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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

[YAK continues cost cutting; MMC extends Thiess contract; MNT sets 15 straight lows; PM signals budget cuts; and GDP grows 1.4%]

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

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Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original

 

Int'l Market

MNGGF closed +0.17% Monday to US$0.301, YAK closed +4.11% to C$0.38

Mongolia Growth Group Announces Second Quarter 2016 Results

Toronto, Ontario, August 15 (FSCwire) - Mongolia Growth Group Ltd. (YAK TSXV and MNGGF - USA) ("MGG") or ("the Company") a commercial real estate investment and development company participating in the growth of the Mongolian economy, announces its financial results for the second quarter of 2016 and is pleased to report continued progress on improving operations and reducing costs along with improvement in Adjusted Funds From Operations (AFFO)*. 

Highlights for the quarter: 

·         Improvements in operational performance have reduced negative quarterly AFFO from $206,685 in Q2 2015 to $31,503 in Q2 2016 

·         Reduced expenses excluding non-cash expense from $660,932 to $523,790 when compared to the second quarter of 2015, a decrease of 20.7%, despite the cost of various marketing initiatives 

·         Rental revenue only declined by 7.3% when compared to the second quarter of 2015 despite a substantially more rapid deterioration in market lease rates 

"We are proud to report continued progress in reducing negative AFFO despite the continuing weakness in the Mongolian economy," said Harris Kupperman, Chairman and CEO of MGG. "Starting in early 2015, we implemented a plan to dramatically reduce costs along with improve utilization of existing assets. Those efforts have culminated in this quarter's results

"Unfortunately, after having reduced cash expenses by approximately 50% when compared to the second quarter of 2014, we have run out of logical places to cut and prior cuts have now been fully implemented. Additionally, our portfolio that existed in January of 2015 has seen its revenues shrink significantly in Mongolian Tögrög terms, especially in the office sector where there is an abundance of supply. These declines have been offset by new sources of revenue from better usage of existing assets along with properties that we have developed, but going forward, we do not anticipate any new sources of revenue from our existing portfolio. 

"It seems very clear that the economy has not yet bottomed. We remain committed to doing the best that we can in this amazingly difficult environment, but expect to see sizable declines in our revenues going forward as rental rates continue to decline, vacancy increases and the Mongolian Tögrög depreciates against the Canadian dollar. 

"Our goal during this downturn is to lose as little as possible and preserve the value of our company for when the recovery arrives." 

Overall Property Market 

Over the past two years, a glut of property developments started during better economic conditions have come online during a time when many businesses are either downsizing or shutting down operations. This has put considerable pressure on rental rates for all property classes, with the greatest pressure on the office market. Since the beginning of 2016, office rental rates have dropped by almost half, with retail and residential rents experiencing slightly lower declines in rates. The Company has done an outstanding job of keeping occupancy at above market levels, but has been forced to lower lease rates to be competitive. These lower lease rates will continue to filter through the Company's revenues over the next few quarters, leading to rather sizable declines in revenue, before adjusting for the decline in the Mongolian Tögrög against the Canadian Dollar. 

Agency Business 

The Company continues to increase the number of listings and invest resources into its agency business, including the redesign of its leasing site at www.MGGProperties.com. Unfortunately, demand for properties is low and with lease and sale prices declining rapidly, potential tenants and purchasers are holding off for lower prices, leading to less transaction volume than originally anticipated. 

Unrealized Change in Fair Value of Properties 

During the quarter, the Company recognized a total impairment of $5,916,360 to the fair value of its properties. The Company continues to monitor property values and based on declines in lease rates and property values since the end of the second quarter, it is anticipated that the Company will experience future impairments to its portfolio. 

Liquidity and Capital Resources 

The Company ended the quarter with $1,412,758 of cash and cash equivalents and no debt. The Company intends to continue to sell additional assets during the latter half of 2016 to further increase its cash reserves. Unfortunately, overall transaction liquidity in the marketplace has materially declined except for properties offered at substantial discounts to existing market prices. The Corporation is committed to maintaining sufficient liquidity so that it is not forced to make sales at disadvantageous prices and intends to focus on increasing its liquidity buffer. 

Normal Course Issuer Bid 

During the quarter, the Company repurchased 142,000 shares at a gross cost of CDN $57,417. Despite the expectation that the economy will continue to worsen for the foreseeable future, the Company believes that its shares are undervalued. However, the Company intends to be highly disciplined about its purchases due to its limited cash reserves and the continued economic uncertainty. 

Outlook 

The recent parliamentary election has led to a renewed sense of optimism regarding the future of the Mongolian economy. Based on preliminary statements by the newly formed government, they intend to bring much needed political stability to Mongolia while adopting a pragmatic approach to foreign investment. Unfortunately, even if mega-projects that were obstructed by the prior government get approved to move forward, it is unlikely that they will lead to a substantial recovery in the economy for a number of years. Rather, it seems that any near-term growth in the Mongolian economy will be powered by tourism and productivity improvements in the agricultural sector, both of which already account for large portions of the economy. 

As we look at our business, we have come to realize that without a substantial increase in rental revenues, the Company is unlikely to become substantially AFFO positive in its present format—especially as rental rates are very clearly going in the other direction. We believe in the long-term future of Mongolia and believe that we have an outstanding portfolio of property assets along with a highly skilled team to manage them. Unfortunately, we have not reached the scale needed to support our cost structure and are unlikely to do so without raising substantial additional capital—which is unlikely to be available to us on acceptable terms for quite some time.  

