which might make the construction of a constitution all the more pressing.

One thing is certain: London and Washington would be desperate not to undermine the Anglo-American nuclear status quo and so the Scottish Government would likely come under great pressure to retain British nuclear weapons. Interestingly, the 1970 Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) complicates things somewhat. Since the NPT designates only five nuclear powers – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – an independent Scotland would not be recognised as a state entitled to possess nuclear weapons.

While this will be music to the ears of many Scottish citizens, it does not address what would actually happen to Scottish-held nuclear weapons in the event of a "Yes" vote. There will be no easy banishment of these weapons: the logistics are complicated and the British government has raised concerns over the financial cost of any re-siting of weapons from their current Scottish housings.

One possible – and extremely delicate – solution would be for Edinburgh and London to agree to continued "British management" of the Faslane and Coulport nuclear bases; they would effectively be "sovereign" UK nuclear bases on Scottish soil.

Whilst this arrangement would undoubtedly spark apoplexy throughout Scotland, it is a scenario recognised in international legislation. Under Article 1 of the NPT, a nuclear weapons state can site its nuclear weapons in a non-nuclear weapons state as long as the weapons and their housings are under full control of the nuclear weapons state.

Given the financial and logistical difficulties associated with relocating British nuclear weapons from Scotland, this arrangement may well appeal to both Downing Street and the White House. Both would likely apply great pressure on Edinburgh to assent and various "attractive propositions" would be made to the Scottish Government, ranging from generous recompense to assistance in helping Scotland through its various post-independence international negotiations.

The good news for nuclear weapons opponents is that a written Scottish constitution could effectively blunt any pressures that London and Washington might conceivably apply. Again, the NPT is significant.

Article VII of the NPT provides a proven pathway for states wishing to establish themselves as internationally recognised nuclear-weapon-free-zones (NWFZ). Mongolia is just one state that has taken this path. Significantly, written legislation played a key part in achieving this.

Addressing the UN in September 1992, the Mongolian president, Punsalmaagin Ochirbat, declared his newly independent country a nuclear-weapon-free-zone. This announcement was set against the backdrop of a collapsing Soviet Union, Russian troop withdrawals from Mongolia, and post-Communist Mongolia's wish to normalise relations with China. Within less than a year, Mongolia's declaration had been officially recognised and welcomed by both China and Russia.

Between 1993 and 2000, Mongolia's efforts to be internationally recognised as a NWFZ saw the scripting of legislation which culminated in the Law of Mongolia on Its Nuclear-Weapon-Free Status. Inextricably tied to the Mongolian constitution, its articles clearly outlined Mongolia's "nuclear position":

ARTICLE 4: Prohibitions resulting from the nuclear-weapon-free status.

4.1 An individual, legal person or any foreign state shall be prohibited on the territory of Mongolia from committing, initiating or participating in the following acts or activities relating to nuclear weapons:

4.1.1 develop, manufacture or otherwise acquire, possess or have control over nuclear weapons;

4.1.2 station or transport nuclear weapons by any means;

4.1.3 test or use nuclear weapons;

4.1.4 dump or dispose nuclear weapons grade radioactive material or nuclear waste.

4.2 Transportation through the territory of Mongolia of nuclear weapons, parts or components thereof, as well as of nuclear waste or any other nuclear material designed or produced for weapons purposes shall be prohibited.

These articles, formally submitted to the UN, send a clear and comprehensive message to the world and they have provided the focal point for the Mongolian government's subsequent – and successful – efforts to secure a deeper recognition of its NWFZ status. In September 2012, the five officially recognised nuclear powers (including Britain and the US) signed a formal pledge to "respect the nuclear weapon free status of Mongolia and not to contribute to any act that would violate it".

In the event of a "Yes" vote in 2014, Scotland's constitutional overseers would do well to look to Mongolia's example. It demonstrates a tested pathway towards internationally recognized NWFZ status and it shows the significance of having nuclear weapons opposition enshrined in legislation. Indeed, Mongolia's legislative articles might conceivably be written – almost word for word – into a Scottish constitution.

On reflection, then, it seems that several wise motives lie behind Mr Salmond's wish to see the illegality of nuclear weapons enshrined in a written Scottish constitution.

First, doing so would formally proclaim Scotland's nuclear weapons opposition to the world. It would ensconce this opposition within the collective consciousness of future generations of Scots, and would highlight Scotland as a progressive example for other states to follow.

Second, it would offer Scotland (and Scottish governments) strong legal protection against any future requests to host – temporarily or otherwise – nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons materials.

Third – and very importantly – writing "nuclear weapons are illegal here" into a formal constitution would provide critical democratic weight in Scotland's secession discussions with Downing Street and the White House over the removal of British nuclear weapons from Scottish soil.

