[RIO 'should' lift OT stake; ERD raises C$1m; MGG continues cost cuts; SAM takes over WOF; and coldest November to hit this week]

 November 16th, 2016      174

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Wednesday, November 16, 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

 

HEADLINES

Int'l Market

·         Rio Tinto should lift Oyu Tolgoi stake: analyst

·         Erdene Provides Corporate Update and Announces Receipt of $1.08 Million in Warrant Proceeds

·         Mongolia Growth Group Announces Third Quarter 2016 Results

·         China SAM Takes Controlling Stake in Wolf Petroleum with 50.94%

·         How Booming Coal Is Reigniting Mongolian Growth

Local Market

·         MSE Trading Report: Top 20 +0.57%, ALL +0.4%, Turnover ₮16.1 Million Shares, ₮18.2 Billion T-Bills

·         GoM Sells ₮19.7 Billion 28-Week T-Bills at 16.89% Discount on MSE

Economy

·         MNT jumps 0.5% after setting new historic low; USD/MNT down ₮12.99 to ₮2,446.56

·         BoM accepts US$20m bids at ₮2,421, CNY56.5m at ₮352.2; no swap offers received

·         Mongolia's economy shrinks in first nine months as it discusses bail-outs

·         3rd straight month of deflation hits Mongolia

·         Copper Slides After Recent Rise

·         Queensland coal port outage should further support coal prices

·         Iron ore price plummets 9%

·         Gold set to get a boost as President-elect Trump's spending plans fuel inflation

·         Oil Jumps Most in Seven Months as OPEC Members Seen Pushing Deal

Politics & Legal

·         New Budget means Mongolia is Open for Business

·         S.Zorig murder case goes to court

Business

·         Tous Les Jours bakery opens two branches in Mongolia

·         D.Otgonjargal's work hits the runway at O'Couture High Fashion Show 2017

Ulaanbaatar

·         24 Hours In Ulaanbataar In Winter

·         Movie Night: My Week with Marilyn

Diplomacy

·         EU Ambassadors to Mongolia Holding Annual Meeting in Ulaanbaatar

·         Prime Minister receives EU ambassadors

·         New ambassadors present credentials to President of Mongolia

·         Mongolia's Foreign, Defense Ministers Meet Qatar's Ambassador

·         Mongolian Embassy in Pyongyang Celebrates 60th Anniversary of Kim Il Sung's Visit

·         British Days: Getting Inspired

Health & Education

·         Foreign Ministry denies being asked by Turkey to close 'Gulen' schools in Mongolia

·         Model UN Mongolia 2016 at MFA, November 19

·         In Rural Mongolia, Duke Global Health Students Look for Dangerous Pathogens

Culture & Society

·         A radical approach to homelessness

Nature & Environment

·         Coldest November to hit Mongolia on 17-25th

·         61 million livestock to overwinter

·         World Atlas: National Parks Of Mongolia

Sports

·         Mongolia dominates Memoriad 2016

·         Mongolia's M. Ankhtsetseg becomes Junior Weightlifting Champion of Asia

 

ARTICLES

Int'l Market

TRQ closed -1.16% Tuesday to US$3.41

Rio Tinto should lift Oyu Tolgoi stake: analyst

November 16 (The Australian) Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques should be taking a hard look at buying an increased stake in the huge Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia.

That's the view of Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Young, who recently returned from a site visit to the monster project in the middle of the Gobi Desert.

Oyu Tolgoi will be one of the world's biggest copper mines when it hits its peak and has long been one of the flagship development projects in Rio's portfolio. But the mining giant owns just a 34 per cent interest in the mine through its 51 per cent stake in Turquoise Hill Resources, which in turn owns a 66 per cent share of the mine. The Mongolian government owns the remaining 34 per cent.

While acquisitions have been off the Rio agenda since the disaster of its Mozambique coal foray, Young says Rio Tinto has the balance sheet capacity to make a play for a greater piece of Turquoise Hill.

He also believes there's a deal to be done over the Mongolian government's stake.

Mr Young noted that the government — given it must pay back its share of the project's capex out of future cash flows — was unlikely to see any dividend from its stake in the mine itself until around 2040 (it will still collect taxes and royalties). Selling down some of that stake now would help deliver a more immediate benefit to the government.

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ERD closed +2.5% Tuesday to C$0.41

Erdene Provides Corporate Update and Announces Receipt of $1.08 Million in Warrant Proceeds

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwired - Nov. 15, 2016) - Erdene Resource Development Corp. (TSX:ERD) ("Erdene" or "Company") is pleased to provide an update on third quarter corporate and project activities and to announce the receipt of $1.08 million in proceeds through the exercise of warrants.

Corporate Highlights

  • Company receives $1.08 million from the exercise of 5.6 million warrants, subsequent to quarter end.
  • Realized $481,000 gain on sale of securities.
  • Current cash position of $2.1 million.
  • Working capital sufficient to fund remaining 2016 drill program and G&A through Q1-2017.

Bayan Khundii Gold Project Highlights - 100% Erdene

  • A total of 87 holes completed since late 2015 totaling 9,784 m with an average vertical drill depth of 87.4 m.
  • Assays currently pending for 26 holes with results expected in two separate press releases between mid-November and early December.
  • Additional drilling will continue through mid-December with additional results anticipated through to Q1-2017.
  • Drilling continues to establish very good continuity of high-grade gold mineralization within the main Striker Zone including:
    • 63 m of 5.3 g/t gold (BKD-17)
    • 24 m of 7.5 g/t gold (BKD-49)
    • 31 m of 6.8 g/t gold (BKD-57)
  • Striker Zone continuing to demonstrate good size potential as drilling also returns very wide zones of lower-grade mineralization, including:
    • 78 m of 1.0 g/t gold (BKD-28)
    • 66 m of 1.0 g/t gold (BKD-34)
    • 112 m of 1.2 g/t gold (BKD-51)
  • Drilling results announced October 18, 2016 confirmed the presence of wide gold mineralized zones under thin, post mineralization cover, north of Striker Zone;
    • BKD-60, a step-out reconnaissance hole, 170 m north of the Striker Zone under 20 m of younger Cretaceous cover, intersected a new gold zone with 68 m of 2.0 g/t gold.
    • BKD-60 is the most continuous gold-mineralized hole intersected to date at Bayan Khundii; 123 m of 1.3 g/t gold from the top of the zone (20 m depth) to the bottom of hole.
  • Geophysical surveys support extensive zone of alteration continuing beneath the younger Cretaceous units, suggesting that Bayan Khundii's epithermal system may be more widespread than the main exposed areas at surface;
    • Strong induced polarization resistivity response (typical of Striker Zone) extends at depth to the north and west.
  • Q4-2016 drilling includes continued expansion of mineralization within the Striker Zone, and the drilling of expansion/perimeter holes within the larger 1.7 km trend in order to establish potential extensions and boundaries to the gold system in advance of a resource drilling program in 2017.
  • Gold mineralization begins at surface and generally dips at a 35 to 50 degree angle, to the southwest with the majority of the drilling oriented perpendicular to that dip.
  • Visible gold has been observed in multiple holes.
  • Sulfide minerals are largely oxidized to approximately 100 m depth, benefitting gold recovery;
    • Metallurgical testwork (completed Q1-2016) indicates 99% recovery (gravity followed by cyanide leach of the tails) in a high-grade (24.9 g/t gold) composite, and 92% recovery from a low-grade (0.7 g/t gold) composite.
  • Project confirmed as low-sulphidation epithermal gold system;
    • As part of Erdene's Q3-2016 exploration program, several independent studies were commissioned, including an evaluation and site visit by consultant, Dr. Jeffrey Hedenquist, one of the world's leading experts on epithermal gold systems.
  • Gold mineralization is hosted within altered Devonian volcanic units overlain in part by younger Cretaceous and Quaternary units, extending over a 1.7 km by 0.7 km trend.
  • See attached maps and cross sections for reference.

Teck Alliance

  • In Q2-2016, the Company closed a $500,000 private placement with Teck Resources Limited ("Teck"); 1,063,830 shares issued to Teck at $0.47 per share.
  • The 2016 Teck Alliance regional exploration program commenced in Q3-2016, and consists of regional-scale stream sediment surveys, geological mapping and prospecting, as well as analysis of remote sensing data.

Financing and Corporate

  • In April 2016, the Company closed a transaction with Sandstorm Gold Ltd. ("Sandstorm") and received total consideration valued at $2.5 million.
  • In May 2016, the Company issued 1,801,475 shares to Tian Poh Resources Limited and discharged the convertible debenture of $252,207.
  • In June 2016, the Company appointed Dr. Anna Biolik and David Mosher to its board of directors;
    • Dr. Anna Biolik has over thirty years of public and private sector experience and is one of the foremost Canadian experts on Central Asian business and diplomacy, having acted as Canada's first resident Ambassador in Mongolia; and
    • David Mosher is a gold mining executive with over thirty-five years of experience in mine and company building in foreign jurisdictions, including Russia and Burkina Faso.
  • During 2016, the Company received gross proceeds of $2.6 million from the exercise of 13.9 million warrants and options at an average price of $0.19 per share.
  • Erdene filed its Q3-2016 Financial Statements and MD&A on SEDAR on November 14, 2016.

