Thursday, November 24, 2016

[OPP divesting entire portfolio; treasury auction fails again; SMI continues to worsen; China cancels intergov meeting; and Friday is a holiday]

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

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Jump to: Int'l Market - Local Market - Economy - Politics & Legal - Business - Ulaanbaatar - Diplomacy - Health & Education - Culture & Society - Nature & Environment - Sports - Art & Entertainment - Travel

Headlines in Italic are ones modified by Cover Mongolia from original



Int'l Market

·         Turquoise Hill Set To Soar Next Year

·         Rio Tinto outlines new $5 billion productivity push under long-term strategy focused on cash generation

·         Origo Partners: Seeking to Divest Entire Portfolio by November 2018

·         MCS Shares Released as Collateral to BNP, ICBC Loan

·         Viking Mines Shares Suspended Pending Announcement on Capital Raising

Local Market

·         MSE Trading Report: Top 20 -0.58%, ALL -0.44%, Turnover ₮12.6 Million Shares, ₮95 Million T-Bills


·         Mongolia's MNT falls for 5th day vs USD, USD/MNT up ₮6.43 Wednesday to ₮2,451.72

·         BoM issues ₮152 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -11.7% to ₮436.4 billion

·         ₮40 Billion 52-Week Treasury Auction Receives No Bids

·         SMI: Plunging Sales, Rising Prices and Deteriorating Business Confidence Put Further Strain on the Mongolian Economy

·         Are casinos the right path to riches?

·         METALS-London copper holds gains on inflation signs

·         Gold Falls Below $1,200 as Stock Markets Boom, Fed Set to Raise

·         Here's the Goldman Sachs note that's got iron ore traders excited

·         Oil Prices Flip to Gains as Iraq Promises Production Cuts

·         This metal is enjoying one of the quietest bull markets of 2016

Politics & Legal

·         Friday, November 25 declared non-working day

·         WOLTS fieldwork continues to progress in Tanzania and Mongolia

·         President Elbegdorj visits Khan-Uul Disaster Risk Reduction Center


·         Mongolian Sustainable Finance Forum 2016 to be held on Friday

·         "Science, Technology and Innovation -2016" exposition

·         Live horse exports temporarily stopped

·         Japan's Miyakonojo wants to collaborate with UB in beef trade

·         AREVA Corporate Foundation: FXB Village Program in Mongolia Moving Forward

·         EITI working group holds 42nd meeting


·         City manager reveals Ulaanbaatar has no road salt left

·         New greenhouses bring Mongolians fresh vegetables during winter


·         China Cancels Intergovernmental Meeting with Mongolia over Dalai Lama Visit

·         Prime Minister meets outgoing Ambassador of Japan

Culture & Society

·         Dalai Lama's Declaration at Buddhist Science International Conference

·         Dalai Lama to visit again, "guided by Buddhists' devotion"

·         Dalai Lama: "The 10th Khutughtu has been born in Mongolia"

·         Note From the Field – Meeting the Bankhar Dogs

Nature & Environment

·         Mongolia braces for another deadly winter

Art & Entertainment

·         Watch This Mind-Bending Choreography Synched With Animation In Mongolia's Got Talent

·         Nutcracker ballet to be staged in December


·         Mongolian sacred mountain to be marked on map

·         Dog Sledding Season to Open on November 26



Int'l Market

TRQ closed +2.31% Wednesday to US$3.54

Turquoise Hill Set To Soar Next Year

By Gary Bourgeault


·         Gold less of a factor because of lower production rate.

·         The timing of the changes couldn't have happened at a better time.

·         Copper will probably soar over next 12 months.

·         The Trump infrastructure factor.

November 23 (Seeking Alpha) In the recent past Turquoise Hill (NYSE:TRQ) has been supported by its strong gold production levels, which with the support of decent gold prices, has helped offset weaker copper prices. That is rapidly changing as the company has predictably been hitting lower gold grades at a time when the price of copper appears poised to take off over the next twelve months, based upon historical responses since 2000 to quick upswings in price.

That means the timing of this couldn't be better for the mining company, as gold, in my view, has been supporting the share price performance of Turquoise Hill for some time, which now will transition to copper, providing an even stronger boost over the next year if the price of copper climbs as I expect it will.

As for TRQ's outlook for gold grades going forward, it's not expected to improve until the middle of 2018, "when Oyu Tolgoi reaches the high grade portion of Phase 4."

That means Turquoise Hill should do very well through the third quarter of 2017, with the health of the global economy playing a role in regard to how much support copper will get in what I think will probably be a 12-month climb.

With Donald Trump promising to boost the U.S. economy by spending billions on infrastructure, it appears copper is in for a long-term rally.

Copper's history after big price move since 2000

Through the latter part of October, copper did very little from the start of 2016. Since then it has been on a tear, soaring by a little under 20 percent. About half of the came from a three-day stretch a couple of weeks ago.

According to data compiled by Daily Wealth, when copper makes that type of upward move in a very short time, since 2000, of the 17 times it has made a similar move, 15 of them it has soared higher for the following 12 months or so.

During the year after a steep breakout, copper has generated gains of about 40 percent and more.

If this happens again, Turquoise Hill should benefit more from it than it did from gold, as copper is considered the foundation of the performance of the company, with gold, even when it's doing well, as secondary to the share price of TRQ.

And if the price of gold continues to find support, even with lower grades, it should provide a nice complement to copper, although not at the level it has been before it hit the section of the mine it's now working.

If copper gradually increases over the next several months, and picks up steam in the second half as it has done since 2000, we should see Turquoise Hill jump over the $4 per share mark. How high above it will be determined by the support for copper after the run it is probably going to have. That, and how quickly the company hits higher gold grades is the key to the sustainability of the price afterwards.

The good news is it shouldn't falter too much as investors look to gold grades to improve about six months after copper price support runs its course.

All of this assumes copper will behave similar to how it has performed after quick upward moves over the last 16 years.

Under the best case scenario, the average gain over the next year since 2000, after these types of events for copper, has been 42 percent.

Copper, Trump and infrastructure

Since the latter part of September, copper inventories has shrunk a huge 34 percent, according to LME tracking. That follows a half year of copper inventory gains, pointing to demand quickly picking up.

This is happening as President-elect Donald Trump gets ready to implement his infrastructure policy, which should provide support for the price of copper for a significant period of time. There is no doubt there will be a big increase in spending on U.S. infrastructure once Trump takes office.

With that in mind, the question is how much that will affect the price of copper and for how long. Not only could it change the past performance following these quick upward moves in the price of copper, it could do so in a powerful way.

This could lead to China competing for the metal before the price of copper takes off for a prolonged period of time. If that's how it plays out, it would create even more tailwinds for the metal, and by extension, for Turquoise Hill.


What's important to me is how much this could positively disrupt the performance of copper prices since 2000, after these quick upward moves.

It could climb higher than the approximate 42 percent over a 12-month period when it does find support, or it could be extended much longer, generating an even more positive scenario for Turquoise Hill if it extends long enough for it to hit its better gold grades.

That would not only boost the share price, but extend the growth momentum of the stock even longer. If that were to happen, the price of Turquoise Hill could test the $4.75 mark, and possibly even $5 per share if the price of gold moves up in unison with copper. Even if gold stays above $1,200 per ounce, it could be a positive catalyst if copper demand remains strong for longer, and it surpasses the past performance because of the inclusion of significant infrastructure spending.