Recent polls suggest that Scotland's role as "nuclear weapons host" is as unpopular with opponents of independence as it is with proponents. If this oppositional mood were to be enshrined into a publicly known constitution, it would make Scotland's "nuclear stance" crystal clear and the US and UK would find it extremely difficult to ignore the democratic will of the Scottish polity. Precedent would also weigh heavily upon London and Washington: having accepted Mongolia's formally proclaimed position, it is hard to see how they could ignore Scotland's.

• Dr John MacDonald is a political commentator and academic. He is currently lecturing at the University of Glasgow

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Mongolians say they are proud to be part of peacekeeping

April 11 (DVIDS) Lt. Col. Dorj Myagmarjav of the Mongolian Army said Mongolia only started peacekeeping in 2002 and wants to show they have a presence in the United Nations. He said his nation has learned a lot in a short period of time.

Members of the Mongolian Armed Forces participated in Shanti Prayas-2, a multinational peacekeeping training exercise involving platoons from 11 nations at the Birendra Peace Operations Training Center in Panchkhal, Nepal, as well as staff officer training involving 23 nations in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The two-week training exercise is part of the Global Peace Operations Initiative, a U.S. State Department program executed in the region by facilitators from U.S. Pacific Command. The training addresses major gaps in international peacekeeping operations. The program aims to build and maintain capability, capacity, and effectiveness of peacekeepers deploying to United Nations missions.

"As a member of the UN we want to show our presence and what we can do," Myagmarjav said.

Myagmarjav said he has been on both peacekeeping and military missions and has trained troops and operators.

"We are proud to be Mongolian and like working with other nations," he said. "When Mongolia is your country you have to be proud."

Myagmarjav said his soldiers are learning a lot from the exercise because it is very organized with new and different ideas.

"Young soldiers who will be deploying need to know this is their chance to train, train, train," Myagmarjav emphasized.

He said he is thankful for the opportunity to train in such a realistic environment.

"I would like to express deepest appreciation to GPOI and Nepal for the chance to share ideas and experience in peacekeeping," Myagmarjav added.

Lt. Narantseteg Altanbagana, a Mongolian Army trainer at the field training exercise, said he has been to Operation Iraqi Freedom with coalition forces, and to Sierra Leone, Chad and North Darfur as a peacekeeper.

"In real life situations you always learn more, but this is realistic and some lanes are similar to things I have experienced on missions," he said. "We try to combine training with real life as much as possible and share knowledge during scenarios."

Effective instructors have different points of views and are happy to share, Altanbagana explained.

"We are learning a lot from countries like Nepal and Bangladesh who have a lot of experience," he said.

"They are so happy to share with other trainers and troops — it is good for us."

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Social, Environmental and Other

Mongolia Health System Overview

2013 (WHO's Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policies) The Mongolian government has been committed to ensuring sustainable funding to the health sector and providing accessible and equitable quality health care to all citizens. As a result of prioritized and targeted efforts, health outcomes and indicators are improving. However, there are still problems associated with quality of care, inefficiency, implementation of reforms.

Written by:

Tsolmongerel Tsilaajav, Ministry of Health

Evlegsuren Ser-Od, Ministry of Health

Bulganchimeg Baasai, Asian Development Bank, Health Sector Development Project 3 & 4, Mongolia

Ganbat Byambaa, German International Cooperation Agency, Mongolia

Oyunbileg Shagdarsuren, EPOS Health Management, MCA-Mongolia Health Project, Mongolia

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EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Factsheet: Mongolia

April 2013 (EU) --


Facts & Figures

·         €9.27 million since 1994

·         €2.15 million in 2010

·         €200,000 in 2012

Through ECHO funding, nearly 150 million people are helped each year in more than 90 countries outside the EU through approximately 200 partners (International nongovernmental organisations, the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement, and UN agencies).

Key messages

·         Making rapid assessment of specific needs of those affected by natural disasters together with implementing partners

·         Responding effectively and efficiently to the humanitarian needs of those most affected by natural humanitarian emergencies

·         Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction measures in all humanitarian assistance and supporting specific DRR projects to strengthen the resilience of communities regularly affected by natural disasters

Humanitarian situation and needs


One third of the 2.7 million population of Mongolia, a country the size of Western Europe, leads a nomadic life and depends entirely on livestock for a living. The country was therefore severely affected when a dry summer followed by a harsh winter led to the death of a large number of livestock.

During this natural phenomenon known as "Dzud", temperatures in the winter of 2009-2010 dropped to -50°C across Mongolia.