Drilling Update and Plans

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YAK closed -28.95% Tuesday to C$0.27, MNGGF -25.64% to US$0.199

Mongolia Growth Group Announces Third Quarter 2016 Results

Toronto, Ontario, November 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 third quarter of 2016. 

Highlights for the quarter: 

  • Operational performance improved from an AFFO* quarterly loss of $148,957 in Q3 2015 to a loss of $46,238 in Q3 2016. 
  • Reduced expenses excluding non-cash and non-capitalized development expense from $648,170 to $454,810 when compared to the third quarter of 2015, a decrease of 29%, despite the cost of various marketing initiatives and increased costs for tenant improvements. 
  • Rental revenue only declined by 10.3% when compared to the third quarter of 2015 and by 6.2% compared to the second quarter of 2016 despite a substantially more rapid deterioration in market lease rates along with a 14.3% average decline in the Mongolian Tögrög (MNT) to Canadian Dollar (CDN) exchange rate during the quarter. 

"We continue to outperform in an amazingly difficult environment characterized by high tenant turnover and rapidly declining lease rates. Our team has done an outstanding job of keeping costs under control, keeping properties leased and collecting on delinquent rents, despite the obvious and accelerating headwinds affecting all businesses in Mongolia. 

"Unfortunately, we are not immune to the rapidly deteriorating economy. We expect that the next few quarters will show substantial deterioration in business conditions and we are unlikely to avoid these deleterious effects—despite our best efforts. 

"Exacerbating the situation, the Mongolian Tögrög continues to depreciate rapidly against the Canadian Dollar and will impact our revenues when translated into Canadian Dollars. Additionally, roughly half of our costs are incurred in US and Canadian Dollars, leading to a worsening of our AFFO position on an ongoing basis. On the revenue side, the fall season is normally a period of active leasing volume. However, this year, that leasing season never seemed to arrive. This bodes very poorly for the winter and beyond—especially as tenant turnover continues to increase rapidly. 

"We believe in the long term future of Mongolia, but suspect that the next few years will be amazingly difficult for all businesses. Even if the economy bottoms in 2018, it will likely be a number of years until there is a recovery in our business. 

"We now believe that barring a dramatic change in our business, positive AFFO will be highly unlikely for quite some time. Our goal during this downturn is to lose as little as possible and preserve as much of the value of our company for shareholders as possible. I continue to believe that the Company is making the difficult choices necessary to reduce future shareholder value erosion, despite amazingly challenging circumstances" says Harris Kupperman. 

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 in local currency terms, with retail rents experiencing slightly lower declines in rates. 

Recently, a number of sizable retail developments have broken ground in Ulaanbaatar, despite the fact that various "mini-malls" (both free-standing and related to office developments) that have opened in the past two years are experiencing high vacancy rates along with collapsing rents. Recently, many newly opened "mini-malls" are offering initial grace periods where tenants are offered negligible rental rates or "free rent" for a substantial period of time. It is expected that this trend, if it continues, will put substantial pressure on our retail rates in future periods. 

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. 

Portfolio Updates

The Company continues to maintain high occupancy rates, despite increasing vacancy across the property sector. At the end of the quarter, retail occupancy was 100% while office occupancy was 75.3%. Additionally, the Company's new tenancy strategy at Tuguldur Center has experienced recent success and average weekly occupancy is now over 80%, which is a 1-year high. 

Offsetting these positives, as a side effect of increased office turnover, the Corporation has experienced a substantial increase in tenant improvement costs. Despite much of this cost being capitalized, it represents a substantial cash outlay for the Corporation that is likely to continue. 

Agency Business 

The Company continues to increase the number of listings and invest resources into its agency business, including the hiring of additional agents. The Company believes that it now has one of the largest inventories of active listings of any agency in Mongolia. 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. Despite the anemic demand for property in Ulaanbaatar, the Agency business is beginning to add incremental revenue. For more information on available properties, please visit http://www.MGGProperties.com 

Unrealized Change in Fair Value of Properties 

During the quarter, the Company did not recognize impairments 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, when it last recognized an impairment to the fair value of its portfolio, it is anticipated that the Company will likely experience an impairment to its portfolio when evaluated by a well-regarded third-party valuation firm at year-end. 

Public Securities 

During the quarter, one of the Company's offshore subsidiaries, purchased 15,000,000 shares of Mongolian Mining Corporation (Ticker Symbol 975: Hong Kong Stock Exchange) at an average price of approximately 11.3 Hong Kong cents. At the end of the quarter, the shares closed at 31.5 Hong Kong cents, leading to a pre-tax gain after currency adjustments of CDN $516,617. The Corporation currently has no other publicly traded security positions, but continues to evaluate potential additional investments in publicly traded securities. 

Liquidity and Capital Resources 

The Company ended the quarter with $921,822 of cash and cash equivalents and no debt. The Company hopes to sell additional assets—if possible—to further increase its cash reserves. Unfortunately, overall transaction liquidity in the marketplace has disappeared except for unique properties or those offered at substantial discounts to existing market prices. The Corporation intends to weigh offered discounts to currently stated book values when making decisions on which assets to dispose of, in order to generate sufficient liquidity to weather the current economic crisis. The Corporation is focused on increasing liquidity despite the need to sell assets at discounts to market prices. 

Normal Course Issuer Bid 

During the quarter, the Company repurchased 280,500 shares at a gross cost of CDN $96,681. Despite the expectation that the economy will continue to worsen for the foreseeable future and that AFFO will worsen with reduced revenues and currency depreciation, 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 newly formed government has clearly stated their goal of restoring the Mongolian economy by welcoming foreign investment and pushing forward with various mega-projects that were obstructed by the prior government. Unfortunately, even if mega-projects get approved to move forward, it is unlikely that they will lead to a substantial recovery in the economy for a number of years. Exacerbating this, the new government has undertaken a thorough review of Mongolia's current fiscal position and determined that the actual situation is substantially worse than previously believed. It is expected that the government will be forced to accept a bail-out from one or more international or sovereign entities. This bail-out will likely involve some level of government austerity, which will put further pressure on the economy. 

Should the government be successful in attracting investment and initiating a number of mega-projects, it is likely that the Mongolian economy will likely bottom sometime in the next year or two as it takes some time for these projects to ramp up. Unfortunately, due to the sizable surplus of new commercial property that has come online over the past few years along with additional supply that is currently under construction, it will likely take longer for there to be any recovery in rents and property valuations. Exacerbating this issue, the currency continues to depreciate at an accelerating rate which further undermines rents and property valuations when translated into Canadian Dollars. 

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. As a result, the Company is likely to continue to sustain AFFO losses for the foreseeable future. Additionally, these losses are likely to accelerate as rents decline, vacancy rates increase and the currency continues to depreciate. 

The Company is undertaking a thorough review of its options with the goal of diversifying the business and has become more aggressive in selling property assets in order to increase its liquidity position while it continues this review. Unfortunately, liquidity in the property market is negligible and it is expected that future sales would likely occur at substantial discounts to current carrying costs, before transaction costs, if the Company wanted to dispose of them in the near future. 

Selected Annual Financial Information (CAD)

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WOF trading flat this morning at A$0.015

China SAM Takes Controlling Stake in Wolf Petroleum with 50.94%

November 16, Wolf Petroleum Ltd. (ASX:WOF) --

Link to Appendix 3B

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975 trading +1.64% this morning at HK$0.31, +174.34% in last 3 months

How Booming Coal Is Reigniting Mongolian Growth

By Nick Cousyn

November 15 (Frontera News) When Mongolia's new government swept into power last summer, one of its first actions was to declare the country in the grips of an economic crisis. Now, with winter temperatures dipping 20 below freezing, there's a surprisingly warmer glow.

The International Monetary Fund has been making positive noises about a financial program while China and even Japan appear supportive. In fact, China has already eased the funding squeeze by expanding Mongolia's borrowing capacity in currency swaps by $1.5 billion.

But the Chairman of the Mongolian People's Party, Miyegombo Enkhbold, wants more. Specifically, Enkhbold – who is also Chairman and Speaker of the State Great Hural, Mongolia's parliament – has asked China for a loan. The terms? The government wants to pay no more than 2% in annual interest over a period of 20 years.

This target looks fairly aggressive considering the country's bonds are yielding closer to 8.5%. Yet China hasn't dismissed the proposition. Instead, Xi Jinping last week called for more concrete exchanges between the two nations' ruling parties. The President was reported as saying – and the language is important here – that China has pursued relations with Mongolia from a "strategic standpoint and with a long-term perspective." He vowed to "enhance coordination and cooperation with the country to boost bilateral all-round strategic partnership."