Selected Annual Financial Information (CAD)

Link to release

 

1878 closed +1.5% Monday to HK$1.34,

SouthGobi Resources Announces Second Quarter 2016 Financial and Operating Results

HONG KONG, CHINA--(Marketwired - Aug. 15, 2016) - SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (TSX:SGQ)(HKSE:1878) (the "Company" or "SouthGobi") today announced its financial and operating results for the three and six months ended June 30, 2016. All figures are in U.S. Dollars unless otherwise stated.

Significant Events and Highlights

The Company's significant events and highlights for the three months ended June 30, 2016 and subsequent period to August 15, 2016 are as follows:

·         Operating results - The Company continues to operate under difficult market conditions as prices for coal remained weak in China through the second quarter of 2016. The impact of these conditions on the Company's operations continues to be exacerbated given the Company's liquidity constraints. The Company sold 0.82 million tonnes of its coal products during the quarter compared to 0.19 million tonnes in the second quarter of 2015. The production for the second quarter of 2016 was 0.67 million tonnes compared to 0.62 million tonnes for the second quarter of 2015. 

·         Shareholder loan - On May 16, 2016, Turquoise Hill Resources Limited ("Turquoise Hill") signed a deferral letter agreement with the Company ("May 2016 Deferral Letter Agreement"), in which Turquoise Hill agreed to a limited and circumscribed deferral of repayment of all remaining amounts and obligations now and hereafter owing under the Turquoise Hill shareholder loan ("TRQ Loan") to December 29, 2017. The Company has agreed to repay $0.15 million per month starting on May 31, 2016 and ending on April 28, 2017; $0.2 million per month starting on May 31, 2017 and ending on December 29, 2017, at which time all remaining obligations will become due. Interest shall continue to accrue on all outstanding obligations at 12-month US dollar LIBOR rate. The amount due in May to July 2016 has been paid as at August 15, 2016. 

·         Class Action Lawsuit - On May 24, 2016, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted the Company leave to appeal the decision made on November 5, 2015, which granted the plaintiff permission to commence an action claiming damages under the Ontario Securities Act with respect to the Company's restatement of financial statements as previously disclosed in the Company's public filings. 

The plaintiff has also appealed. The Ontario Court of Appeal granted an adjournment of the plaintiff's original hearing date of June 27, 2016, pending the expected consolidation of the Divisional Court appeal brought on behalf of the Company. The parties have consented to a consolidation of the appeals in principle and are negotiating the terms of the Consent Order. It is expected that the Motion seeking consolidation on consent will be filed with the Court in August and the Court of Appeal will deal with the consolidation quickly. Assuming that the Court of Appeal will grant the consent order, the appeals will be perfected in September and heard together in the spring of 2017. 

·         China Investment Corporation ("CIC") convertible debenture(the "CIC Convertible Debenture") - On July 13, 2016, the Company executed deferral agreement with CIC which covers outstanding deferred cash interest obligations and associated costs of $18.8 million as of July 13, 2016 and the next Issue Date Anniversary Cash Interest payment of $8.1 million due on November 19, 2016. Pursuant to the deferral agreement, the Company has agreed to repay $1.3 to $1.4 million monthly from July to November 2016 and repay $20.7 million on December 19, 2016. In consideration for the deferred payments of $18.8 million, the Company will pay a deferral fee at a rate of 6.4% per annum to CIC. The interest due in July 2016 has been paid as at August 15, 2016. 

Although CIC and the Company had finalized the terms of a deferral of CIC interest payments at the end of the second quarter, a formal written agreement had not been executed as at June 30, 2016. As a consequence, International Accounting Standard 1 ("IAS 1") required the Company to classify the entire balance of the CIC Convertible Debenture as a current liability as at June 30, 2016, notwithstanding the fact that CIC had agreed to the terms of the deferral and had not indicated any intention to deliver notice of default or accelerate the maturity of the debenture. Following the execution of the deferral agreement on July 13, 2016, the CIC Convertible Debenture met the requirements of IAS 1. The Company anticipates that both the debt host and the fair value of the embedded derivative will be classified as a non-current liability going forward, unless a future event of default occurs under the terms of the CIC Convertible Debenture.

·         Short-term bridge loan - The Company repaid the first tranche of the short-term bridge loan of $4.9 million on July 26, 2016. During June and July 2016, the Company drew the second tranche of $5.0 million. $1.5 million and $3.5 million will mature in March and April 2017, respectively. 

·         Retirement of a Director - Mr. Pierre Lebel retired as Lead Director and Independent Non-Executive Director on June 30, 2016.

·         Going Concern - As at the date hereof, the Company is focused on securing additional sources of financing and continues to minimize uncommitted capital expenditures in order to pay the interest due under the CIC Convertible Debenture, the short-term bridge loan, the TRQ Loan and the bank loan, meet the Company's obligations as they fall due and achieve its business objectives in 2016. However, there is no guarantee that the Company will be able to successfully secure additional sources of financing. Unless the Company acquires additional sources of financing and/or funding in the short term, the ability of the Company to continue as a going concern is threatened. If the Company is unable to continue as a going concern it may be forced to seek relief under applicable bankruptcy and insolvency legislation. See section "Liquidity and Capital Resources" for details. As at August 15, 2016, the Company had cash of $0.8 million.