Major needs and related problems

The sparely populated country is the size of Western Europe with poor transport infrastructure. Providing assistance is a challenge as many families live in their own family compounds which are constantly on the move, with herders seeking better grazing for their animals.

The European Union's Humanitarian Response


The European Union is providing €200,000 for humanitarian aid and fire prevention training to some 5,600 people living in difficult social conditions. The project will be implemented by the Finnish Red Cross which has been working closely with the Mongolian Red Cross for many years, most recently during the 2009-2010 "Dzud". The project will provide shelter support, non-food items, and psychosocial care to some 4,000 people, including winter-clothing for some 1,000 households. Due to a number of uncontrolled fires in urban areas and social care facilities during the recent harsh winter, the project will also train some 1,000 adults and 1,500 school children on how to safely heat homes and dormitories and fight uncontrolled fires. A number of rural households will also receive additional fodder for their domestic animals so that they survive until the end of the winter.

In 2010, ECHO also provided a total of €2.15 million humanitarian aid to some 46,000 people affected by the Dzud. This assistance was due to the effects of the harsh winter of 2010 when temperatures across Mongolia dropped to below -50°C. This winter was preceded by a dry summer. An estimated 8.5 million sheep, goats, cattle, camels and horses perished, leaving some 500,000 people or more than 18% of the population at risk. The Government of Mongolia declared a national disaster in January 2010 and appealed to the international community for food, medical and heating supplies, as well as funds to procure fodder for livestock. ECHO reacted quickly by providing €150,000 to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to address the emergency needs of some 1,200 worst-affected families with food, blankets and warm clothing. In May 2010, ECHO followed up by allocating €2 million to some 40,000 beneficiaries to secure survival of the livestock of the most affected communities; fodder supplies and fodder storage facilities are being funded.

Some 45,000 people were estimated to have lost all their livestock and some of these were forced to migrate to urban areas, where many faced difficulties adjusting to an urban setting and often ended up in chronic poverty, marginalised and exposed to disease. Therefore projects also provided food, health and social assistance to the affected population and vocational training, so that newly urbanised households could adapt to their new environment via access to job opportunities.

Particular attention was also paid to supporting the accommodation and hygiene of some 5,000 children in 34 public education institutions. This ensured that children of destitute herders received an education and were not forced into early labour to support their families.

Link to report


Ch.Otgochuluu : When I was a teenager everything felt extremely dramatic



April 11 (UB Post) Columnist Allyson Seaborn has an intimate series of questions she'll be asking intriguing Mongolian nationals each week. This new feature exposes their passions and memories about the land of eternal blue skies and sheds light on their past and future hopes. We look forward to bringing you on a new journey of discovery and hope you enjoy reading what these unique individuals have to share with readers.

This week features Ch.Otgochuluu, Director General at the Department of Strategic Policy and Planning at Mongolia's Ministry of Mining.

Ch.Otgochuluu, known to many simply as "Otgo," vividly describes how his mother taught him a song about Mongolia's only cosmonaut and how, "I believed I was born in the second best country in the world – the first one obviously being the USSR." His belief was based on the international proletarian connection which existed with Soviets at the time.

Ch.Otgochuluu's childhood was spent under the short period of socialist economic success (1980-1987), but also during the years of political uncertainty which eventually followed. It was a childhood he describes to me as a one which was marred when Boris Yeltsin stormed the Kremlin – an event he candidly says, "killed my childhood dream."

Of course, these days are long gone and you can now catch a glimpse of this very busy man at the Ministry of Mining. Prior to his appointment as the Director General of Strategic Policy and Planning, Ch.Otgochuluu was with Xac Bank and also served as an advisor to the President of Mongolia from 2009-2010 and Director of the Economic Policy and Competitiveness Centre.

And now here's more about a man who is positive Mongolia will develop towards prosperity in his lifetime – likely due in part to his unwavering commitment, hard work and passion for progress.

-Where were you born and where did you grow up?

-Once upon a time there was a small house named "2r Toeroh," otherwise known as the Second Maternity Hospital. That once upon a time is exactly 1978 according to the Gregorian calendar and the Year of the Horse according to the lunar year. It must be August if I see my birth registration and should be Leo according to the lunar calendar. So I was born in a so called sub-district named "50,000 er" in the heart of this new city Ulaanbaatar – or Red Hero. There was a time around 1960 when we perhaps had a friendlier relationship with the Chinese. We both shared the same values based on the German philosopher Marx and Russian revolutionary Lenin. The Chinese workers built the block houses between the Ikh Delguur and the West 4 crossing.

There was little to watch on TV so I played a lot outside on the street. I can remember that when I was an older kid I could not explain why TV shows always had smiling people, but in the streets and supermarkets I always saw nervous, drunken and angry people.