Turquoise Hill should enjoy a nice run over the next year, and could surprise even further and longer to the upside, depending on the health of the global economy and the length of time associated with U.S. spending on infrastructure.

Even though the share price has enjoyed a nice run recently, I think it's only just getting going.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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Rio Tinto outlines new $5 billion productivity push under long-term strategy focused on cash generation

November 24 -- Rio Tinto has committed to generating $5 billion of additional free cash flow over the next five years from a productivity drive unveiled today as part of its long-term strategy.

In a presentation at an investor seminar in Sydney, Rio Tinto chief executive J-S Jacques underlined the strategy centred around a strong focus on safety, cash generation, a world-class portfolio, commitment to capital discipline and the delivery of superior shareholder returns.

Rio Tinto intends to raise productivity across its $50 billion portfolio of assets by focusing on operational excellence to generate superior shareholder returns through the cycle. This is expected to generate a total $5 billion of further free cash flow by the end of 2021 in addition to the cash cost reduction target of $2 billion across 2016 and 2017.

J-S Jacques said "Our strategy plays to our strengths: world-class assets, a strong balance sheet along with commercial and operating excellence. A relentless focus on generating cash, together with capital discipline - prioritising value over volume - means that investors can expect us to deliver superior shareholder returns whilst continuing to invest through the cycle. We have the right team and performance culture in place to deliver this strategy.

"We have placed our assets at the heart of the business to drive improved performance and ensure our resilience through the cycle. We are well on track to meet our target of $2 billion of cash cost savings by the end of next year. We are also taking advantage of any opportunity to generate value from mine through to market. Lifting the productivity on our $50 billion asset base creates a low risk and highly attractive return. It will deliver an additional $5 billion of free cash flow over the next five years.

"We are continuing to reshape our portfolio. Following our announcement yesterday that we will sell our Lochaber smelter in Scotland for $410 million, the total of agreed divestments in 2016 now stands at $1.3 billion."

In addition to improving the performance of its asset base, Rio Tinto is also committed to investing in growing the business. In the near term, this will be delivered via three high-quality growth projects – Silvergrass (Iron Ore in Western Australia), Amrun (Bauxite in Queensland) and Oyu Tolgoi (Copper and Gold in Mongolia). This investment underpins an annual average copper equivalent growth in excess of two per cent between 2015 and 2025. Longer term, exploration remains a priority for Rio Tinto, with a commitment to maintain the Group's successful exploration programme.

Rio Tinto is committed to maintaining an appropriate balance between investment in the business and cash returns to shareholders. We expect total cash returns to shareholders over the longer term to be in a range of 40 to 60 per cent of underlying earnings in aggregate through the cycle.

Other key points from the seminar include:

Link to release


Rio Tinto Investor Seminar 2016 – Sydney, November 24

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OPP closed -7.14% Wednesday to 1.63p

Origo Partners: Seeking to Divest Entire Portfolio by November 2018

November 23 -- Origo is a closed-end investment company which holds a portfolio of investments in unquoted, and illiquid, publicly traded companies based or principally active in China and Mongolia. Origo is seeking, through an orderly realisation programme, to divest its entire portfolio by November 2018. The Company provides the following update in relation to its portfolio. 


·         Publicly quoted positions account for 14 per cent of the portfolio by fair value as at 30 June 2016 (31 December 2015: 3 per cent) following the successful listings of two portfolio companies in China; 

·         68 per cent of the portfolio by fair value as at 30 June 2016 is now either listed or subject to indicative, non-binding, terms of mergers or disposal; and 

·         Settlement of costly and restrictive legal dispute completed in Q3 2016.

Link to release

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975 trading flat midday at HK$0.295

MCS Shares Released as Collateral to BNP, ICBC Loan

November 23 (Cover Mongolia) --

Link to Odjargal, Od's change of interest notices

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VKA last traded A$0.024 on November 21

Viking Mines Shares Suspended Pending Announcement on Capital Raising

November 24 -- Viking Mines Limited ("the Company") refers to its request for a trading halt made on Tuesday 22nd November 2016. Pursuant to ASX Listing Rule 17.2, the Company requests a voluntary suspension of its securities effective immediately pending a material announcement to the market regarding a Capital Raising.

Link to release

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Local Market

MSE Trading Report: Top 20 -0.58%, ALL -0.44%, Turnover 12.6 Million Shares, 95 Million T-Bills

November 23 (MSE) --

Link to report

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Reds are when MNT fell, greens when it rose. Bold reds are rates that set a new historic high at the time.

BoM MNT Rates: Wednesday, November 23 Close










































































































































































Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮2,450 Sell ₮2,460), TDB (Buy ₮2,448 Sell ₮2,460), Golomt (Buy ₮2,450 Sell ₮2,461), XacBank (Buy ₮2,450 Sell ₮2,465), State Bank (Buy ₮2,450 Sell ₮2,461)

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

Link to rates

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BoM issues 152 billion 1-week bills, total outstanding -11.7% to ₮436.4 billion

November 23 (Bank of Mongolia) BoM issues 1 week bills worth MNT 152 billion at a weighted interest rate of 15.0 percent per annum /For previous auctions click here/

Link to release

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40 Billion 52-Week Treasury Auction Receives No Bids

November 23 (Bank of Mongolia) Auction for 52 weeks maturity Government Treasury bill was announced at face value of 40.0 billion MNT. Government Treasury bill was not sold due to absence of both competitive and non-competitive bids.

Link to release

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SMI: Plunging Sales, Rising Prices and Deteriorating Business Confidence Put Further Strain on the Mongolian Economy

  • Sales and Market growth contract at faster rates
  • Business Confidence Index at lowest level for 10 months
  • Job losses continue as the economy struggles with recession

November 22 (World Economics) The Headline Mongolian Sales Managers' Index (SMI) for November was 36.8, down from 39.5 in October. This represents the third monthly fall in the index value, as a run of 7 consecutive monthly gains came to an end in September. The Market and Sales Growth Indexes both experienced sharp drops during the month which has also been reflected in falling business confidence levels. Sales managers are reporting that the weakness of the Tugrik is severely hurting their businesses as the Tugrik is now at its lowest exchange rate against the Chinese Renminbi for well over 10 years.

Headline Sales Managers' Index

Sales Managers' Indexes Trends







Business Confidence



Market Growth



Sales Output



Prices Charged



Staffing Levels



Business Confidence Index

Prices Charged Index

Link to release

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Are casinos the right path to riches?

November 23 (UB Post) Casinos have been controversial in Mongolia since the late 1990s, after the authors of the Law on Casinos went to jail in 1999. Parliament approved the Law on Casinos put forward by MPs S.Batchuluun, D.Enkhbaatar, and D.Battulga on January 15, 1998, but the MPs were accused of engaging in corruption during the tender process to select a company to carry out casino operations in Mongolia.

On April 10, 1999, immunity from prosecution for the three MPs was revoked, and Parliament repealed the law on January 22, 1999, banning casino operations. That is how the first attempt to open a casino in Mongolia failed.

In 2007, a new group of legislators put forward a proposal to establish legalized gambling, but rumors that the proposal was the result of lobbying from a foreign investment company resulted in opposition from Parliament, and the second attempt to open a casino was blocked.

A 2010 attempt to legalize gambling also met resistance, with the authors of a new casino law being accused of being the puppets of outside influences.