Link to release

 

975 closed +2.7% Monday to HK$0.113

Thiess Awarded Extension at Ukhaa Khudag (UHG) Coal Mine in Mongolia

August 15 -- Thiess has been awarded a four-year contract extension by Energy Resources LLC at the Ukhaa Khudag (UHG) coal mine, delivering up to $1 billion of revenue during the next seven years.

Located in southern Mongolia, the contract extension complements the current eight year agreement signed in 2008 and results in Thiess continuing mine operations and maintenance delivery until 2022.

CIMIC Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Marcelino Fernández Verdes said the contract reinforces the positive working relationship between CIMIC's global mining contractor Thiess and Energy Resources LLC over many years.

"It demonstrates Thiess' ability to deliver world class mining solutions to our clients across our global platform, irrespective of location," Mr Fernández said.

Thiess Managing Director Michael Wright said the extension at UHG coal mine is a testament to Thiess' strong performance at the mine since it started in 2008.

"We are delighted to extend our partnership with Energy Resources LLC and to continue our focus on delivering cost efficiencies and innovation at the UHG mine. It is the quality of our people, and their commitment to safety and operational efficiencies that drive value for our client Energy Resources," Mr Wright said.

Thiess is responsible for mining services at the UHG coal mine, including fleet operation and maintenance for overburden stripping, coal mining and blast drilling under an alliance structure, with involvement also in mine planning and health, safety and environmental management.

Link to release

 

MMC: Date of Board Meeting, August 26

August 15 -- The board of directors (the "Board") of Mongolian Mining Corporation (In Provisional Liquidation) (the "Company", and its subsidiaries, the "Group") hereby announces that a meeting of the Board of the Company will be held on Friday, 26 August 2016 for the purpose of considering and approving, among others, the interim results of the Group for the six months ended 30 June 2016 and its publication, and transacting any other business.

Link to release

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Local Market

MSE Trading Report: Top 20 +0.04%, ALL -0.03%, Turnover 3.8 Million Shares

August 15 (MSE) --

Link to report

 

Gobi JSC to Hold Shareholders Meeting on September 9

August 15 (MSE) According to the Board of Directors Meeting's Resolution No.: 11 of "Gobi" JSC, dated on 08 August 2016, the decision to set next shareholders meeting has been approved.

Date of shareholders meeting:         2016.09.09

Time:                                                   14:00

Venue:                                                Meeting room of "Govi" JSC

Registration date of meeting:          2016.08.22

Issues will be discussed in the shareholders meeting:

1.    To make amendment on company's charter

2.    To approve nominated board members

Link to release

 

Hermes Center JSC to Distribute Entire 348.9 Million Net Profit as Dividend

August 15 (MSE) The shareholders meeting of "Hermes Center" JSC held on 03 August 2016. During the meeting, the decision to distribute dividends to shareholders from all net profit /MNT348.9 million/ of first half of 2016 has been approved.

Accordance with the related rules and regulation, the company will distribute dividends starting from 05 September 2016.