So what does that all mean? Roughly translated, China is happy to provide funding – but only if it is tied to meaningful projects and closer economic cooperation.

Fortunately, China just so happens to have a deeply meaningful and strategic interest in Mongolia – namely, the largest undeveloped coking coal mine in the world. State-controlled China Shenhua and its consortium partners Mongolia Mining Corp. and Japan's Sumitomo are the only entities with an approved tender to develop the Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi mine. All they're waiting for is approval from the government of Mongolia.

Mega projects

There's every reason to expect Mongolia to give its consent to development. In concert with securing external funding, Mongolia needs to present a credible budget for 2017. This is key to the IMF's decision on terms and conditions for assistance. The government isn't taking any chances. While discussions with the IMF are still underway, an official budget proposal has just been approved. Notably, it includes sizeable projected revenue from the development of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi.

According to several comments from the Ministry of Finance in local media, the extra revenue will come from the mine itself as well as from the construction of a railway to boost deliveries. The two developments, the Prime Minister said recently, go hand in hand as "one project" to build sustainable revenue. "Five to six mega projects will be started by next spring," beginning with the Tavan Tolgoi mine, railway and power station, said Jargaltulgyn Erdenebat.

Right time

The timing could hardly be better. The biggest commodity bull market has to date provided Mongolia with only moderate benefits. One reason is that, without a rail track to take its coal to China, Mongolia has to rely on more expensive and less efficient trucks. Another is that the coal itself fetches less because it's unwashed. While premium hard Australian coking coal prices have rocketed 250% since April to over $300 per ton, Mongolia's unwashed variety fetches just $32. These cheap supplies crowd out any private local producer seeking higher prices.

This isn't the way the coal industry was meant to work. The government's "one window" policy mandates all coal companies to officially agree a single price. The unwashed coal is also anathema to the government's mantra of value-added exports.

Unsurprisingly, the new administration has begun tackling these issues. Last week, Prime Minister Erdenebat instructed coal exporters to adhere to "one window." Discussions followed between Erdenes Tavantolgoi JSC, Energy Resources LLC and Tavantolgoi JSC on agreeing a single price, local media reported. The companies will most probably be compelled to have their coal washed by Mongolia Mining Corp., driving incremental revenue for MMC and power to raise the average selling price for Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi coal.

Dizzying growth, again

For an old industry, momentum as building fast. MMC earlier this month received creditor support for a debt restructuring, allowing it to emerge from default and to participate in the consortium bidding to develop Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi. That process is likely to move forward in the next two to three months.

But MMC isn't waiting any longer to take advantage of coal's surge. It recently signed an offtake agreement at $107 per ton for the month of December. Had Mongolia achieved this price rather than $32 on its approximately 30 million tons of coal production this year, GDP would have been $2.25 billion higher.

So what prospect does 2017 hold? It doesn't take Herculean assumptions to expect that through improvements and reform, Mongolia's coal companies can collectively produce 40 million tons next year. At an average price of $105 per ton, that would represent more than $4 billion in economic activity for the sector – or an increase of over $3 billion compared with an estimated $960 million for 2016. For Mongolia's $12 billion economy, this would mean a 25% jump in GDP, returning the economy to the type of dizzying growth rates seen last decade.

Win-win

The most important byproduct of a crisis is the opportunity for change. For investors, the scale of the opportunity is typically dictated by the rate of change. Central to the investment case for Mongolia is the approval of the MMC/ Shenhua/ Sumitomo consortium to develop both the Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi mine and rail to China. This will lift both coal volume and prices, and carry Mongolia's economy with it.

With 65 of the 76 seats in Parliament, the ruling MPP has the power to make the sweeping changes required to rehabilitate the coal industry and unleash economic growth.

For the government, one further key benefit could follow. Most of Mongolia's 3 million citizens hold shares in Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi that were allocated in 2012. The value of those shares could appreciate significantly if managed through the consortium with a railway to China. Engineering economic recovery while at the same time boosting the value of these shares adds up to a win-win opportunity too good to let slip – particularly with presidential elections approaching next year. 

Nick Cousyn is Chief Operating Officer at BDSec JSC, Mongolia's Largest Broker and Investment Bank.

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Local Market

MSE Trading Report: Top 20 +0.57%, ALL +0.4%, Turnover 16.1 Million Shares, 18.2 Billion T-Bills

November 15 (MSE) --

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GoM Sells 19.7 Billion 28-Week T-Bills at 16.89% Discount on MSE

November 15 (MSE) On 15 November 2016, 28 weeks Government bonds /16.890% annual coupon rate/ worth  MNT19.7 billion traded at Mongolian Stock Exchange.

Bellow member brokerage companies participated in bonds trading as follows:

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Economy

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: Tuesday, November 15 Close

 


11/15

11/14

11/11

11/10

11/9

11/8

11/7

11/4

11/3

11/2

High

Date

USD

2,446.56

2,459.55

2,452.98

2,453.39

2,428.08

2,420.95

2,413.08

2,406.41

2,396.13

2,388.45

2,459.55

11/14/2016

EUR

2,636.05

2,652.50

2,674.61

2,681.43

2,699.54

2,676.48

2,668.87

2,670.39

2,664.86

2,645.09

2,681.43

11/10/2016

JPY

22.63

22.85

22.97

23.23

23.49

23.18

23.10

23.31

23.34

23.04

23.49

11/9/2016

GBP

3,052.82

3,073.70

3,083.03

3,050.91

3,011.06

3,008.64

2,994.15

3,000.07

2,959.82

2,930.51

3,183.26

8/13/2014

RUB

37.34

37.35

37.58

38.73

38.06

37.98

37.75

37.71

37.73

37.69

54.32

6/27/2014

CNY

356.85

359.86

359.93

361.23

358.50

357.22

356.16

355.89

354.49

353.10

361.23

11/10/2016

KRW

2.09

2.09

2.10

2.13

2.12

2.13

2.11

2.10

2.10

2.08

2.13

11/8/2016

SGD

1,732.94

1,736.91

1,739.27

1,752.48

1,746.32

1,741.75

1,736.22

1,736.67

1,731.87

1,720.66

1,752.48

11/10/2016

CAD

1,810.32

1,813.56

1,817.49

1,832.67

1,816.20

1,811.88

1,802.35

1,794.29

1,793.24

1,785.89

1,832.67

11/10/2016

AUD

1,847.15

1,857.94

1,862.79

1,886.29

1,864.77

1,865.83

1,854.21

1,846.56

1,838.91

1,823.58

1,886.29

11/10/2016

HKD

315.40

317.07

316.19

316.37

313.14

312.16

311.12

310.28

308.97

307.97

317.07

11/14/2016

CHF

2,456.51

2,478.64

2,488.06

2,492.52

2,497.77

2,484.68

2,468.62

2,469.00

2,468.58

2,458.26

2,497.77

11/9/2016

Bank USD rates at time of sending: Khan (Buy ₮2,400 Sell ₮2,450), TDB (Buy ₮2,400 Sell ₮2,450), Golomt (Buy ₮2,400 Sell ₮2,450), XacBank (Buy ₮2,408 Sell ₮2,455), State Bank (Buy ₮2,400 Sell ₮2,460)

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

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BoM accepts US$20m bids at 2,421, CNY56.5m at 352.2; no swap offers received

November 15 (Bank of Mongolia) Spot trade: Commercial banks bid MNT 2421.00-2460.01 for USD20.0 million and MNT 352.20-359.30 for CNY56.5 million respectively. The BoM accepted the bid offers of USD with a closing rate of MNT 2421.00 and bid offers of CNY with a closing rate of MNT 352.20.

Swap and forward trade: The BoM did not receive any bid offers of swap and forward trade.

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Mongolia's economy shrinks in first nine months as it discusses bail-outs

ULAANBAATAR, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Mongolia's economy shrunk in the first nine months of the year, stoking concern annual growth could contract for the first time since the global financial crisis while it weighs bail-out options from agencies such as the IMF and partner countries.

The cash-strapped Asian nation has taken a beating from the sluggish market for coal, a major export, as well as sapped investor appetite in a country whose economy is reliant on Chinese consumption.

With sovereign-backed bond repayments due as soon as next year, Mongolia's leaders have met with representatives of the IMF, China and Japan for crisis relief.

Gross domestic product contracted 1.6 percent from January to September compared with the same period last year, Mongolia's national Statistical office said on Tuesday.

Mongolian full-year GDP has grown every year since 2009, when growth was hit by the 2008/9 global economic crisis.

The government has projected 1.3 percent GDP growth this year while the IMF is projecting zero growth.

Mongolia's new government under Mongolian People's Party Prime Minister Jargaltulga Erdenebat has struggled to control a downward spiraling currency and a balance of payments crisis since being elected into office last June.

Mongolia's best prospect is its mining sector, with gold, coal and copper being its chief commodities for export to neighbouring China.

Many investors are hoping for a revival with key projects such as Rio Tinto's Oyu Tolgoi copper mine going forward and a new government in power promoting foreign investment.