The fourth and most recent attempt to open casinos was made during the February 11, 2016, meeting of Cabinet. The Cabinet's ministers approved a casino bill and voted to repeal the 1999 parliamentary ban on casinos in support of generating financial resources for the state and enhancing tourism. Parliament's Standing Committee on Law approved the bill with a 78.6 percent vote in favor of the draft.

The bill specified that a license for carrying out casino operations for ten consecutive years would be sold for 35 billion MNT. The Minister of Environment, Green Development and Tourism emphasized last year that two licenses would be issued if the law was approved, and revenue of 74 billion to 138 billion MNT would be generated for the state each year.  Even though a law on casinos has not been approved yet, J.Erdenebat's Cabinet has the same idea as their predecessors: opening casinos to deal with economic challenges.

Former Minister of Finance and economist MP D.Khayankhyrvaa said, "Mongolians have been debating casinos, but a number of countries throughout the world have legalized casinos. If a casino can benefit economic development, we should kick it off soon, but there should be legal sanctions, such as only serving foreigners and setting an age limit for gambling."

MP O.Baasankhuu, a lawyer, pointed out that he opposes a law on casinos because casinos are always connected to money laundering, drug trafficking, and other illegal enterprises. He added that taking control of adhering to the law, making sure that foreigners and Mongolians are not engaging in illegal activities, and addressing illegal operations will cost a lot of money.

Former Minister for Construction and Urban Development D.Tsogtbaatar, now a diplomat, noted that opening a casino to make more money to deal with economic challenges is ridiculous, because money coming from casinos is nothing compared to mining megaproject profits. He also said businesses like casinos always face a lot of challenges to keep business on track.

Deputy Director of MonMacau, L.Baigal, who went to jail with three MPs in 1999, said that soccer and basketball have been linked to gambling, but when it comes to casinos, people are afraid, and politicians who nothing invested in opening a casino encourage resistance.

Chairman of the National Policy Agency of Mongolia R.Chinggis pointed out that laws and regulations on legal enforcement should be improved, and that Mongolia is collaborating with international organizations to fight money laundering and terrorism.

President of Naran Trade Group S.Boldkhet, a businessman and former MP, said that the most important thing is transparent tenders for licenses and contracted business, and the state has to focus on organizing tenders clearly. He added that Zamiin Uud checkpoint at the Chinese border and Altanbulag checkpoint along the Russian border are the best locations for casinos. Myanmar and Laos have built casino hotels along the Chinese border, and they are known to bring Chinese gamblers with a lot of money into their countries.

People know that there are conflicts of interest when legislators block each other on casino legislation. Some people say that high taxes on customers will help minimize illegal activity and keep economically vulnerable gamblers away. They imagine that if taxes are high, only rich people will go to casinos, so it would be possible to make money without focusing on bringing in crowds, but this strategy is risky.

Mongolia wants to open casino hotels at border checkpoints, so the state needs to be prepared for a lot of money being spent on infrastructure at these places along the border. Casino developers won't want to invest too much in construction without the state offering tax exemption and infrastructure investment.

On the other hand, Mongolia is a small country with two neighbors facing money laundering, drug trafficking, and other challenges, so we need to be careful about opening casinos. If illegal activities such as money laundering and drug trafficking begin sprouting up in a small country with a population of only three million people, it will threaten our national security.

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METALS-London copper holds gains on inflation signs

* London copper holds overnight gains

* Seen as a good hedge against U.S. inflation

* Dollar strength also a factor (Updates prices)

SYDNEY, Nov 23 (Reuters) - London copper was little changed in Asian trade on Wednesday after overnight gains on signs of rising U.S. inflation and further depreciation in the yuan.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.1 percent from the late London session to $5,624 a tonne by 0700 GMT.

The most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange slipped 0.3 percent to 45,760 yuan ($6,641)a tonne.

The dollar hovered near a recent 13 1/2-year peak on Wednesday, taking a breather after surging on expectations that U.S. interest rates will rise further than earlier anticipated due to prospects of increased fiscal stimulus under a Trump administration., leading to higher inflation.

Against a basket of six major currencies, the dollar last stood at 101.05 That was up from Tuesday's low of 100.65 and not too far from Friday's high of 101.48, which was the highest for the dollar index since April 2003.

Data on Tuesday showed U.S. home resales rose in October to their highest level in more than 9-1/2 years, helping to support the greenback.

Copper is seen as a cheaper hedge against inflation than precious metals, while holding stronger upside potential.

However, traders at Argonaut Securities warned on Wednesday that while copper inventories on the London Metal Exchange continued to slide, down to an 11-week low, providing a positive fundamental outlook, SHFE inventories are up around 30 percent since early November.

"We think the increase in exchange inventory on the SHFE reflected an increase in imports as well as increase in refined copper production," Argonaut said in a note.

"While copper prices may continue to be buoyed by positive sentiments on demand outlook, there will be room for price consolidation on risks of stimulus policies delay/adjustments in United States or in China," it said.

Elsewhere, LME nickel slipped 0.2 percent to $11,350 and Shanghai nickel was down 0.3 percent.

Link to article

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Gold Falls Below $1,200 as Stock Markets Boom, Fed Set to Raise

·         Bullion heads for second monthly decline as dollar gains

·         Major U.S. stock benchmarks rallied to records on Tuesday

November 23 (Bloomberg) Gold futures fell below $1,200 an ounce for the first time since February as the Federal Reserve prepares to hike interest rates, U.S. stocks notch up records and Donald Trump gets ready to take office.

The exodus has unfolded as gold prices head for a second monthly decline on expectations President-elect Trump will bolster spending, helping push the odds for a rate increase next month to 100 percent and boosting the dollar. Minutes of the Fed's November meeting due later Wednesday are likely to confirm officials were moving closer to raising borrowing costs before the election, and developments since have served only to bolster the case for tightening. Major U.S. stock benchmarks rallied to records on Tuesday.

Gold futures for December delivery fell 1.3 percent to $1,195.90 an ounce at 8:35 a.m. on the Comex in New York.

"It took a bit longer than I thought, but we got there," David Govett, head of precious metals trading at Marex Spectron Group said by e-mail of the drop below $1,200. "It's not looking great for gold."

Link to article


Gold Hits Eight-Month Low Under Pressure From a Strong DollarWSJ, November 23

Trumpflation Might Not Help Gold if Real Rates Keep RisingBloomberg, November 23

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Here's the Goldman Sachs note that's got iron ore traders excited

November 23 (Business Insider) Even by their usual standards, the moves in iron ore markets in recent days have been wild.

Slammed last week, prices ripped higher on Tuesday, seemingly out of nowhere.

It's gone from a rout to a rally in less than 48 hours.

While there's any number of reasons being cited to explain the sudden and dramatic turnaround, one factor that's been cited is a research note from Goldman Sachs in which the bank upgraded their view for prices in the year ahead.

Given the level of interest, it's an opportune time to see exactly what it said.

Here's a few key snippets from the research note from Hui Shan, Amber Cai, Christian Lelong and Jeffrey Curry, analysts at Goldman Sachs.

On fundamental factors that drove the rally this year

Demand surprised to the upside on the back of the China credit stimulus earlier this year. Our China economics team estimates that, in H1 2016, a total of RMB 14 trillion was injected into the economy, equivalent to 35% of GDP. During the first 10 months of 2016, property sales in China increased 27% yoy, auto sales climbed 14%, and excavator sales jumped 17%.