Link to release

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Economy

Reds are rates that set a new historic low at the time

BoM MNT Rates: Monday, August 15 Close

8/15

8/12

8/11

8/10

8/9

8/8

8/5

8/4

8/3

8/2

8/1

7/29

7/28

7/27

7/26

7/25

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USD

2,187.38

2,169.44

2,152.07

2,141.59

2,131.81

2,122.65

2,111.27

2,098.30

2,090.84

2,087.61

2,074.64

2,073.09

2,068.43

2,061.70

2,053.05

2,049.30

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EUR

2,442.87

2,417.19

2,403.00

2,385.62

2,360.77

2,352.32

2,352.17

2,335.30

2,342.16

2,334.78

2,315.92

2,298.64

2,293.58

2,265.91

2,260.00

2,248.08

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JPY

21.62

21.26

21.24

21.11

20.82

20.77

20.89

20.66

20.67

20.41

20.24

20.04

19.77

19.51

19.68

19.30

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GBP

2,829.16

2,811.59

2,800.49

2,790.17

2,765.38

2,770.27

2,771.78

2,788.43

2,781.44

2,758.88

2,748.90

2,732.85

2,729.09

2,702.89

2,685.18

2,691.35

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RUB

33.90

33.75

33.04

32.99

32.86

32.44

32.00

31.55

31.25

31.21

31.51

30.91

31.38

31.27

31.37

31.64

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CNY

329.22

326.60

324.06

322.18

320.01

318.63

317.70

316.05

315.36

314.05

312.68

311.69

310.50

309.06

307.46

306.85

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KRW

1.99

1.97

1.96

1.95

1.93

1.91

1.90

1.88

1.87

1.88

1.87

1.85

1.84

1.82

1.81

1.80

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SGD

1,627.64

1,611.77

1,602.14

1,595.82

1,580.52

1,575.02

1,573.64

1,562.51

1,558.24

1,555.36

1,549.16

1,535.57

1,530.98

1,517.18

1,510.76

1,506.67

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CAD

1,689.23

1,672.53

1,648.09

1,637.74

1,616.60

1,610.63

1,620.56

1,603.22

1,591.87

1,592.20

1,589.58

1,574.52

1,574.15

1,560.95

1,554.05

1,558.40

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AUD

1,678.05

1,667.76

1,659.57

1,647.42

1,627.32

1,614.91

1,615.02

1,593.34

1,586.32

1,575.41

1,574.76

1,556.48

1,557.73

1,539.78

1,543.18

1,533.08

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HKD

282.01

279.70

277.47

276.13

274.83

273.69

272.24

270.52

269.49

269.02

267.39

267.31

266.68

265.79

264.70

264.22

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CHF

2,243.70

2,226.67

2,207.93

2,185.52

2,169.01

2,164.86

2,168.96

2,155.31

2,162.19

2,157.85

2,138.80

2,118.42

2,099.50

2,075.40

2,082.83

2,073.56

Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮2,205 Sell ₮2,230), TDB (Buy ₮2,200 Sell ₮2,230), Golomt (Buy ₮2,205 Sell ₮2,230), XacBank (Buy ₮2,198 Sell ₮2,220), State Bank (Buy ₮2,201 Sell ₮2,232)

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

Link to rates

 

Mongolia PM signals major cuts coming in 2016 budget amendment

Ulaanbaatar, August 15 (MONTSAME) Prime Minister J.Erdenebat and Minister of Finance B.Choijilsuren made a press statement on Monday about the current state of economy of Mongolia. The officials stated that last week's statement by the Finance Minister was the truthful information of the actual economic situation that Mongolia is facing, rather than the "cause", according to the Democratic Party, of the recently degraded credit rating and increased rate of USD against MNT.

They noted that budget clarifications have to be made immediately, and that the State Great Khural is intending to develop the budget clarifications along with a program for overcoming the economic difficulties.

To the reporters' question on the approaches to revive the economy, the two ministers answered that public service expenditures will be saved through reducing the salaries of public servants, and the economic growth shall be restored by attracting more international investment, promoting small and medium enterprises and continuing the mortgage loans.

Link to article

 

Mongolia 1H GDP Grew 1.4% Y/y, Statistical Office Says

By Michael Kohn

August 15 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia's gross domestic product, as measured by production, grew 1.4% y/y in the first half, the National Statistical Office says in statement today.

* 1Q growth was 3.1%

* Economy grew 2.3% last year, according to the agency website, and had 7.9% annual growth in 2014

* Growth is on track for slowest pace since 2009 when the economy shrank -1.3%

* National CPI rose 0.9% y/y in July

* Data is preliminary

(BFW)

 

NSO Says Mongolia's Budget Deficit Rises 75.9% m/m

By Michael Kohn

August 15 (Bloomberg) -- From Jan.-July 2016 total equilibrated revenue and grants to the general government budget were 3.04t ($1.5b) tugrik and total expenditure was 5.01t tugrik ($2.47b),
resulting in a deficit of 1.97t tugrik, according to a
National Statistical Office release Monday.

* NOTE: Average MNT/USD exchange rate of 2032 (July average)

* Budget deficit at end-June was 1.12t tugrik, representing a m/m increase of 75.9%; budget deficit in first seven months of 2015 was 637.8b tugrik

* Total expenditure and net lending of the general government budget in Jan-July increased by 1.23t tugrik, a 32.6% increase y/y

* Loans outstanding at end July were 12.1t tugrik, a 0.8% increase y/y

* Non-performing loans decreased 0.5% m/m and rose 24.9% y/y

* Average household monthly income in Q2 of this year was 874,400 tugrik ($430), a 10.4% decrease y/y

* Average household monthly expenditure was 948,900 tugrik, a 3.1% decrease y/y

Jan.-July trade data:

* $709m surplus in first seven month of 2016 compares with $604m surplus yr earlier

* Exports fell 9.6% y/y to $2.54b

* Imports fell 17% y/y to $1.83b

* Total external trade turnover declined 12.9% to $674.4m

* NOTE: Increase in budget deficit resulted from recording expenses from "good" (subsidized loan) programs, which were previously off-budget and now recorded as a budgetary expense, said Manduul Nyamandeleg of the Ministry of Finance.

(BFW)

 

Mongolia Jan.-July Coal Export Volume Rises 35.4% Y/y, NSO Says

By Michael Kohn

August 15 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia's coal exports rose to 11.05m tons in 1st 7mos from 8.16m tons a year ago, statistics office says on website.

* Value of coal exports fell to $337.3m from $353.9m

* Copper concentrate exports rose 20.9% y/y to 947,300 tons; value fell to $1.04b from $1.35b

* Gold exports rose 83.6% y/y to 8.5 tons; value rose to $341.5m from $179.9m yr earlier

* Crude oil exports rose 5.9% y/y to 4.77m barrels; value fell to $186.3m from $234.4m

* Total exports fell to $2.54b in Jan.-July from $2.81b yr earlier

* Exports to China fell to $2.06b from $2.42b, accounted for 81% of total

(BFW)

 

World Economics: Mongolian Recovery Pauses in August - SMI

      Mongolian Sales Growth Index inches higher but economy worries persist

      Rate of staff redundancies continues to ease

      Price deflation softens further in August

      Download: All monthly and historical Mongolian SMI Data online

August 16 (World Economics) The Mongolian Sales Managers' Index indicates that the economy is close to growth after a 3 year long recession. The key monthly Sales Growth Index, which is an accurate gauge for GDP growth, has posted the highest value of 49.5 since October 2013 and only just below the 50.0 'no change' level that separates growth from contraction. Business confidence is tentatively strengthening on the back of improved sales and market growth but fluctuations in the strength of the Tugrik and the possibility of a harsh winter will no doubt weight on businesses.