"It takes a while for (the) Mongolian economy truck to speed up again," said Dale Choi, an analyst for Mongolian Metals & Mining. "FDI is not yet improving."

The $6 billion underground expansion at Rio Tinto's Oyu Tolgoi copper mine began construction last May after two years of delay because of disputes on taxes and costs.

While some observers have worried that risks may beat out rewards, Deutsche Bank on Monday published an upbeat analysis following a visit to the mine.

"Oyu Tolgoi is the definition of a Tier 1 asset," it said in a report.

Deutsche Bank increased its valuation of the mine by 5.3 percent to $5.9 billion and predicted that production would commence six months ahead of schedule in 2019.

Although the project will keep a steady flow of foreign investment during the next five-to-seven years of construction and Rio says the mine will eventually be responsible for 30 percent of the economy, direct benefits for Mongolia will be delayed.

According to a 2009 investment agreement, investors must recoup their original investment costs before Mongolia can collect on dividends for its 34 percent shareholding in the mine.

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3rd straight month of deflation hits Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, November 15 (MONTSAME) In October 2016, the national consumer price index across the country decreased by 0.7 percent compared to the previous month, and by 0.1 percent compared to the same period of 2015 and the beginning of 2016.

This slight drop reflected the decrease of 2.3 percent in prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages, 1.7 percent in prices of transport, 1.1 percent in prices of housing, water, electricity and fuels.

Last month, the national consumer price index for urban consumers decreased by 1.2 percent compared to the previous month, by 1.1 percent from the beginning of the year and by 0.8 percent from the same period of 2015.

This 0.8 percent fall was caused by the decrease of 2.8 percent in prices of food and nonalcoholic beverages, 2.4 percent in prices of housing, water, electricity and fuels and 1.6 percent in prices of transport.

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Copper Slides After Recent Rise

Market participants say the market was due a correction after the recent rally

LONDON, November 15 (WSJ)—Copper prices fell on Tuesday as analysts cautioned that the market was due a correction after a dramatic rally stoked by Donald Trump's election.

The London Metal Exchange's three-month copper contract was down 2.6% at $5,420 a metric ton in midmorning trade. Other base metals also fell.

Copper topped-out above $6,000 a ton on Friday, having surged over 20% for the week. Speculation about a boost to U.S. infrastructure spending under Mr. Trump added fuel to a market already rallying on the perception that China's demand may pick up after a run of strong economic and industrial data from the world's second-largest economy.

"Prices ran ahead of themselves," said William Adams, Head of Research at Fast Markets Ltd. "We'll probably consolidate this week after the froth of last week."

Looking ahead, he said news of appointments to Mr. Trump's team could move the market as investors seek a clearer understanding of the likely direction of U.S. government policy.

Meanwhile, Chinese foreign direct investment data due later Tuesday may shift views of the strength of demand from the world's key consumer of industrial metals.

Carsten Menke, commodities research analyst at Julius Baer, said Mr. Trump's victory probably won't have a big influence on the global balance of supply and demand for base metals, even if he delivers on his promise to boost infrastructure investment.

"Even an assumed 10% increase in [U.S.] infrastructure-related copper consumption would hardly matter on a global scale," he wrote.

Analysts at Commerzbank highlighted "further correction potential" for copper after data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed speculators' net long position in copper futures on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose over 150% to a record high of 59,300 contracts in the week to Nov. 8.

The data covers the period before the election of Mr. Trump, so next week's figure may show an even more bullish stance among speculators, Commerzbank said.

Aluminium was down 1% at $1,716.50 a ton, lead down 1.6% at $2,174.50 a ton, tin down 2.3% at $20,350 a ton, nickel down 1.9% at $11,135 a ton and zinc down 2.5% at $2.560.00 a ton.

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Queensland coal port outage should further support coal prices

November 15 (Australian Financial Review) Another supply interruption has hit the Australian coal sector, which could support soaring coal prices for a while longer.

A coal port near Brisbane was damaged during bad weather in recent days, and could be out of action for weeks. The port operator and owner, New Hope Corporation, said the damage occurred on Nov 13.

"An extreme weather event resulted in damage to the shiploader at the company's wholly-owned coal terminal, Queensland Bulk Handling," the company said on Tuesday.

"The shiploader is currently inoperable...initial indications are that it could take several weeks for the shiploader to be repaired. During this time the terminal will not be capable of loading coal onto ships."

The port shipped 7 million tonnes of coal on 90 vessels during the 2016 financial year. Most of that is believed to be thermal coal, given New Hope itself produces only thermal coal. 

The interruption is the latest to hit the Australian coal sector this year; geotechnical issues at South32's Illawarra mines, a derailment in Queensland in September plus heavy winter rains in both New South Wales and Queensland have reduced the amount of coal shipped from Australia in 2016.

When combined with production cuts in China, a shortage of thermal, coking and semi-soft coal has emerged, prompting enormous price rises for all three commodities.

Coking coal prices have particularly soared from below $US80 per tonne in November 2015 to $US308 per tonne on Tuesday.

New Hope is better known as a coal miner than a port operator, and the company hinted that full-year guidance could be revised.

"The financial implications of this event are still being assessed, however, delays to shipments due to this incident may result in lower sales for the current financial reporting period," the company said.

New Hope shares were trading 4 per cent lower in early trading on Tuesday.

The port outage continues a bad run for New Hope, which has had approvals for the Acland mine expansion rejected on several occasions.

Just last week, New Hope warned that a further 12 months of approvals could be required after the Queensland government introduced a bill that would require the miner to conduct more work particularly on the expansion's impact on underground water supplies in the Darling Downs.

While shares in rival coal miners like Whitehaven have more than tripled over the past year, New Hope shares have slipped by more than ten per cent over the past year.

Meanwhile, ratings agency Standard & Poors said it believed the coal price rally would not last long.

"We note that current market prices for hard coking coal have increased significantly recently. We view this increase as temporary and is therefore unlikely to materially increase contracted volumes in the short term," the agency said, in a note relating to aspiring coal miner Adani.

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Iron ore price plummets 9%

November 15 (MINING.com) The import price of 62% Fe content ore at the port of Tianjin plummeted 8.7% to $72.80 per dry metric tonne on Tuesday after a frenzied month of trading saw the price reach a two-year high.

On the Dalian Commodities Exchange iron ore futures again reached the daily price change upper limit in the morning, only to turn around and close down the maximum 6% to trade at $87.90 a tonne.

Chinese authorities recently upped trading fees and margin requirements to cool down the credit-fuelled speculation in iron ore, met coal and rebar.

Analysts and mining companies have called the price of the steelmaking raw material down on ample supply from top producers Australia and Brazil (despite recent cuts and lowered output guidance) and worries about the strength of the recovery in top consumer China.

The Sydney Morning Herald quotes Daniel Morgan, commodities analyst at UBS as saying "the price at the moment is above a sustainable medium-term price":

"A lot of the marginal tonnes which have left this market, let's call it around 200 million tonnes of high-cost suppliers that have exited in the last two years, if this price was to be any way sustained I'm sure they'd re-enter the trade, but they haven't," says Mr Morgan.

World number two iron ore producer Rio Tinto surprised the market on Tuesday announcing the shutdown of one of its biggest mines in Australia's Pilbara region over the end-of-year holiday period.

Financial Times reports that in an email to 440 staff at the Hope Downs 4 mine Rio said the decision would "reduce operating costs and maximise cash to strengthen the business" in expectation of a tough year ahead.

Mining companies in Western Australia are also bracing for a resources tax that they say will add more than $1 billion to operating costs per year.

Year to date the price of the steelmaking raw material is up 70% following near-decade lows in December last year.

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Gold set to get a boost as President-elect Trump's spending plans fuel inflation

November 15 (CNBC) President-elect Donald Trump's plan to spend on big projects could send inflation up, which in turn would help gold, a fund manager said Tuesday.

In his victory speech, Trump proposed a "$1 trillion over a 10-year period" infrastructure plan, which has already boosted the prices of metals in the last week.

While the market was still speculating on what would lies ahead when he takes office, the general consensus is that fiscal spending is far easier to achieve than other reforms he has proposed, said Alex Merk, president and CIO of Merk Investments. That should underpin the appeal of gold as an inflation hedge.

"Ultimately, what is going to matter is if inflation is going to tick up more than rates are going to pick up–meaning is the Fed going to be behind the curve or not? If the Fed is behind the curve, then gold should do just fine; if however the Fed is able to get in front of this or if inflation is not going to materialize much but the yield curve remains steep and real rates rise, then yes, the gold selling is over," he added.

Gold prices spiked nearly 5 percent last week on risk aversion as results the presidential results rolled in but have since sinked to a six-month low on Monday as the dollar strengthened. The spot gold price was around $1,224 an ounce Tuesday in Asia as the market weighed Trump's economic plans.

The uncertain environment will likely keep gold afloat, said Merk.