In addition to higher steel demand, inventory restocking also boosted demand for iron ore. China port inventory increased 20Mt in 2016, reversing the destocking trend in 2015 and resulting in a tighter seaborne market.

Lower than expected iron ore production is another tailwind to iron ore in 2016.

Iron ore's relationship to coking coal prices

Metallurgical coal prices in China rallied strongly in 2016 as a result of supply-side reforms aimed at cutting excess capacity in the coal industry. Because metallurgical coal is a key ingredient in making steel in China, steel mills had to raise steel prices as production costs rose. In particular, high-grade iron ore, which needs less metallurgical coal in steel production than low-grade iron ore, enjoyed a large premium when met coal became more expensive. Although one would typically expect a limited or even negative impact of higher metallurgical coal prices on iron ore demand, the market appears to be chasing the rally with iron ore prices tracking closely to rising steel prices.

And the more speculative elements behind the move in prices

With ample onshore money supply, low returns on bank deposits, and relatively tight capital controls, Chinese investors seem to be searching for higher yields, from the stock market in 2015 to the property market in 2016. In recent months, the renewed CNY depreciation against the US dollar and the government's effort in curbing price appreciation in the real estate market may have led to speculation in the commodities market.

The outlook for prices in 2017

We envision a three-step price path in 2017.

In the first step, we expect a near-term correction, which is already underway since iron ore prices reached almost US$80/t post-election, to continue until prices reach US$65/t. During 2017H1, we see supply and demand roughly in balance and expect prices to stay above US$60/t. During 2017H2, however, we expect the supply pressure to begin to build and iron ore prices to fall to US$55/t by year-end.

We revise up our long-term equilibrium price to US$45/t (previously US$35/t).

And the risks to its forecasts

On the macro front, political uncertainties loom large both in the US and in China. While the market priced a large demand boost from infrastructure spending by the Trump administration following the election outcome, it is unclear to what extent protectionist policies may also be pursued which could negatively affect global growth and the demand for capex commodities.

Regarding China, policymakers have been trying to strike a delicate balance between near-term growth and long-term structural reforms. While nearterm growth appears to be winning the upper hand in 2017, the balance may shift in 2018 after the leadership transition.

On the micro front, iron ore port inventory has already risen to above historical average levels and it remains to be seen how much inventory can continue to increase without negatively affecting spot prices.

Additionally, the onshore iron ore futures market has proved to be an easy target for speculation and bullish sentiment due to its backwarded forward curve.

While Goldman has clearly become more optimistic on the outlook for prices, it's worthwhile noting that its forecasts are all below the current spot price of $74.50 a tonne.

And all of the risks it has cited are to the downside, not the upside.

Given the wild price moves seen in recent weeks have been driven by futures markets, leaving the benchmark spot price up over 70% for the year, Shan, Cai, Lelong and Curry appear confident about one thing in the year ahead.

"If the pattern continues, we would expect the path of iron ore prices in 2017 to be anything but smooth."

Best of luck to the Australian treasury staff who are formulating the next set of budget forecasts.

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Oil Prices Flip to Gains as Iraq Promises Production Cuts

Iraq pledge, decline in U.S. crude stockpiles help cancel out dollar-related losses

November 23 (WSJ) Oil futures flipped to gains Wednesday after Iraq officials said the country would cut production along with OPEC and U.S. inventories showed an unexpected decline.

U.S. crude oil for January delivery recently gained 12 cents, or 0.3%, to $48.15 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It had traded below $47.50 a barrel before starting to rally around 10 a.m. ET. Brent, the global benchmark, gained 8 cents, or 0.2%, to $49.20 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

Iraq is prepared to cut production, cooperating with other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries who are trying to end two years of oversupply in crude markets, the country's oil minister Jabbar al-Luaibi told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. OPEC is preparing to meet in Vienna on Nov. 30 to agree on a production cut, and Iraq has been one of the members most reluctant to participate.

U.S. crude stockpiles also fell by 1.3 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 18, a surprise for many analysts who had expected an addition to stockpiles. Analysts surveyed by the Journal had forecast an addition of 800,000 barrels. Many bullish traders are waiting for bloated stockpiles to drain, expecting that could be the tipping point for prices to go on a strong rally.

"It's a step in the right direction," said Scott Shelton, broker at ICAP PLC. "But I don't think they're significant enough to take our eyes off of OPEC at this point."

Whether OPEC can strike a deal has been central to oil trading since they first agreed cutbacks were needed back in September. But many have been skeptical about the group's ability to finalize a deal, or even cooperate enough to stick to one they do set. Iraq and Iran have been at the forefront of a group of countries claiming they deserve exemptions and that other OPEC members should lead the cuts.

Whether they agree is the most important factor in oil right now, said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto. If they do, it makes the cartel more likely to complete a deal, one that could be significant enough to reduce production so that it starts to fall short of demand by the second half of 2017, he said. That supply shortage would lead stockpiles to really drain and give bulls the rally they are betting on.

"Whether (Iraq and Iran) are part of the agreement is a pretty important thing," Mr. Melek said. "It suggests there's a consensus building."

Oil, however, has struggled to rally far, with many traders skeptical of OPEC generally and a slate of other factors keeping it in check in recent weeks. Sharp rises in the dollar have hurt oil throughout Wednesday morning.

A rising dollar makes dollar-denominated commodities like oil more expensive for traders who are based in countries using other currencies, and those commodities often fall as the dollar rises. Oil and the dollar have had an especially strong tie during large stretches of the past year, and a rising dollar has been one of the biggest factors pulling oil back from the highs it hit in mid-October.

Orders for durable goods—products designed to last longer than three years, such as trucks, computers and metals—rose 4.8% to a seasonally adjusted $239.4 billion from a month earlier, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The rise was nearly double what analysts expected.

The Wall Street Journal Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies, recently gained 0.8% to 92.02, its highest level since 2002.

"The U.S. dollar is tearing away. That's a massive headwind," said Tariq Zahir, who oversees $8 million as managing member of Tyche Capital Advisors LLC.

Gasoline futures recently gained 0.6% to $1.4175 a gallon. Diesel futures gained 0.4% to $1.5329 a gallon.

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This metal is enjoying one of the quietest bull markets of 2016

November 23 (Money Week) Today we turn our attention to a metal which often passes without notice.

It isn't glamorous like gold or silver, nor is it rare like platinum or rhodium.

It isn't controversial like uranium, strategic like tungsten or cobalt, nor even widely talked about like iron or copper.

But it has, quietly, had a stellar 2016. It's currently up almost 60%.

Today we're talking zinc…

Zinc is in short supply

Having started 2016 at just over 70c per pound, the price currently stands at $1.17 a pound.

Here's the chart. If there's a clearer uptrend in any asset class this year, I'd be glad to know what it is.

All of the usual factors have been driving the price. Firstly, there's a lack of supply. China is the world's top producer, contributing some 37% of global supply last year. However, last year it shut down some 26 lead and zinc mines for environmental reasons.

In addition, Australia's Century mine and Ireland's Lisheen mine, which between them produced about 5% of the global supply of zinc, have shut down due to depletion. Meanwhile, Glencore Xstrata's Perseverance and Brunswick mines also recently closed.

The amount warehoused at the London Metal Exchange (LME) has fallen steadily. This chart shows LME stocks over the last five years. You can see how supply is falling each year.