Sales Managers' Index Trends

 

Direction

Condition

SMI

Falling

Improving

Business Confidence

Falling

Improving

Market Growth

Falling

Improving

Sales Output

Falling

Improving

Prices Charged

Falling

Improving

Staffing Levels

Falling

Improving

Link to report

 

Labor survey shows 10.4% unemployed in Mongolia

August 15 (gogo.mn) The number of unemployed reached 30.5 thousand at the end of July 2016, has shown a decrease of 1.7 percent compared to the 2015. 

As results of the Labour Force Survey in the second quarter of 2016, total of 1263.7 thousand people are economically active, of which 53.2 percent are male and 46.8 percent are female.

As results of above mentioned survey, 131.9 thousand people were unemployed, which of 62.5 percent are male and 37.6 percent are female. Unemployment rate is 10.4 percent at the national level.

Link to article

 

BoM issues 219 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding +1.9% to ₮786.9 billion

August 15 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 194.9 billion at a weighted interest rate of 10.5 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release

 

Mongolia's Gan-Ochir Appointed Central Bank Chief Economist

By Michael Kohn

August 12 (Bloomberg) -- Mongolia's central bank has hired Gan-Ochir Doojav as chief economist and adviser to the governor, outgoing chief economist Bold Sandagdorj said by phone.

* Bold announced his departure from the Bank of Mongolia in an e-mail to Bloomberg

* Gan-Ochir did not immediately respond to an e-mail requesting confirmation of the appointment

* NOTE: Gan-Ochir had recently studied at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University; he had previous worked for seven years as an economist at the central bank's Monetary Policy & Research Department

(BFW)

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Business

Tianjin-Ulaanbaatar-Ulan Ude trial transit road transportation begins

August 15 (news.mn) Mongolia, China, and Russia, are to begin a road transportation trial on 18th August. This represents the first transit transportation undertaking involving the three countries. The transportation tests cover a 1580 km route from the Chinese Port of Tianjin, via Ulaanbaatar to the Russian city of Ulan-Ude. The route consists of 900 km road in China, 1050 km in Mongolia and 240 km in Russia and is expected to take three days.

Overall, 90% of freight transportation between Asia and Europe is by sea and takes a long time. The shortest one of the four overland transportation routes between East Asia and Europe runs through Mongolia. Currently, freight deliveries from Asia to Europe by sea take 45 days and by rail 10 days. The new road transportation corridor is expected to take only 7 days.

Link to article

 

Invest Mongolia 2016 to take place next month

August 15 (UB Post) The nation's biggest investors forum, Invest Mongolia 2016, will be held from September 5 to 6, in Ulaanbaatar.

This year, the forum is expected to attract more participants than usual, with many foreign investors and businesses interested in finding out if Mongolia will carry out policy favorable
for foreign investors.

The forum will focus on assessments of the government's action plan for the next four years, and if the new government will take investor friendly measures. The forum's participants will hear presentations about how to gain investor trust and will work on suggestions that will be delivered to the Cabinet.

The forum will include an overview of the Mongolian economy, including updates on legal, accounting, and other regulatory changes; the launch of Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank and its  involvement in developing infrastructure in Mongolia; and the importance of the Asia-Europe Meeting Summit to Mongolia and other countries.

Organizers highlight that issues concerning the progress of the Oyu Tolgoi underground mine and other major projects, as well as their impact on the economy; Mongolia's banking industry and its strategies; the development of non-mining sectors, including real estate; the outlook on the bond market; and challenges for refinancing ahead of 2017 will be discussed at the forum.

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AmCham Mongolia to host third annual American Days Expo on September 24-25

August 15 (gogo.mn) AmCham Mongolia to host the third annual 2016 American Days Expo on Sep 24-25 at Misheel expo center jointly with the US Embassy in Mongolia. 

This two-day exhibition will have a special emphasis on showcasing U.S. products and services to the public at large and aims to build broader awareness of the capacity of companies in Mongolia that are offering world-leading expertise and technology. 

Last year's event was a huge success featuring over 80 exhibitors and thousands of visitors. This year will be even bigger and we are anticipating more visitors and exhibitors.

Any company who distributes or sells an American product or service is eligible to participate. Booth registration is available now, in English here and in Mongolian here.

For more information, please contact at 99997104; 7000 3437.

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Mongolia PM asks for ADB support in private sector development

August 15 (UB Post) In a meeting with Mongolia's Country Director of Asian Development Bank (ADB) Yolanda Fernandez Lommen and other ADB representatives, Prime Minister J.Erdenebat asked the ADB to provide support to the nation's private sector.

Beginning the meeting, Prime Minister J.Erdenebat underlined that Mongolia and the ADB will mark their 25th anniversary of cooperation this year. The PM thanked the ADB for providing consistent support to Mongolia in the difficult years following its social and political transitions.