By the time I reached 2nd Class, I by class became a pioneer. Nobody asked me to join this pioneering community. It was a community which translates into "youth solidarity," an organization which prepared future members of the socialist party. This never really eventuated.

My family was quite large and my older brothers went to abroad to study, but I stayed mostly with my parents and younger sister. We lived relatively well because my parents earned more than the average salary. My dad spent some time translating the script of the Russian Communist Party so he got extra bonuses.  We could afford to buy the first ever Japanese colored TV, sold here in UB. My dad held a red card which allowed us to access the Russian shops which were barred to ordinary Mongolians. By about 5th Class I went to the pioneer's camp Nairamdal, which was somehow for "smart" kids or members of higher class families.

I remember it was spring and we heard that something was wrong in the city. A lot of people were gathering in the main square and were demonstrating. It wasn't an ordinary demonstration with red flags and huge pictures of Communist figureheads and slogans like "long live socialism." The very next day we heard some of these demonstrators were calling for a hunger strike. I couldn't understand why.

When I arrived back home my mom was very concerned – to Mongolians the words "hunger strike" are a very bad omen. So as a kid I realized something changed for the worse and the following years were very bad for me. School became chaotic, there was increasing crime, food scarcity, news of war from abroad – all a result of the collapsing Soviet Union. My dreams of visiting Red Square in Moscow and to meet these smiling people who always held flowers as they would in postcards, vanished overnight. The news about Boris Yeltsin storming the Kremlin killed my childhood dream. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mongolia felt the shockwaves of recession and burn out. This is the only conclusion I can make from my current perspective.

When I was a teenager everything felt extremely dramatic. Some kids faced hunger for the first time in their lives. There was no food at the supermarkets and meat became so scarce. Many people lost their jobs and alcoholism spread. Teachers, policemen and even doctors left their posts to go China or Russia to take up small trades in order to survive. In school it would be a good day if we were not beaten by newly created outlaw boys and girls. For the first time I saw my parents (and many other people) become powerless and pushed to go into retirement, even though were still able to work.

-Describe your most vivid childhood memory.

-I can always remember that first day that I went to school, but my most vivid memory shows how proud I was crossing the street with my new red galstuk around my neck. The dreams of children today are so different from the dreams children had in the past. Our children's dreams will always be different from our own.

-What do you like most about Mongolia today?

-Mongolia is an open country. We can now discuss things openly and also act more transparently. Everyone realizes the potential of being free and we will develop towards prosperity.

-What do you miss most about the Mongolia of yesterday?

-I miss the discipline and UB being a small and clean place. My home-town of Ulaanbaatar used to be organized and green. I remember the air was fresh and there were beautiful places for children to play in.

-What's your favorite holiday destination either overseas or within Mongolia?

-I have never had a holiday abroad. For businesses and conferences I have visited many countries including Bali in Indonesia. I really love the sea.  Domestically, I travel quite a lot. I prefer places in Mongolia surrounded by mountains and forests.

-Can you explain in English your favorite Mongolian expression or saying?

-I don't really have a favorite expression, but my friends say I'm always inquiring,  "how is your life?" – so I guess that's question I ask without much hesitation. I also like the saying ""how you picture your life is what your life is actually like."

-What hopes do you have for the future of Mongolia?

I hope for a continuously growing and much stronger middle class. We should have a better healthcare system and education system. We should have zero poverty and Mongolians who are not marginalized. For that, we should have a social mentality which supports a productive population.

-Who inspires you?

My mother really inspired me and still does – she passed away a few years ago, but her memory lives within me. She was very hard working and was extremely patient under stress. She gave birth to eight children (including me) while at the same time having a successful career during the socialist regime.

As a middle class boy, Karl Marx was my idol because his picture and slogans were everywhere to be seen.  But from my current perspective I have changed this viewpoint because I later found out that this inspiration was made by socialist propaganda.  As a high school boy some Hollywood stars were my inspiration. Right now however, I have to look upon my children. How they deal with daily challenges and how they solve these issues is important to me. They are fun and teach me many principles I was not previously aware of.

-What's your favorite pastime?

-I like to watch soccer (mostly CL), funny clips (gags) or historical documentaries on YouTube. Sometimes I play angry-birds on my tablet.

-What do you find most interesting about foreigners living in Mongolia? 

-I like how they solve the challenges on the street. Ulaanbaatar is growing so rapidly. Sometimes it's even difficult for a native like me to cross the streets avoid the smog in UB. It seems many foreigners have creative ways to make money here – an opportunity not yet realized by many Mongolians.

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