As the zinc supply has dwindled, so the price has risen – and there's nothing like a rising price to bring in more buyers.

The next chart is for diehard zinc nerds only – the rest of you can skip it. It comes from Nick Laird over at and plots the zinc price in black over LME supplies in blue since 1971.

The relationship between LME stockpiles and price is not as pure and simple as you might think, but, as I say, this chart is for the interest of zinc buffs only. The rest of us can move on.

After iron, aluminium and copper, zinc is the fourth-most-used metal in the world. (Although be aware that in some years this title falls to titanium). Annual zinc demand stands at 13.4 m tonnes.

Per year, it is a $34bn market. To put that number in some kind of perspective, silver is about an $18bn market and platinum just $8bn. Copper meanwhile, is closer to $150bn.

What is zinc used for?

The main uses for zinc are as follows.


This is the most important use for zinc, accounting for about 50% of annual demand. Iron and steel are coated in zinc to prevent rust. Galvanised steel is one of the strongest construction materials there is. It's used to make the frames of large buildings, bridges, beams, piping, roofs, staircases – you name it.


The world's first battery – invented by Alessandro Volta in 1799 – used zinc as an anode. Zinc is still used in all kinds of batteries, from cheap to expensive: zinc-air (such as in hearing aids); silver-zinc (used in the aerospace industry); zinc-bromine (for energy storage); and plain old alkaline batteries – such as the AAs I have in my computer's mouse.


Zinc, lead and tin alloy is used to join electrical components and pipes.


This is actually zinc, copper and nickel, and is used in keys, zips, silverware and musical instruments (brass requires zinc).

Almost half of annual zinc demand comes from China, which is still building buildings and bridges, despite its economic slowdown. And if Donald Trump's proposed infrastructure splurge comes to fruition, you can expect US zinc demand to grow considerably in the coming years. Zinc is a beneficiary of government infrastructure spending.

How to buy zinc

The simplest way to invest in zinc is to buy one of the zinc exchange-traded funds (ETF Securities offers a London-listed one under the convenient ticker ZINC) or to buy it via a spreadbet. All the usual risk warnings apply (particularly to the spreadbetting).

Alternatively, you can go down the individual company route. BHP Billiton (LSE: BLT) is the world's largest producer, although, of course, it produces many other commodities as well, so it is not a pure zinc play. I like BHP and, like zinc, it is in a strong uptrend. At 1,326p it has more than doubled from its lows of below 600p at the start of the year.

Other large, UK-listed zinc producers include Anglo-American (LSE: AAL)Vedanta (LSE: VED) and KAZ Minerals (LSE: KAZ). All of these companies are in strong uptrends, and the last in particular is on a bonanza run, so caveat emptor.

A purer play might be Griffin Mining (LSE: GFM), which owns just under 90% of an operating zinc-gold mine about 300 miles north west of Beijing. However, while I'm mentioning the company, that does not constitute a recommendation – if you're keen on the theme, then it's one to do your own further research on. Otherwise I'd stick with one of the bigger players.

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Politics & Legal

Friday, November 25 declared non-working day

November 23 ( November 26, 1924 was the day that Mongolia declared itself as an independent country with the adoption of its first constitution. Since then, the Independence Day is annually observed on November 26 as a national holiday in Mongolia commemorating the nation's independence. 

This year the country marks the 92nd anniversary and the Cabinet announced November 26 officially as non-working day. 

However, the Independence Day falls on a Saturday and the public holiday moves to the preceding Friday (Nov 25th).

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Day of Proclamation of Republic to be celebrated on FridayMontsame, November 23

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WOLTS fieldwork continues to progress in Tanzania and Mongolia

November 22 (Mokoro) Mokoro's WOLTS Project – our multi-country action-oriented strategic research project in support of women's land rights – has now completed all our pilot study's Phase 3 baseline survey fieldwork. A team from our Tanzanian NGO partners, Haki Madini, conducted the survey between August and October in Tanzania, following our Mongolian NGO partners, PCC, who conducted the survey in July and August in Mongolia. The baseline fieldwork was carried out in two pastoralist communities in each country where land rights and livelihoods are being affected by mining investments. Read more about WOLTS here.

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President Elbegdorj visits Khan-Uul Disaster Risk Reduction Center

November 23 (UB Post) President Ts.Elbegdorj visited KhanUul District's Disaster Risk Reduction Center on Monday, to oversee how emergency services are provided to residents in the event of a disaster. Chairman of the National Emergency Management Agency of Mongolia (NEMA) Brigadier B.Badral welcomed President Ts.Elbegdorj and introduced him to the center's operations.

The President learned about the center's earthquake response training, tall building rescue procedures, treating carbon monoxide poisoning, and first-aid kit distribution, and also watched an educational film about disaster risk management.

Since the center's opening, a number of adults, children, officials, teachers, and students have attended training courses on disaster risk management and how to respond during a disaster. The center provides information about where to go to during a disaster, how to prepare a first-aid kit, how to use basic firefighting equipment, and other critical skills for disaster response.

The center's training rooms are equipped to meet international standards. Students from Ulaanbaatar Empathy School were joined by President Ts.Elbegdorj for disaster training at the center.

President Ts.Elbegdorj noted that natural disasters are unexpected threats that can turn into painful and heartbreaking tragedies, so great attention should be paid to disaster risk prevention. He noted that scientists say a huge earthquake hit the area of present day Ulaanbaatar about 1,000 years ago, and that there are seismic fissures around Ulaanbaatar.

He added that preparing for disaster can reduce the risk of damage and loss, and that the state is responsible for keeping its people safe and educating them about how to stay safe during a disaster. The President said that he hopes to see Disaster Risk Reduction Centers open in Darkhan and Erdenet.

He noted that scientists cannot predict when an earthquake will happen, so people must prepare themselves for disaster response and participate in the training offered by the center.

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Mongolian Sustainable Finance Forum 2016 to be held on Friday

November 23 (UB Post) The Mongolian Bankers' Association has partnered with the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism (MEGDT) to organize the Mongolian Sustainable Finance Forum (MSFF) on November 25 at Best Western Premier Tuushin Hotel, kicking off at 8:30 a.m.

During the third MSFF, stakeholders will assess the progress of both the Mongolian Sustainable Finance Program and the Green Credit Fund, set future targets and visions, and discuss further cooperation between banks and non-banking financial institutions. The event aims to inspire local companies to pursue green initiatives through interactive sessions to exchange information about successful green practices in energy, industry, and agriculture; and to enhance the participation of the public and private sectors in sustainable development and strengthen their partnership.

In 2015, Mongolian banks adopted MSFF recommendations and guidelines for mining, construction, agriculture, and production. Accordingly, banks have issued financing for projects that are environmentally-friendly, low risk, and beneficial to the nation.

This year's forum will be held as part of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030: Planning to Implementation National Forum to be hosted by the MEGDT, Ministry of Finance, a working group led by the Prime Minister, and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Economy.

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"Science, Technology and Innovation -2016" exposition

November 23 (MONTSAME) An exposition named "Science, Technology and Innovation-2016" opened today at the Fine Arts Gallery of Mongolia.

The event is hosted with a view to find application of outcomes of researches and new technologies in production and economic application of intellectual works, promote and disseminate scientific achievements.

Devoted to the 95th anniversary of foundation of scientific institution in Mongolia, the 65th jubilee of the Academy of Sciences of Mongolia and the Day of Scholars, the exposition has brought together over 80 scientific and research organizations, universities, laboratories and NGOs.