While gold has a historically low correlation to bond yields, that correlation is now "very high", a positive for the precious metal, he said.

Since last week's election, the benchmark 10-year Treasury has gone from a yield of 1.80 to 2.2 percent. The 30-year bond yield crossed the psychological 3 percent level Monday. Bond yields move inversely to bond prices.

Merk expected the correlation to fizzle out but there will be a short-covering rally in gold is expected in the short-term. In the medium term, a continuation of the trend would depend on moves in the inflation rate, real interest rates and yield curves, he added.

While real rates haven't moved up, the anticipation is that the Fed would get tougher and hike rates with more fiscal spending spurring inflation.

But "at end of day, the Fed is going to be behind the curve and gold will be just fine," Merk said.

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PRECIOUS-Gold rebounds on Trump policy uncertaintyReuters, November 15

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Oil Jumps Most in Seven Months as OPEC Members Seen Pushing Deal

  • Qatar, Algeria, Venezuela said to lead effort to secure cuts
  • Bets on lower WTI crude prices climb most since May 2012: CFTC

November 16 (Bloomberg) Oil surged the most in seven months as OPEC members were said to be making a final diplomatic push toward securing a deal to cut output.

West Texas Intermediate oil rose 5.8 percent on Tuesday, rebounding from an eight-week low. Qatar, Algeria and Venezuela are leading the effort to finalize a deal, a delegate familiar with the talks said. Speculators raised short positions, or bets on lower prices, by the most in more than four years in the week ended Nov. 8, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. U.S. crude supplies probably rose last week, according to a Bloomberg survey before a government report Wednesday. Industry data showed a gain Tuesday.

"We're looking at a combination of short covering and OPEC hopes," said Bill O'Grady, chief market strategist at Confluence Investment Management in St. Louis, which oversees $5.2 billion. "There are great hopes that OPEC will be able to come up with some sort of an agreement before the end of the month; it's in their interest."  

Oil has retreated for most of the past four weeks amid skepticism about the ability of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to implement a deal at its Nov. 30 meeting. The group is seeking to trim output for the first time in eight years as Iran boosts production and Iraq seeks an exemption because of its war with Islamic militants. Prices will probably remain around current levels if OPEC fails to cut, according to BP Plc Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley.

WTI for December delivery rose $2.49 to settle at $45.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices dropped 9 cents to $43.32 on Monday, the lowest close since Sept. 19. Total volume traded was 41 percent above the 100-day average at 4:36 p.m.

Futures slipped from the settlement after the industry-funded American Petroleum Institute was said to report U.S. crude supplies grew by 3.65 million barrels last week. WTI traded at $45.64 at 4:37 p.m.

Narrowing Contango

Contango, the structure in which prices for delivery today are lower than those in future months, is narrowing. A weakening may signal stronger near-term demand or tighter supply. The December WTI discount to futures for the next five months shrunk on Tuesday.

"The futures curve is tightening, a potential indication of improving supply-demand," said Chris Kettenmann, chief energy strategist at Macro Risk Advisors LLC in New York. "While headlines swirl ahead of OPEC it is important to retrench on fundamentals."

Brent for January settlement increased $2.52, or 5.7 percent, to $46.95 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract fell to $44.43 on Monday, the lowest close since Aug. 10. The global benchmark closed at a 56 cent premium to WTI for January delivery.

See also: Money managers raise bets on falling oil in run-up to Trump win

Oil market volatility, as measured by the Chicago Board Options Exchange Crude Oil Volatility Index, climbed to the highest since April on Monday as prices retreated.

Market Rebound

"It's not a surprise that there would be a rebound after the big drop," said Kyle Cooper, director of research with IAF Advisors in Houston. "The size of the gain is surprising though, especially given the lack of news. It's important to remember that we're still down more than $6 from last month's highs."

The S&P 500 Index edged higher with energy companies leading the gains. The S&P Oil & Gas Exploration and Production Select Industry index was up as much as 4.6 percent to the highest in more than a month.

Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran are still at odds over how to share output cuts, according to an OPEC delegate, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

Iran's Renaissance

Iran is considering a proposal to freeze oil production near the level the nation says it currently pumps -- almost 4 million barrels a day -- rather than OPEC's estimate of about 3.7 million, the delegate said. OPEC pledged at a September meeting in Algiers to bring its total output down to a range of 32.5 million to 33 million barrels a day, which compares with output of 33.6 million last month.

Hedge-fund manager Pierre Andurand says OPEC is still likely to agree on an output freeze this month and prompt a sharp rally in prices, despite disputes among members. The supply glut is gone with no sign that production will grow next year, Andurand said in a note to investors obtained by Bloomberg News.

Oil-market news:

  • Oil supply and demand are "generally in balance," BP CEO Dudley said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Riyadh on Tuesday.
  • U.S. crude supplies probably rose by 1 million barrels last week, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey before an Energy Information Administration report on Wednesday.

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Related:

GLOBAL MARKETS-Oil rallies on OPEC deal bets; tech, energy boost stocksReuters, November 15

OPEC And Russia Expand Diplomatic Push to Secure Oil-Cuts DealBloomberg, November 16

Another Oil Crash Not Likely, But $40 Oil For Three Years, Russia SaysForbes, November 15

U.S. oil prices slip after industry report shows stock buildReuters, November 15

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Politics & Legal

New Budget means Mongolia is Open for Business

November 15 (Lehman Law) A draft of the 2017 budget for Mongolia is approved including a budget framework and an overview of policy through 2019.  The budget projects a 9.1% deficit for 2017.

The budget expects economic growth of 3% in 2017. In the interests of maintaining a stable tax environment for companies, taxes are not expected to increase. The government aims to improve infrastructure in the mining sector, move forward in large mining projects and generate budget revenue by increasing construction and investment.

The government's operating expenses are set to be cut by 1% over 2017.  At the same time, money has been set aside for loans and scholarships for top students, as well as funding for private and public colleges.

There are also steps included to minimize the deficit, for example, operating expenses for state organizations will be cut. Each organization will receive a cut of 10% to 100%, depending on the organizations function. Expenditures for a number of state funded programs and events will be reduced by 410 billion MNT.

Mongolian parliament has approved the reduction of the number of domestic bonds issued and will promote economic growth by taking steps to ensure proper spending of funds received from foreign loans.

These measures, to limit the deficit, to promote large mining and infrastructure projects, and investing in Mongolia's schools and students, are all positive steps for the country at a time when the overall economy has slowed due to global economic forces. If the increase in mining and infrastructure projects proceeds as expected, Mongolia could return to double digit growth in the coming years.

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S.Zorig murder case goes to court

November 15 (news.mn) On October 2nd 1998, the Mongolian Minister of Infrastructure and one of the heroes of the country's peaceful transition to democracy, S.Zorig, was brutally murdered. Even after 18 years of ongoing investigations, the case has still not been solved. Various people have been detained, most notably Zorig's wife B.Bulgan; she was released from prison on 9th September after having been held incommunicado since November 2015. The basis for her detention was allegedly connected with her presentation of false evidence in the initial hearings. Two possible suspects have been in detention since 2015. According to an official source, Mongolian prosecutors have transferred the case of S.Zorig's murder to the Primary Court of Ulaanbaatar's Sukhbaatar District.

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Business

Tous Les Jours bakery opens two branches in Mongolia

November 15 (Korea Times) CJ Foodville's Tous les Jours has opened two stores in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, stepping up efforts to become a global bakery brand.

The company said Tuesday that it is the first local bakery to establish a shop in the rapidly emerging Asian economy where K-pop groups and actors command a huge fan base.

The two stores were opened under a "master franchise" contract, in which Tous les Jours hands over control of the franchising activities in the country to a Mongolian business partner. In return, Tous les Jours receives a percentage of revenue from its partner.

Master franchising is a method used by many franchise systems because it is easier to export brands and increase the number of stores.

The bakery's first Mongolian store was opened in downtown Ulan Bator on Oct. 31. Its opening day drew more than 2,000 customers, generating over 10 million won ($8,600) in sales, a CJ Foodville spokesman said. Tous les Jours set up its second shop at the Shangri-La Mall, Monday, attracting twice the number of customers it expected.

"Since 2004, when we opened our first bakery shop in the United States, we have been striving to find new business opportunities abroad," the spokesman said. "Although we still have a long way to go to catch up with larger global rivals, we will take one step at a time to promote Korean-style breads among consumers around the world and emerge as an internationally recognized bakery brand."

Besides Mongolia, CJ Foodville operates 270 Tous les Jours stores in seven countries. In the United States, it set up a Tous les Jours franchise, recruiting individuals or businesses seeking to operate bakery shops.

In China, the company directly manages stores in large cities while letting its Chinese partners open outlets in provincial areas under the master franchise contract. In Cambodia, the Philippines and Malaysia, Tous les Jours stores were also set up under master franchising, with those in Vietnam and Indonesia directly operated by CJ Foodville.