The ADB delegates noted that they projected that Mongolia would be facing its current economic, budgetary, and financial difficulties. They underlined that even though the ADB started collaboration to help mitigate the nation's 2016 budget deficit, the program isn't finished yet. The ADB delegates said they will "stand together with Mongolia" to overcome the current budgetary and financial crisis.

Director Lommen said that the ADB can provide financial support to Mongolia and also provide support with a working group to help conduct analysis and provide financial advice to Mongolia.

Lommen emphasized that moving forward with ABD partnered projects that have not yet been implemented or left unfinished, along with those planned for implementation with other foreign investors, would help in regaining the trust of foreign investors.

The PM expressed his gratitude for the ADB's proposals for overcoming Mongolia's economic crisis and expressed interest in expanding collaboration, asking the ADB to provide business loans to Mongolia's private sector.

The ADB delegation said that the bank primarily issues business loans in the agricultural sector to support small and medium-sized enterprises, but promised to study the PM's proposal and pay attention to including them in a strategic cooperation agreement between
Mongolia and the ADB.

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Kate Moss Gets Nearly Naked for a New Cashmere Company Inspired by Mongolia

The name of the company is Naked Cashmere.

August 15 (Observer) New York might be in the midst of a major heat wave, but your eternal style icon, Kate Moss, is here to sell you some cashmere. So before reading any further, you may want to pump up the AC.

Moss stripped down for the launch of Naked Cashmere, a direct-to-consumer label. Technically she's nude, save for a simple swath of cashmere, but that's aside the point. Naked Cashmere was founded by Bruce and Leslie Gifford following a trip to Mongolia. The duo are also the founders of 360Cashmere and after 20 years in the industry, they wanted to offer consumers an affordable take on the luxury knit. The online-only brand is set to launch this September and their almost blank website promises "Natural Luxury at Unnatural prices," so you know their product has to be interesting, at the very least.

However, the Giffords promise not to skimp on quality, and if their first ad campaign is any indication, they will live up to that promise. They tapped Peter Lindbergh to shoot Moss in this campaign and the whole concept was put together by advertising guru David Lipman. This is a rather high fashion move for a new, affordable label.

While cashmere is probably the last thing on your mind, these images of Moss wearing cashmere by the sea should at least help ease you into the fall weather, when it arrives in the next month or so.

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Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar and Ereen to boost ties in education

Ulaanbaatar, August 15 (MONTSAME) Chairman of the Citizens' Representatives Khural of Ulaanbaatar, Mr Ts.Sandui received August 15 a permanent member of the Communist Party Committee and the deputy governor of Ereen City of China, Mr Uul, and discussed cooperation.

The latter invited Mr Sandui to attend the 7th China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Forum to take place in Ereen. The importance of this forum is growing with each year as a well-functioning bridge for commercial relations between the three countries, he highlighted and expressed interest in cooperating with UB in educational sector.

The chairman of the UB City Citizens' Khural extended his gratitude for the long-standing friendship between the cities and his confidence in the growth of ties. He accepted the cooperation proposal in education and promised to study the possibilities with related officials.

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Diplomacy

Former Businesswoman Sworn in as Deputy Foreign Minister

August 15 (UB Post) B.Battsetseg, appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Relations, took office on August 11. Congratulating her on the appointment to a new state position with great responsibility, Foreign Relations Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil wished B.Battsetseg success in her future endeavors.

The newly appointed Deputy Foreign Relations Minister graduated from the Foreign Relations Institute of the National University of Mongolia in 1996, received a degree from the Finance and Economics Institute in 2000, and pursued post-graduate education in Holland.

B.Battsetseg speaks Russian and English, and was director of the printing company Munkhiin Useg from 1996 to 2005. She served as a Department Director of the Foreign Investment and Foreign Trade Agency from 2005 to 2007, head of the Foreign Relations and Cooperation Department of the Mongolian People's Party in 2011 and 2012, and as advisor to the Finance Minister from 2015 to 2016.

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Russian Ambassador Invites Mongolia PM to Vladivostok Economic Forum

August 15 (UB Post) Prime Minister of Mongolia J.Erdenebat received Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russian Federation to Mongolia Iskander Azizov, where the Ambassador invited the Premier to participate in the Vladivostok Economic Forum, organized for the second year under auspices of the President Vladimir Putin.

Ambassador Azizov congratulated J.Erdenebat for taking office and promptly forming his cabinet, and affirmed that Russia is willing to assist and cooperate with Mongolia in getting over its current economic decline. He also asked the Premier to settle some unsolved issues in bilateral economic relations.

Prime Minister J.Erdenebat said that the Government of Mongolia will pay special attention to deepening and strengthening political and economic traditional partnership relations with Russia, and confirmed Mongolia will work on resolving unsettled issues in bilateral economic relations.

He also proposed that the Russian Federation assist Mongolia in increasing trade circulation between the two countries, forming favorable conditions for exporting Mongolian products and goods to the Russian market.

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Mongolian peacekeepers rebuild school in South Sudan

August 15 (UB Post) The Ministry of Defense reports that Mongolia's 5th Motor Rifle Division rebuilt an old middle school in Pariang County of Unity State in South Sudan.

Mongolian peacekeepers dispatched to South Sudan are working as humanitarian aid workers in rural areas in addition to performing their peacekeeping mission.