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Live horse exports temporarily stopped

Ulaanbaatar, November 23 (MONTSAME) In acceptance of the request by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry to the General Agency for Specialized Inspection, the live exports of horses were resolved to discontinue until the spring of 2017.

A team of specialized inspectors has assessed procedure of meat and livestock exports through the Bichigt checkpoint, and concluded that the operation is improper. Horses for export are herded for many days without proper feeding. The risk of horses to freeze their eyes or die from starvation is very high in winter time. According to the Agency, there have been cases where the horses unable to move were pushed by cranes across the border.

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Japan's Miyakonojo wants to collaborate with UB in beef trade

Ulaanbaatar, November 23 (MONTSAME) Deputy Mayor J.Batbayasgalan received a Japanese delegation headed by Mr Ishii Yoshihiro, head of the Agricultural Division of Miyakonojo city, Miyazaki prefecture, of Japan on November 22. Miyakonojo is well-known for its broad range of beef products.

Mr Yoshihiro said starting from the last year the city administration has been advertising Japanese canned beef and other products in Ulaanbaatar with help of the Japanese Embassy here. The beef products from Miyakonojo are recognized in many other countries, and covers one fifth of the total meat consumption of Japan, explained Mr Yoshihiro and said the city is interested in supplying its beef products and cooperating in other possible areas.

Commercializing meat products on the global markets is a very important step, stated Mr Batbayasgalan. "Mongolia and Japan have a long history of cooperation. I am confident that the Mongolian agricultural sector would support your initiatives", he added.

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AREVA Corporate Foundation: FXB Village Program in Mongolia Moving Forward

November 22  -- With support from the AREVA Corporate Foundation and from AREVA staff in Mongolia, the Fran├žois-Xavier Bagnoud association (FXB) is deploying, since February 2016,  its three-year program to lead 100 Mongolian families out of extreme poverty sustainably and enable them to achieve social and economic independence.

During the first semester 2016, more than 200 participants were enrolled in five different training sessions on growing vegetables in the yard and in the greenhouse and on healthy life and hygiene. The project team helped 14 people to get their health insurance and eventually to receive a medical treatment. The nutritional support provided to all 100 households in the first semester is extended till the end of 2016.


The FXB Village program creates a network of 100 poverty-stricken families – a total of 500 to 600 people, half of whom are children. For three years, they receive nutritional, health, lodging and educational support as well as seed money so that each family can begin income-generating activities (IGA). By earning stable, regular income, the families are in a position to meet their own needs.

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EITI working group holds 42nd meeting

Ulaanbaatar, November 23 (MONTSAME) The 42nd meeting of the working group on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) was attended by officials from the Ministries of Finance, Mining and Heavy Industry and the Environment, the Anti-Corruption Agency, the General Customs Authority, the Authorities for Mineral Resources and Water Management, and the Oyu Tolgoi, the Boroo Gold and the Petro Matad companies, on November 23.

A member of the National Council on EITI and vice chairman of the General Taxation Authority, B.Zayabal chaired the meeting, which presented a draft 2015 General Report of EITI Mongolia, the performance of action plan for 2016 EITI Mongolia, and the Roadmap Program for Uncovering the shareholders and beneficiaries of mining companies.

The gathered approved the draft 2015 General Report and decided to prepare it for submission to the National Council on EITI. The working group was tasked to revise the Roadmap Program by reflecting some recommendations from the meeting participants.

The National Council on EITI consists of  the Prime Minister, J.Erdenebat, who is the chairman of the committee, vice chairman - the Minister of Mining and Heavy Industry, S.Dashdorj and the Secretary - the senior adviser to the PM, N.Enkhbayar.

The EITI was established in 2002 under auspices of the United Nations, and Mongolia joined it in 2006.

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City manager reveals Ulaanbaatar has no road salt left

November 23 ( The coldest capital city in the world, Ulaanbaatar, which has seen heavy snows in the last 2 weeks leaving the city to face slippery road conditions. Staff from the City sanitation department, the polices, and even private and government organizations such including Power Plant 3 and other large government organizations are out helping to break up the ice on the roads.

The National Trauma Orthopedic Research Center of Mongolia announced that in recent days they received around 250-350 injured people per day, and about 60 percent of them have suffered their injuries by slipping on ice.

Although Mongolia was not expecting this much snow, the City Mayor at least should be apologising rather than blaming the weather and natural events. The City managers stated that last year we had 13 snowfalls in total, but this year since the cold weather arrived we had 13 snowfalls, and now the city will not have any salt grit for the coming 4 days.

Until my city gets some salt grit, please people be careful of slippery roads and try not to get stressed out.

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New greenhouses bring Mongolians fresh vegetables during winter

November 23 (UB Post) Mongolian farmers are seeing success with a project to grow six different vegetables in greenhouses, including cucumbers, tomatoes, salad greens, and spinach, ready for harvest within 45 days during winter using heated soil.

Mongolia has been implementing a three-phase project to grow vegetables in greenhouses using renewable energy since 2014. The project has been proven to be effective as farmers have collected their first harvest and are getting ready to continue the project during the winter with support from the Ministry of Energy.

Soil heating technology is widely used by Japanese farmers to enhance vegetable growth and increase yields for greenhouse tomatoes and other vegetables. Spokesperson of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry Ts.Tumurtulga explained that it's possible to heat soil by installing heating pipes five meters underground. A soil-heated greenhouse can maintain a temperature of 0 to 1 degrees Celsius even if the outside temperature is -30 degrees Celsius, Ts.Tumurtulga stated.

"We're able to plant and harvest vegetables within 45 to 50 days with this technology," said N.Zandanshagai, the project's engineer. "The greenhouse is 240 square meters in size. During the summer, we're able to harvest 3.5 kg of vegetables from an area of two square meters. As for winter, the harvest volume decreases slightly, to around one kg."

N.Zandanshagai claims that spinach grows best in greenhouses during winter. Ministry spokesperson Ts.Tumurtulga emphasized that Mongolian producers  could fully meet domestic demand for tomatoes, spinach, cucumbers, and other greenhouse vegetables if the project is expanded. He added that soil heating technology costs up to 30 percent less than other methods for supplying heat to greenhouses.

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China Cancels Intergovernmental Meeting with Mongolia over Dalai Lama Visit

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on November 23, 2016

November 23 (China MFA) --


Q: According to the Mongolian media, the Chinese side has indefinitely postponed an inter-governmental meeting and a meeting on mines and energy with the Mongolian side due to be held soon because Mongolia green lighted Dalai's visit. Can you confirm that? How do you comment on that?

A: We have expressed our solemn position on Dalai's visit to Mongolia. The erroneous action taken by the Mongolian side on Dalai's visit hurt the political foundation of China-Mongolia relations and exerted negative impact on the development of bilateral relations. The Chinese side requires the Mongolian side to genuinely respect China's core interests and major concerns, take effective means to remove the negative impact caused by its erroneous action, and bring China-Mongolia relations back to the track of sound and steady growth.

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Prime Minister meets outgoing Ambassador of Japan

November 23 (UB Post) Prime Minister J.Erdenebat received outgoing Ambassador of Japan to Mongolia Takenori Shimizu on Tuesday. At the beginning of their meeting, the Prime Minister emphasized that Ambassador Shimizu, a famous Mongol scholar, has greatly contributed to developing relations and cooperation between the two countries for nearly 40 years.