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Tous Les Jours opens first two branches in Mongolia – The Korea Herald, November 15

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D.Otgonjargal's work hits the runway at O'Couture High Fashion Show 2017

November 15 (UB Post) One of Mongolia's top designers, D.Otgonjargal, hosted O Couture High Fashion Show 2017 on November 12, at The Corporate Hotel and Convention Center.

D.Otgonjagal showcased her Garden of Eden Collection, which included over 60 luxurious and eye-catching dresses.

By decree of Minister of Education, Culture, Science, and Sports J.Batsuuri, Head of the Ulaanbaatar Arts and Culture Department J.Damdintseren presented D.Otgonjargal with the title of Cultural Merit Worker during the fashion show. She is the first fashion designer to receive the title.

After receiving the state title, D.Otgonjargal said, "Today's fashion show was successfully organized. Receiving the title of Cultural Merit Worker is a big honor for me. I hope this prize will be given to more designers."

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Ulaanbaatar

24 Hours In Ulaanbataar In Winter

What would you do if you had 24 hours in Mongolia's capital city? Here is my very rough guide!

November 14 (Eternal Landscapes) I recently met someone who was going to be in Ulaanbaatar for 24 hours. At the end of November.  Just as the cold is really starting to make itself known. Ulaanbaatar has a reputation as being the world's coldest capital city. It's not considered the most glamorous of cities either. But, for me, it won't be like anywhere you've ever been to and that's much of the city's raw appeal. 

So what would I do if I had only 24 hours in Ulaanabatar at the end of November? Apart from buy thermals? Here's a few of my ideas. It is not a definitive list. 

Ride The Ulaanbaatar Railbus

OK. So, if you're arriving or departing on the Trans Mongolian then cross this one off as the Ulaanbaatar Railbus is NOT the same as the epic, country crossing international train. However, it works well as a way of crossing the city that puts you in touch with the local community as it is commonly used by locals. And just so you have the basics, it travels from Tolgoit station in the west to Amgalan station in the east through eight stations and takes around 50 minutes.

Ice Skating

My favourite location? The outdoor ice rink in central Sukhbaatar Square although this doesn't typically open until mid-December. You can always head to Hunnu Mall and it's indoor rink…and if you're not that into ice skating, choose the go-karting option instead! Wherever you head, I think it is a great way of creating a sense of community in a city with very little public space.

Gobi Sauna

Open 24 hours, you'll  emerge relaxed, revived and ready for whatever the day may bring. It is also  located in Ulaanbaatar. Not the Gobi. It is a sauna though. 

On the entry level is a shower and sauna room and on another two levels there is a massage room, cafe, relaxation room, oxygen room and different sauna rooms.

It is in the city district of Bayangol on Ard Ayush Avenue - known as the shopping district. Don't let the hideousness of the building design put you off. I doubt any photographer could capture this building in a positive light! Bayangol is known locally as the 'shopping street' so having relaxed and unwound, head to the row of small independent shops and larger national department stores. There are great local cafes serving everything from good coffee down to the ubiquitous mutton pancakes. 

Wrestling Palace

A landmark building on Peace Avenue. Wrestling is a major sport in Mongolia (for those that didn't know).

Throughout the winter months competitions take place - especially around the period of Mongolian Lunar New Year - Tsagaan Sar. There are also matches sponsored by government organisations or private business to celebrate anniversaries (such as the anniversary of Chinggis Khan) or special occasions.

National Amusement Park

Don't we all need a roller coaster in our life? Or dodgem cars?

This is NOT up there (or anywhere close) with anything in western countries. But then, it was built for the local community and not international visitors. Visit with a Mongolian family and you'll get a very different experience.  The ferris wheel will give you a great view.

IMAX Cinema

Having been to the National Amuseument Park, walk up the road to the Shangri-La Centre and buy a ticket for the IMAX. I can hear you. It's an IMAX. You've been to many IMAX. Well, you've never been to one in the coldest capital in the world have you?!

Sky Bars

Have a cocktail at one of the sky bars in Ulaanbaatar. True, the winter pollution may hinder the view and not as panoramic as it could be. Still, don't they say that pollution makes for better sunsets?

Which one to choose from? The Central Tower, the Best Western Tuushin Hotel,  the Blue Sky Hotel, the Shangri-La...there's a cocktail for everyone.

And of course, you can finish off with a karaoke experience. You'll get your own private room and there are international songs in the songs directory. 

Retail Therapy

Take a walk around the Naran Tuul (Black Market) to the east of UB (please be extremely careful of pick-pockets). Here you can purchase everything from a can opener to a prayer wheel or even an entire ger. 

Or, for something more local visit the NWL (New Way Life) Mongolian Quilting Shop - the aim of NWL is to provide women with traditional handicraft skills to create an accessible and sustainable source of income.  You can also pick-up some hand crafted fair-trade goods (including cashmere) at Mary and Martha.

If you are interested in art I recommend that you also visit the Mongolian Artists Exhibition Hall as it operates an ongoing exhibit, a workshop and a shop.

And no, I haven't mentioned the museums or the art galleries or the shows at the Mongolian State Academic Theatre of Opera or Ballet or that you can comfortably visit Manshiir Khiid Monastery or Gorkhi-Terelj National Park or Tsonjin Boldog. You see, there really is a different experience possible for everyone. 

Unless I have mentioned otherwise, all images used throughout this post were taken either by EL guests or members of the EL team. This is the Mongolia you will also experience if you chose to travel with us. 

Thanks for listening as always. Jess

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Movie Night: My Week with Marilyn

November 15 (UB Post) Nogoon Tagt Restaurant will hold its next Movie Night on November 17. British drama film "My Week with Marilyn" will be screened at the event.

The film tells the story of Colin Clark, an employee of Sir Laurence Olivier's, who documents the tense interaction between Olivier and Marilyn Monroe during the production of "The Prince and the Showgirl" (1957).

Details

Where: Nogoon Tagt, Urt Tsagaan

When: November 17, 8:00 p.m.

Admission: 2,000 MNT

More Information: 77110003

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Diplomacy

EU Ambassadors to Mongolia Holding Annual Meeting in Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar, November 15 (MONTSAME) The VIII Meeting of the Ambassadors of EU and Its Member States to Mongolia is being held in Ulaanbaatar on November 14-16. In the margin, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ts.Munkh-Orgil received the ambassadors at the State House on Tuesday.

Present were 27 resident and non-resident ambassadors, including the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the European Union to Mongolia, Mr Hans Dietmar Schweisgut.

The Foreign Minister briefed the ambassadors on policy objectives of the Government of Mongolia, gave his views on the current level of cooperation between Mongolia and EU, implementation of EU Development Cooperation in Mongolia and opportunities for drawing more investment to Mongolia from the EU member states, and discussed about the future perspectives of Mongolia-EU relations.

The Ambassadors are to pay courtesy calls on President Ts.Elbegdorj and Prime Minister J.Erdenebat and hold meetings at the permanent representative offices of international organizations in Ulaanbaatar.

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Prime Minister receives EU ambassadors

November 15 (GoGo Mongolia) Prime Minister J.Erdenebat received European Union member countries` ambassadors on Nov 14 and about 30 ambassadors have attended the meeting. 

At the beginning of the meeting, the Prime Minister highlighted that Mongolia has been actively trying to develop relations and cooperation with other countries after implementing independent foreign policy in the early 1990s. Within the framework of this goal, Mongolia has implemented the policy of "third neighbor" and strengthened the relations and cooperation with the European Union and its member countries in all sectors. The European Union is Mongolian major trade partner and the biggest investor. 

He added that the Government aims to overcome economic difficulties by stabilizing the economy in short period, ensuring growth, supporting social sectors and improving living condition of the residents. In regards, the Government developed program on overcoming economic difficulties and stabilization. Also, we are making negotiations with foreign partner countries and International Monetary Fund.

Foreign investment in Mongolia has declined due to commodity prices have fallen on the world market. However, our internal factors have affected more. We consider that the Government instability and bureaucratic state institutions caused the drop in foreign investment. The Government is taking specific actions to restore trust in investors. Thus, the Prime Minister requested ambassadors to attract investment through various measures. 

Moreover, he noted that the Government has established the Investors' Rights Protection Committee in order to provide the protection to investors, create favorable conditions for cooperation within the law and prevent potential risks. 

Mongolia plans to build oil processing, copper smelting and coal processing plants. The Government is working to attract foreign investment to this major projects.

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New ambassadors present credentials to President of Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, November 15 (MONTSAME) Today, the Ambassador of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to Mongolia Karunasena Kodituwakku, the Ambassador of the Republic of Tajikistan to Mongolia Alizoda Nazirmad, the Ambassador of the Federative Republic of Brazil to Mongolia Marcos Caramuru de Paiva, the Ambassador of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria to Mongolia Ahcene Boukhelfa, and the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Mongolia Turki M A Almadi have presented their Letters of Credence to the President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj.

Afterwards, President Elbegdorj held bilateral meetings with the newly appointed Ambassadors. 