The construction work was reportedly completed in just half a month. The engineering branch of the Mongolian division rebuilt the school from the walls to the ceilings and floors. They also made chairs and tables for students, landscaped the schoolyard, planted trees, and built a bathroom.

UNMISS State Coordinator Hiroko Hirahara, Mongolian Battalion Head Colonel B.Baatar, and representatives from humanitarian organizations joined the students, teachers, and staff of the school for a ceremony for the presentation of the new school.

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Culture, Society

Second Forum of NGOs and Associations of Mongolians Living Abroad Scheduled for September

August 15 (UB Post) The second forum for Mongolians living abroad and the NGOs that support them will be held on September 9, in Ulaanbaatar.

Foreign Relations Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil recently met with the head of the Council of Mongolians Abroad, B.Enkhtuvshin. During the meeting, B.Enkhtuvshin introduced the operations and objectives of the NGO.

Highlighting that one of the main objectives of the government is to protect the rights of Mongolian citizens residing, working, and studying abroad, Minister Ts.Munkh-Orgil affirmed that his ministry would cooperate with associations of Mongolian citizens living abroad on the World Mongolians program.

The Council of Mongolians Abroad was founded in 2014 under the auspices of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, to form cohesion among associations and NGOs supporting Mongolians living abroad.

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11th Quinquennial International Congress of Mongolists Opens in Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar, August 15 /MONTSAME/ The 11th International Mongolian Studies Conference commenced in the morning of August 15 in Ulaanbaatar, bringing together some 400 participants, including Mongolian studies scholars, academicians and the carriers of unique intangible cultural heritages, from 29 countries.

This year's theme is "Mongolian Studies and Sustainable Development". The conference is led by the Secretary General of the National Council of Mongolian Studies of Mongolia D.Zayabaatar, and the opening address was given by the Secretary General of the International Mongolian Studies Federation D.Tumurtogoo.

Also, the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj and the Prime Minister J.Erdenebat and First Deputy President of the Academy of Sciences of Mongolia D.Regdel gave speeches.

Greetings to the opening ceremony of the 11th International Mongolian Studies Conference from Mr Klaus Sagaster, the President of the IMSF, was read to the gathered.

The official opening was concluded with the handing of awards in the name of Academician B.Rinchen.

Keynote speeches: "Mongolian Studies and Sustainable Development" by G.Chuluunbaatar and D.Tumurtogoo, "How the Secret History of the Mongols was written" by Christopher Atwood, are being presented.

Sub-conferences are opening this afternoon under topics: "Mongolian language and script studies", "Mongolian history studies", "Mongolian economic and social studies" and "Mongolia's foreign relations studies".

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President plays voice recordings of famous Mongolists

Ulaanbaatar, August 15 (MONTSAME) The President of Mongolia gave an opening address to the 11th International Mongolian Studies Conference on Monday, which is being held under his auspices. He let the gathered listen to the voice recordings of old presentations made by renowned Mongolists B.Rinchen, Ts.Damdinsuren, Sh.Luvsanvandan and Yu.N.Roerich.

The presentations were about "Tale of Bens" by B.Rinchen, Tibetan words that entered Mongolian vocabulary by Ts.Damdinsuren, Mongolian words in Tibetan vocabulary by Roerich and the Meaning of Mongolian Dialects by Sh.Luvsanvandan.

These scholars have played key roles in founding the international conference. The International Conference on Mongolian Language and Script, which was established by them, has been expanded to become the International Mongolian Studies Conference that is organized every five years.

On the first ever conference, held in 1959 in Ulaanbaatar, 34 presentations were discussed by some 40 scholars from 15 countries, including the USA, Poland, Hungary, Finland, India and Japan.

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Sports

RIO2016: Boxer D.Otgondalai wins bronze medal

August 15 (gogo.mn) D.Otgondalai, International Master, Asian Games Champion, Asian Champion and who ranks 2nd in world rankings, won bronze medal in men`s light 60 kg boxing at RIO 2016 Olympics. 

He was defeated by Frenchman Sofiane Oumiha in semifinals. However, he was disappointed by the referee and stated "People of Mongolia saw how I played". 

His opponent was 21-year-old, qualified 5th in Doha World Championship and who ranks 6th in world rankings. 

D.Otgondalai has become the 7th Olympic medalist boxer of Mongolia.

Link to article

Related:

Boxer grabs Bronze in men's 60 kgMontsame, August 15

D.Otgondalai becomes Olympics medalistnews.mn, August 15

 

E.Tsendbaatar to fight for Olympic bronze in boxing on August 16

August 15 (news.mn) Mongolian boxer E.Tsendbaatar in the men's 56 kg category won over Dzmitry Asanau of Belarus, thus making it to the final eight. Now he will fight Shakur Stevenson of United States on 16th of August. He claimed his first victory over Kenyan Benson Gicharu Njangiru on 10th August. E.Tsendbaatar represents Mongolia's last hope for medals in the Olympic boxing category.  

Mongolia entered six boxers to compete in each of various weight classes into the Olympic boxing tournament. The International Master of Sport D.Otgondalai in the men's 60 kg category has won a bronze medal. However, G.Gan-Erdene (men's 49 kg), N.Tuvshinbat (men's 69 kg), B.Chinzorig (men's 64 kg) and Kh.Enkh-amar (men's 52) have been defeated - so their competitions are over.