Prime Minister J.Erdenebat expressed his satisfaction with the strategic partnership cooperation between the two countries, which Ambassador Shimizu helped accomplish during his five-year mission. He also thanked the Ambassador for helping make his visit to Japan successful.

During the meeting, Ambassador Shimizu said that his five-year mission has gone by very quickly for him. He pointed out that Mongolia has had the opportunity to kickstart economic development in recent years, but did not take advantage of the opportunity.

The Ambassador stated that he thinks the Mongolian economy will recover in the next three years if the Government of Mongolia executes robust policy. He asked the Prime Minister to help support the work of the next Japanese Ambassador to Mongolia.

At the end of their meeting, Prime Minister J.Erdenebat said that he believes Ambassador Shimizu will work for Mongolia by collaborating with Japanese and Mongolian entrepreneurs and pursuing Japanese investment in Mongolia.

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T.Shimizu: "Mongolia can restore its economic growth within 3 years"Montsame, November 23

Five years in Mongolia: Japanese Ambassador returns to, November 23

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Culture & Society

Dalai Lama's Declaration at Buddhist Science International Conference

November 23 ( We deliver you the brief of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's declaration at the Buddhist Science and Science International Conference. 

You can reduce your anger by meditation of consideration (cogitation)

Meditation is not only confined to Buddhism, other religions also use meditation. For example, the Christian religion is based on inner spiritual belief. Most importantly, instead of following superstitions, people should be sure of what they are doing. The main goal of Buddhism is to enlighten people by teaching (edification, treatise, precepts). There are 2 different types of meditation in Buddhism. First, meditation focused on breathing, to eliminate anger, in other words, that you can eliminate your anger by meditation of consideration. Also, you can eliminate your anger by improving your grace and clemency. Don't treat Buddhism as only a religion. Try to understand the nature of things.

The main teaching concept of Buddhism is that every effect has cause and condition, not that the earth has its maker. But in their beliefs, most people pray to god to save and help them, which means that they believe in something that Buddhism does not proclaim. When you view Buddhism without understanding its teachings, there is no difference between your beliefs and other religious theories that talk about the maker of the earth.

Science used to explain that the mind is the product of the human brain. But there is an experiment that when you meditate, every single part of your brain works, including cells that do not work. Based on this, there is something that makes these cells work and that could be consciousness and mind. Therefore, based on the fact that with an influence of mind some cells of brain can work, the mind could be something more than an only part of human brain. Thus, we are very close to proving that the mind is much more than the human brain.

Every effect does not exist only by itself

If it does, it only could exist with as a matter of indivisible cells and dust. But when you look at it and consider that anything is indivisible, there is nothing that is indivisible. But effects exist with its pith of the matter and there is nothing that exists without the mind nor consciousness.

Everything is illusory in their actual meaning

It looks like you exist in the world, but when you try to find out if you truly exist and what made you exist, you can't find it is origin nor reason. Quantum physics theory defined effects and matters are infinitive in the end. In the same way, we think of bodies and matter, but we don't know how that body comes into being and where that body goes after life. Therefore, meditate on that which does not exist and with its power your thoughts may come to have effects and outcomes which exist in reality.

You only can spread Buddhism when you look at the inner nature

I teach to all lamas that they should read books as much as they can. They can study Buddhism in order to understand and know the inner nature of Buddhism, not only incant prayers. Being a lama is not only about build temples or stupas. Most importantly, knowing the nature of Buddhism is the biggest thing that you can do in order to spread Buddhism. Being a lama is not about prayers or wearing the lama's habit. The most important part of Buddhism is its inner nature, so lamas principally should establish their inner teachings.

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Dalai Lama to visit again, "guided by Buddhists' devotion"

Ulaanbaatar, November 23 (MONTSAME) The visit of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in Ulaanbaatar ends today. This was his ninth visit to Mongolia, and was a purely religious and informal visit. The Buddhist leader met with over 1,200 Mongolian students as the final stop of his visit on November 22.

"I have visited here thanks to Your (Mongolian faithful) diligence and blessings. Your devotion is wonderful. I will be visiting You next time, also guided by your devotion. When I visit various countries, I have always been dedicating my teachings to peace and welfare. Seven billion of humans never wish for suffering. However, the anger and personal desires remain as the main reason for their suffering. But, there are ways to overcoming those suffering. Key to creating peace is compassion and mindfulness for other existings", highlighted His Holiness.

The Dalai Lama has predicted that the reincarnation of the 9th Bogd has been born in Mongolia. He also added that it is a bit early to give away more clear information.

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Dalai Lama: "The 10th Khutughtu has been born in Mongolia"

November 23 ( The 9th visit of his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to Mongolia ended today (23rd of November). Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and the world's most famous exile, the Dalai Lama has been stayed in Ulaanbaatar for five days. Central to Buddhism is the concept of reincarnation. When a holy person is born in a new reincarnation, there is a special process for finding and identifying them. In Mongolia, the most important Buddhist lineage is that of the Jebtsundamba Khutughtu - a line which commences with Zanabazar (1635-1723), who ruled Mongolia and left amazing works of art including the national symbol - the 'soyombo'. During his visit, the Dalai Lama spoke about the reincarnation of the 10th Khutughtu. Speaking at a press conference at the 'Ikh Tenger' resort, the Dalai Lama said, 'The 10th Khutughtu has already been born somewhere in Mongolia but is still too young to be crowned. We need to wait for 2-3 years until he will be 4-5 years old'.

The 9th Jebtsundamba Khutuktu was 'found' in India. He was brought back to Mongolia but lived there for a short while until his death in 2012. Born in 1932 in Tibet, he fled with the Dalai Lama to India in 1959.

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Note From the Field – Meeting the Bankhar Dogs

November 22 (Mongolian Bankhar Dog Project) Mongolia is stranger and more beautiful than my wildest dreams. It is stretching my definition of myself as a traveler and as a human. Yeah, I know, we're really jumping right in here.

I'm on my first trip into the countryside! Baaggi and I left UB early in the morning so as we moved farther and farther away, the mountains along the road were lit up by the sun rising behind us. It's startling how fast the land transitions out of the city, to flecked with small dilapidated buildings, to emptiness abbreviated by the infrequent wanderer or herd or birdlife.

We passed a man on the side of the road, looking for a ride. We stopped for him and he came up to us – I could have just as easily been looking at a National Geographic cover than out the truck window.

He wore a traditional hat and deel, his face was stoney and his eyes moved slowly over the both of us. Baagii has been my guide, teacher, and interpreter so far. My medium to Mongolia (I would be quite literally lost without him. It is humbling to be able to say literally two words in the local language).He talked to the man and we made room for him in the back seat. They talked in Mongolian for twenty minutes while I tried to pick out their phrases, and then we left him – he faded back into the epic snowy, formidable landscape. We carried on.

Bird sightings so far: the Upland Buzzard, the Black Vulture, Saker Falcon (!).

have now met all of our beautiful Bankhar in the breeding program. Baagii showed me to ropes of staying in a ger, how the coal stove works, and introduced me to all of the dogs. They were really friendly except for Huder, who isn't my biggest fan. Orsilla is looking very pregnant, we're hoping she will give birth soon. I'm excited to get working on developing some new data collection sheets for us to organize more information on the dogs.