At the meeting with Ambassador of Sri Lanka Mr. Karunasena Kodituwakku, President Elbegdorj discussed issues related to the development of bilateral relations and promised that the President's Office together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will work to support the Ambassadors mission in Mongolia. 

Then, Ambassador of Tajikistan Mr. Alizoda Nazirmad conveyed Tajik President's greetings to the President of Mongolia and noted that he take efforst for strengthening traditional old relations with Mongolia. In return, President Elbegdorj conveyed his sincere greetings to the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon. 

Ambassador of Brazil Mr. Marcos Caramuru de Paiva noted that he is visiting Mongolia for the first time and appreciated the President for warm welcome. Both parties highlighted that the two countries enjoy successful relations in agricultural, mining and sports sectors. 

Ambassador of Algeria Mr. Ahcene Boukhelfa highlighted that he will work hard to enhance mutual relationship and cooperation between Mongolia and Algeria.

Ambassador of Saudi Arabia Mr. Turki M A Almadi said that Mongolia and Saudi Arabia maintain good relations and expressed satisfaction over his appointment as Ambassador to Mongolia and promised to work with great efforts to bring the bilateral relations into a new level.

Concluding the meeting, President Elbegdorj wished the Ambassadors successes in their mission and good health, reports president.mn.

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Ambassadors present credentials to President Ts.Elbegdorjnews.mn, November 15

Vice FM receives newly accredited ambassadors Montsame, November 15

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Mogi: shouldn't you say the AMBASSADOR met the ministers?

Mongolia's Foreign, Defense Ministers Meet Qatar's Ambassador

November 15 (Qatar news Agency) Ulaanbaatar, November 15 (QNA) - Mongolia's Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Mongolia Tsend Munkh-Orgil and Minister of Defense B.Bat-Erdene met separately with HE non-resident Ambassador of the State of Qatar to Mongolia Sultan bin Salmin Al Mansouri.

During the meetings, they discussed bilateral relations and ways of enhancing them, in addition to matters of common concern.

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Mongolian Embassy in Pyongyang Celebrates 60th Anniversary of Kim Il Sung's Visit

Ulaanbaatar, November 15 (MONTSAME) A film show at the Taedonggang Diplomatic Club in the joint name of the Korea-Mongolia Friendship Association and the Mongolian Embassy in Pyongyang took place on Thursday on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung's visit to Mongolia and the 95th anniversary of the victory of the Mongolian people's revolution.

Present were, Pak Kyong Il, vice-chairman of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries and chairman of the Korea-Mongolia Friendship Association, along with the related officials, Suren Tsoggerel, Mongolian ambassador to the DPRK, and staffers of his embassy.
The participants enjoyed a Mongolian documentary film.
A friendly sports game was held between members of the Korea-Mongolia Friendship Association and staff members of the Mongolian Embassy on the same day, reports the Embassy.

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British Days: Getting Inspired

November 15 (Mongolian Economy) Great Britain showcased its development and cultural products in Ulaanbaatar last weekend at the "Inspire Me Festival" at Shanri-La Mall.

The UK ranks second in the world by innovation and education. Many opportunities to obtain education in the UK were also presented at the event. The education zone hosted 15 UK universities, which provided personal advice and seminars to anyone interested in studying in the UK.

More than 50 organisations participated in the second Inspire Me Festival held in Ulaanbaatar. Companies such as Tengri and What3Words introducing innovation in Mongolia can be mentioned. One of the main parts of the event was the Business Zone seminar dedicated to the entrepreneurs of the two countries.

What3Words is a company introducing new addressing methods throughout the world. It is a unique combination of just 3 words that identifies a 3m by 3m square anywhere on the planet, making postal service possible for Mongolian herders living anywhere in the country. The company is cooperating with Mongol Post to fully eliminate unspecified addresses throughout Mongolia. The company has even launched an application in Mongolian.

As for Tengri, it is a London-based enterprise that produces exclusive, design-led luxury products for men. It creates sustainable knitwear and yarns from Mongolian yak fibres. Today, the company associates with over 1,500 herder households.

Entrepreneurs exchanged information on the current business environment in Mongolia, economic structure, possibilities, corporate transparency, legal environment and international experiences that can help improve the situation. But the most valuable presentation of the event for them was about how to get financing from the UK Export Finance.

In a nutshell, the UK is a relatively open country for business. The financing terms of the UK Export Finance, which supports its country's exporters, is relatively favourable compared with other countries' export and import banks. For example, an exporting company can be of any country as long as it is registered in the UK. It is one huge advantage as most countries do not allow this.

This organisation gives advice on all levels, including finding partners from the UK, establishing contracts and importing products. Mongolian entrepreneurs can get more detailed information from the British Embassy.

"Mongolia seeks sustainable development with diversified economic pillars, expanding its international partners and intensifying diplomatic relations and economic cooperation. Our objective is to support that. We would be happy to share our specialised knowledge, education and technology, engineering and international level experience with Mongolia," said HM Ambassador Catherine Arnold.

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Health & Education

Foreign Ministry denies being asked by Turkey to close 'Gulen' schools in Mongolia

November 15 (news.mn) Turkey has closed around 1,000 private schools linked to Fethullah Gulen, the exiled cleric blamed for masterminding July's failed military coup. In October, some foreign media agencies reported that the Ankara government has asked Mongolia to close down its Turkish schools, claiming they are linked to Fethullah Gulen. Turkish Education Ministry Undersecretary Yusuf Tekin, who is known to be the architect of decrees that shut down schools across Turkey, visited Mongolia in October and met with D.Bayarsaikhan, State Secretary for Education, Culture, Science and Sports. The first and the most important item on the agenda was, allegedly, closing Gulen's schools in Mongolia, in line with Turkey's Educational Purge. So, news.mn clarified these media claims with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and directors of the Turkish schools in Mongolia. According to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, no official notice was received from Ankara regarding closing Turkish schools in Mongolia. We also spoke to D.Ganbaatar, who is the director of the Ulaanbaatar Empathy School; he said, ' the administration body of the five Mongolian-Turkish schools, which is led by the Ulaanbaatar Empathy School didn't receive any official notification or anything else regarding closure.'

In total, there are five Turkish schools operating in Mongolia, located in the provinces of Orkhon, Bayan-Ulgii and Darkhan-Uul; in the capital the Ulaanbaatar Elite School is centrally located near the Bayangol Hotel and the Ulaanbaatar Empathy School, which serves as the Turkish 'flagship' school, is located next to the Amgalan power station. The annual tuition fees for the Turkish schools in Darkhan and Orkhon costs MNT 2.5-3million, however, the two Turkish schools in Ulaanbaatar are MNT 4.8-7.5million. Dormitory fees for pupils at the schools cost between MNT 3.4 million in Ulaanbaatar and MNT1-1.5 million in the three provinces. In total, 2.9 thousand Mongolian students are studying in Turkish schools. Many graduates of these schools get impressively high scores in state examinations; 60% of graduates go on to study in universities abroad and 40% in Mongolia.

Turkish schools are currently operating in 173 country. Since the failed military coup attempt, Turkey has escalated its all-out campaign to put pressure on dozens of countries around the world to shut down Gulen- linked Turkish schools. Ankara suspects Turkish teachers working in foreign countries of spreading propaganda against president Erdogan. According to media articles, Turkey wants to shut down all schools in foreign counties. However, it appears that this is not the case; with the exception of Somalia and Equatorial Guinea, schools have generally remained open, in particular in Jordan and Azerbaijan, which are close allies of Ankara. In Turkey itself, however, the picture is quite different, the Ministry of National Education has closed 2000 local educational institutions and 61 thousand teachers had been relieved from their duties.

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Model UN Mongolia 2016 at MFA, November 19

November 15 (UB Post) Mongolia MUN will be held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on November 19. Mongolia MUN is a one-day United Nations simulation for university level students.

It will be held to celebrate the 55th anniversary of Mongolia joining the United Nations, along with the 25th anniversary of the National University of Mongolia and School of International Relations and Public Administration.

During Mongolia MUN, student delegates gain insight into the workings of the United Nations and the dynamics of international relations by assuming the roles of UN representatives.

Details

Where: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

When: November 19, 8:00 a.m.

Admission: 10,000 MNT

More Information: 99949838

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In Rural Mongolia, Duke Global Health Students Look for Dangerous Pathogens

November 15 (Duke Global Health Institute) As part of their masters degree field work, a pair of Duke Global Health Institute students spent three months in Mongolia, trapping small rodents around the country and testing them for infectious diseases in a lab at the Mongolia Institute for Veterinary Medicine in the capital of Ulaanbaatar.

There are 3 million people in Mongolia and more than 50 million horses, camels, sheep, goats, and yaks. In Mongolia, animals have near royalty status. Farm animals are serious players in the economic cycle, and critical for the more than one million nomadic herder families who feed off their livestock and make a living selling animals for meat, hides or wool. Knowing what dangerous pathogens lurk near the livestock is important for taking precautionary measures to prevent infectious diseases from spreading to the animals.