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Sonning Common librarian completes 50-mile Mongolian trek for charity

August 15 (Henley Standard) A WOMAN from Sonning Common has completed a charity trek through Mongolia to mark her 60th birthday. 

Rosemary Dunstan, who runs the village library, walked 50 miles in four days, starting in the capital Ulaanbaatar.  

This was her 15th trek in aid of the Institute of Cancer Research

Mrs Dunstan, who lives in Birch Close, was part of a group of five. 

She said the most challenging part of the trek was the heat, with temperatures of up to 30C. 

She said: "Walking in the heat, carrying a rucksack with water in it was quite sweaty. We didn't stop very often, unless there was shade to sit in, but the track tended to avoid the trees so there wasn't much shade. 

"And then there were the flies — lots of them — and mosquitoes. There's a character in the Charlie Brown cartoons called Pigpen, who always has a crowd of flies round his head and I felt like him! I was not expecting the acres and acres of wildflowers, stretching in places as far as the eye could see. 

"There were familiar varieties such as cranesbill in three different colours, rosebay willow herb, scabious and vetch, some of which I've pulled up from my garden. There were also many unexpected or unfamiliar varieties, such as chives, larkspur, betony, dianthus and edelweiss." 

Along the way Mrs Dunstan stayed with locals or slept in a tent. She also milked a cow and watched how milk was churned. She also saw a 40m high statue of Genghis Khan that was completed in 2008. 

After finishing the trek, she travelled by car back to the capital. 

She said: "I went to a traditional Mongolian show where there was dancing and throat singing. Mongolia was an interesting country and in a few years it will be a tourist destination but at the moment it's quite basic." 

To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/RosemaryDunstan60

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Art, Entertainment

International Festival of Monodrama Begins in Ulaanbaatar

August 15 (news.mn) Entitled 'The Parade of the Winners-Ulaanbaatar 2016', the International Monodrama festival will open at National Academic Drama Theatre. The opening ceremony of International Monodrama festival will be held today (15th August) at 20:00. As a part of 'Friendly Ulaanbaatar' programme, the festival to be open with a musical monologue, "I am Edith Piaf", by actress Ts.Bayasgalan. Artists from Poland, Armenia, Russia, the UK and Mongolia will be giving their best shows. After the opening ceremony, monodrama performances will be given at the Puppet Theatre from 16 to 19 of August.

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Travel

Snuff, songs and sumo wrestling: welcome to a Mongolian wedding party

Alex Lumsden wins £200 for her tale of the surreal moments she and her husband experienced at a Mongolian wedding feast

By Alex Lumsden

August 15 (The Telegraph) 'I know the groom's family. Let's go and congratulate them." We are on our way to a waterfall in Mongolia's Orkhon Valley when Tsendee, our guide, suggests we drop in on the wedding celebrations of a local nomadic couple. As I duck to enter the ger and my eyes adjust to the dim light, I realise that this tiny home is hosting more people than seems comfortable. Everyone is dressed to the nines in traditional clothing. Everyone is drunk.

We sit, and the groom supplies us with milk tea, freshly brewed on the stove by his bride. Seconds later he hands around dried curds. Then follow yak butter, fruit, sweets, a large helping of noodle soup and another milk tea, indicating that the cycle of feeding has begun again. We have just had lunch.

Everyone takes a sip from a communal bowl of fermented mare's milk, first gently blowing away the lumpy skin that has formed on its surface, and the grandfathers hand around aromatic snuff bottles. After a glass of wine comes the Mongolian vodka. "Guys, it's polite to drink the first vodka," Tsendee says. I become aware of a deep snore resonating from behind me and then receive a swift kick to the back. A guest I hadn't noticed is slumbering on the bed.

We are caught in the fug of celebration, alcohol, snuff and traditional song. A newcomer kneels by my side and rests his drinking hand, with full shot glass, on my thigh. No one bats an eyelid.

Some time later I glance over at Tsendee, who is downing her third vodka: "Guys, it's polite to drink the first three vodkas. Just drink the first three, and then you can refuse." My husband whispers to me that he has had six. 

Later, as we wander alone on the steppe after visiting the waterfall, two wedding guests on their way home beckon us over to their motorbike. They are both the worse for wear. The taller goes to shake my husband's hand but pulls back, affronted, until he removes his glove: bare skin only in Mongolia, even if it's freezing outside.

      In pictures: Mongolia's fascinating wilderness

      Meet the stars of Naadam, Mongolia's answer to the Olympics

"Sumo?" he asks, and we both stare back, nonplussed. He motions to my husband's jacket, then pulls it out at the sides to imitate the shape of a wrestler. "Sumo!" He grabs my husband in a hold and they grapple for a few surreal moments, the Mongolian clearly the more adept.

For a second I worry I am next. The tussle seems to satisfy him, though, and he jabs a finger at my husband's chest and says, "Chinggis Khan!" We all laugh, delighted that if we understand nothing else at least we can share a joke. 

On the way back to our ger we fall silent, digesting how the day panned out. "When you think about it," my husband says, "it's not that different from a wedding back home."

Enter the next round

Email your entry, in 500 words (with the text in the body of the email), to justback@telegraph.co.uk by midnight on Tuesday, August 16. For terms and conditions, see telegraph.co.uk/justback.

The winner will receive £200 in the currency of their choice from the Post Office.

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