And so arriving here at our property in the countryside was my introduction to the dogs, and my first experience with the herders effected by a lack of mitigation tools to prevent livestock loss. Mygaa, our caretaker told us that our neighbors lost 70 sheep to wolves last night. This struggle between wildlife and humans trying to continue their traditional existence is real, and the reason we are here. Later on, the neighbor stopped by with one of his sheep that had been dispersed by the wolves. It wasn't dead yet, but severely injured; its partially detached tail was dangling from its hind quarters. All before now this problem and this project had been real to me only on paper. I had written grants for the project, edited a few parts of the site, spread the word for our indiegogo the word for our indiegogo campaign, and perfected my elevator speech about our work to dozens of patient friends and family.

And now here it was right in front of me. A kennel full of breedable dogs to create a population of wolf/human ambassadors. A fatally wounded sheep, a herder losing a valuable resource. The big picture was suddenly very close and very personal. Maybe that is the feeling that Mongolia provokes most; that big picture becoming the view. That National Geographic article has become the guy in my backseat, and the smell of blood on a suffering animal. The bright glossy photograph is my front door.

This post is adapted from a post originally published at

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Nature & Environment

Mongolia braces for another deadly winter

November 23 (UB Post) The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) reports that so far, 23 soums of nine provinces in Mongolia are experiencing white dzud, a severe winter phenomenon with heavy snowstorms and temperature plunges below -40 degree celsius, and warned the public to not to travel within the country if possible.

According to the NEMA, dzud has struck 18 soums of eight provinces, specifically Sagsai soum of Bayan-Ulgii Province; Khangal soum of Bulgan Province; Darkhan soum of Darkhan-Uul Province; Dashbalbal and Choibalsan soums of Dornod Province; Orkhon, Yuruu, Zuunburen, Sukhbaatar, Khushaat and Khuder soums of Selenge Province; Baruunturuun, Zuunkhangai, Malchin and Naranbulag soums of Uvs Province; Renchinlkhumbe soum of Khuvsgul Province; and Bunder and Dadal soums of Khentii Province.

Weather conditions have worsened into white dzud in Teshig soum of Bulgan Province; Shariin Gol and Khongor soums of Darkhan-Uul Province; Bayan-Uul, Bayantumen, Khulunbuir , Tsagaan-Ovoo and Sergelen soums of Dornod Province; Bayankhairkhan, Bayantes and Songino soums of Zavkhan Province, Jargalant soum of Orkhon Province; Zuungovi, Sangil, Turgen and Tes soums in Uvs Province; Ulaan-Uul, Tsetserleg and Khatgal soums of Khuvsgul Province; Mandal, Tushig and Tsagaannuur soums of Selenge Province; and Norovlin soum of Khentii Province. Altogether 23 soums of nine provinces have been affected.

The Deputy Prime Minister has sent an emergency working group to review and evaluate the situation in each province in relation to winter preparation. The Minister or Roads and Transportation has approved Resolution No.43, and dispatched around 190 trucks and snow plows.


Ulaanbaatar Mayor S.Batbold notified to take measures involving the public, including students and soldiers, in the occasion that another unforeseen and extreme natural disaster occurs.

He gave orders to associated agencies and departments on urgent measures to take within the next two weeks after explaining some challenges and difficulties being faced by residents due to the recent heavy snowfall and sudden temperature drop. Mayor S.Batbold also ordered government agencies to finish snow removal works within and outside of the capital by next Monday with assistance from soldiers, students and high school students.


The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry has initiated a charity campaign for herders, following warning of dzud, which is a phenomenon unique to Mongolia, this winter.

The ministry is encouraging the public, agencies, companies, embassies, donor countries and international organizations to donate warm clothing, food, medication for livestock, coal, hay, animal feed, insulation materials and other useful items for herders through the campaign, aimed to prevent potential risks and loss in the agricultural sector and help herders overcome severe winter conditions and natural phenomenon during the winter.

At present, winter preparation work is at 82.8 percent completion nationwide, according to the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry. However, continuous heavy snowfall since early October has left half the nation covered in snow and ice. A spokesperson from the ministry emphasized that more than 70 percent of the provinces in Mongolia are in serious situation and likely to face tremendous losses at this rate.

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Art & Entertainment

Watch This Mind-Bending Choreography Synched With Animation In Mongolia's Got Talent 

(9GAG) That's some water-bending technique right there.

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Nutcracker ballet to be staged in December

November 23 ( Mongolian Ballet Development Fund will organize the performance of "The Nutcracker", the most played ballet around the world during the New Year at the Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet.

"Nutcracker" ballet to perform on following days: 

  • December 17th, 18th at 7PM
  • December 24th, 25th at 7PM

Tickets for the "Nutcracker" ballet will be available at the ticket office of The Mongolian State Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet starting Nov 26th. 

For more information on the tickets and other issues, please contact at 80180808, 80810808.

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Mongolian sacred mountain to be marked on map

November 23 ( Mongolia's most sacred and revered mountain is to be officially put on the map. On 16th of November, Government of Mongolia restored its name to 'Burkhan Khaldun' which was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 4th July 2015 under the title "Great Burkhan Khaldun Mountain and its surrounding sacred landscape." It also called Khentii Khaan and is the highest mountain of the region, rising to an elevation of 2,362 metres.

'Burkhan Khaldun' is part of the 12,000 square kilometres (4,600 sq mi) Khentii Khaan Strictly Protected Area in Khentii province, established in 1992.

According to 'The Secret History of the Mongols' (c.1240), the oldest surviving Mongolian literary work, Chinggis Khaan was buried on 'Burkhan Khaldun'.

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Dog Sledding Season to Open on November 26

November 23 ( It's our great pleasure to announce that the dog sledding season will be open from November 26. Let your adventures for the 2016/17 winter begin. Dog sledding in Mongolia is a magical experience. You will never forget the feeling of speeding through the snowy landscape driving your own team of eager huskies. This winter we are offering exclusive deals just for Expats living in Mongolia and their families, so don't miss out. EXPAT, the longest running tour operator for Expats in Mongolia, has been running dog sledding trips since 2012.

We are hosting a special season opening tour, but trips will be available all through winter until mid-March. Please book early to avoid disappointment.

Escape from the pollution and into the wide open countryside to have an unforgettable adventure. Here is the program for the Season Opening Day Tour.

Date: 26 Nov 2015
Where : Terelj National Park
Package Price: 140,000 MNT per person
Includes: English speaking guide and instructor, transfers to and from the National Park, dog sledding 6km, BBQ Lunch (vegetarian option available), horse riding, and guided hike through Turtle Rock and Meditation Temple.
Activities: Dog sledding, hiking, horse riding, camp fire, morin khuur performance, getting fresh air and sightseeing


08:50 – Meet at The Blue Sky Hotel where our bus will be ready
09:00 – Leave UB city towards Terelj National Park
11:00 – Short instruction lesson and start dog sledding on the frozen river
12:00 – Horse riding for 1 hour to the campfire
13:00 – Barbecue lunch and campfire in forest
14:00 – Hiking from Turtle Rock to Aryabal Meditation Temple
15:30 – Transfer from the Meditation Temple to The Blue Sky Hotel
17:00 – Arrive at The Blue Sky Hotel

Contact detail: (+976) 88012123 (Bold),

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Suite 303, Level 3, Elite Complex

14 Chinggis Avenue, Sukhbaatar District 1

Ulaanbaatar 14251, Mongolia
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