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Culture & Society

A radical approach to homelessness

By Kristine De Leon

November 15 (UB Post) On a bleak and piercing cold morning on November 8, homeless starving wretches draw round to a man with a large pot of soup. In a drunken stupor, the hunger-worn outcasts can hardly open their eyes as they greet the familiar face of the man who once lived with them on the streets.

That man with the large pot of soup is Byambaa, and he once lived in a bitter world.

"I used to live on the street six years ago. I was addicted to alcohol and started living on the street. I used to live in manholes and sleep next to hot water pipes. People living on the street have family issues and work problems, and lose hope. Also, there are a lot of factors such as natural disasters, domestic violence, and cheating. Their hearts were broken because of family issues and so on. Heartbreak is the biggest problem for homeless people. Ninety percent of the homeless people ended up on the street due to heartbreak. They start drinking to forget all that stuff. They drink more and more and more. One day, they can't stop drinking and became alcohol addicts. Their money will be spent. They started robbing and stealing in order to make money and buy vodka. At the end of that, they started collecting plastic bottles from dumpsite. That's how they ended up on the street. I also experienced heartbreak and started drinking alcohol. I used to drink rubbing alcohol, which contains 70 percent alcohol by volume, because I didn't have money to buy regular alcohol."

Byambaa decided to get back to a normal life six years ago. He began by staying in a alcohol rehab center for a year. "I was the youngest in that rehab center. Homeless people living on the street are becoming younger and younger these days," Byambaa explains.

When Byambaa had his life together once again, Corrie van der Esch asked him if he could help her with a new project named "Sergelt" (Revival) by using his experiences to help the homeless.

"I agreed to work and wanted to help the homeless because I was just like them [once]," says Byambaa.

Sergelt is a project of the Good Neighbor Society (GNS) in Mongolia, which began serving Ulaanbaatar's homeless population in 2014. Corrie van der Esch, who had already been working with GNS in Mongolia, spearheaded a project that would operate as a mobile contact point for homeless people working to improve their life situation eventually towards reintegration into society. Currently operating from a single Prius, Sergelt aims to transform the lives of homeless people caught in the cycle of poverty through simple acts of kindness.

Sergelt is radically changing lives by directly engaging with unsheltered individuals dealing with homelessness and provide support services to help stabilize lives.

"We don't try to teach them that they have to change their mind and how they do things. We just try to talk with them just as if they are normal people. We shake their hands and just talk with them about normal stuff, just like normal people," says Corrie.

"We are going to the street. We are going to them and they don't need to come to us. We are very lowkey and very easily accessible for the homeless. We are the missing link," explains Corrie.

With only a handful of volunteers, Sergelt connects the most vulnerable Mongolians to vital resources throughout the city.

"There are organizations that work partly with the homeless, for example the alcohol rehabilitation centers. They don't focus 100 percent on homeless people – they focus on alcoholics. But our target groups are mostly alcoholics, so we work with them as well. We are the link between the organizations as well."

With the support of international funds, the Sergelt project also offers a variety of services and activities, from haircuts to wound treatments to counseling. Twice each week, usually on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, a small team of volunteers accompany Corrie and Byambaa to go out on the streets to meet homeless people.

"They know we are there," says Corrie. People living in the streets often discover Sergelt's services by word of mouth. "We go to two locations in UB each week to hand out food, do some wound treatment, talk with people, we try to advise them on how to be able to change their life and how to take steps to reintegrate into society. We also tell them about other organizations."

When we asked about Sergelt's positive impact on the lives of homeless people, Corrie explains, "It is very difficult to keep track of how people are changing because they are on the street."

Nonetheless, she's optimistic about Sergelt's unorthodox approach to homelessness.

"We do see some people changing, since we do talk to them a lot." However, the types of impact that they hope to achieve can vary greatly, as reflected in Byambaa's account – from giving voice to and empowering individuals, to improving service access, to transforming the systems that produce and maintain homelessness.

For Byambaa, he thinks that there are less people living on the streets. Sergelt project is helping so many homeless people get back into society. We have connections with a rehabilitation center and hospital. Some homeless people say they want to get back into society. If they truly decide to leave the streets, we send that person to a rehab center. Sometimes homeless people contact their family again," he says.

Corrie shares her thoughts on why she thinks Sergelt works, "We really see that it is very important to go to the people as they are on the street so that they don't have to step up a big threshold. In other words, if they themselves have to go to an or-
ganization to ask for help, it is often a very big step for them to take."

Corrie looks over to Byambaa and gestures him to share his thoughts about Sergelt's impact.

As someone who was homeless for over six years, Byambaa explains, "People treat [the homeless] like dogs. So we have to listen and talk to them, and give them a sense that people still care and recognize you. Homeless people have to understand that they are still being loved. Our job is to give them that feeling. It is way better than just giving advice. They come to us and express that they want to get back into society when they feel like they still exist. I used to be homeless. That's why I understand and know their feelings."

From what Byambaa has seen, the people who end up on the street were once ordinary people.

"Women who experienced domestic violence and beaten up by their husbands became homeless. They drink alcohol to forget those problems and end up on the street. It is even harder for women to get back into society. People don't welcome homeless people because of the smell of their clothes. That's why homeless people started thinking; they are useless and no one will care if they get back into society. There are few women who got back into society."

Sergelt's future goal is to move on to other areas of UB and work together with volunteers in those areas.

"We try to work at different areas of UB since we are a mobile project," says Corrie. She hopes to reach out to all of UB one day, because often times, groups end up raiding those who have received help.

"Homeless people tend to establish groups and set territories. The groups do not allow other groups to enter their territory. They are ready to kill each other for food or plastic bottles they collect. Regular people don't care if they murder and stab each other," Byambaa explains why he would like to help more people across UB.

Each year, people are evicted from their homes by the hundreds. Their visibility is problematic to the city's economic and tourist progress. For the mainstream public, an encounter with the visible poor "disrupts the ordinary rhythms of public life." Their suffering is not only a material one, but the homeless also suffer from a crisis of identity that is equal to if not greater than their crisis of economics and space.

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Nature & Environment

Coldest November to hit Mongolia on 17-25th

November 15 (gogo.mn) Mongolian winter starts roughly from December to February. However, waves of arctic air from north half of Siberia invaded the northwest half of Mongolia from Nov 16 and it will bring the coldest weather in Mongolia during Nov 17-25th. It will be the record-breaking cold weather that occurred in November over the last ten years, reported by S.Enkhtuvshin, the Head of Meteorology and Environmental Monitoring Department.

On these days, wind will reach 18-20 m/s and sometimes it will reach 24 m/s in Western aimags on Nov 16 and most regions on Nov 17-18. Thus, the residents are warned of risk of frostbite. Due to strong snow and dust storms, roads will be closed.

Freezing night temperature in Uvs lake, Ider, Tes river basins, Darkhad hollow wil reach -42 to -47C and Selenge, Kharaa, Yuruu, Onon, Ulz, Tuul and Terelj river basins will reach -30 to -40C. 

The penetrating cold can cause problems to the livestock grazing, road and railway transport, energy and heat supply.

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'Zud' alert: November temperature to fall to -47C in Mongolianews.mn, November 15

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61 million livestock to overwinter

Ulaanbaatar, November 15 (MONTSAME) Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry P.Sergelen made a statement at a meeting of the State Emergency Commission, held today. He noted the soums's emergency reserves of hay and fodder were formed with 50.7 percent completion this autumn, which is unsatisfactory for the expectedly harsh winter. The financing for emergency reserves is not available, he added.

Mongolia numbers a total of 153.1 thousand herding households with 60.8 million domestic animals for overwintering. According to a survey on pasture carrying capacity, 80 percent of the total territory of Mongolia has enough capacity to graze the livestock, whereas 20 percent fails. Therefore, 16460 herding households have to move to other lands with better conditions to overwinter their animals totaling 6.9 animals.

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World Atlas: National Parks Of Mongolia

Gobi Gurvansaikhan in the northern region of the Gobi Desert is Mongolia's largest national park at 10,425 square miles.

Mongolia is a landlocked country in Northern Asia bordering Russia and China. It is home to a great wealth of natural resources, including several vast national parks. Gobi Gurvansaikhan in the northern region of the Gobi Desert is Mongolia's largest national park at 10,425 square miles and also the second most protected park in the country. Lake Khövsgöl provides 70% of the country's water, and it and the mountains surrounding it make up the Lake Khövsgöl National Park, a popular destination for both resident Mongolians and international tourists. Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area with its three beautiful mountain ranges is the most protected area in Mongolia. Khustain Nuruu National Park is a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized wildlife biosphere, famous for the peaceful coexistence of humans and wildlife there.

Gobi Gurvansaikhan

Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park, established in 1993, is the largest national park in Mongolia, covering 10,425 square miles. The park stretches 80 kilometers from north to south and 380 kilometers east to west. Gobi Gurvansaikhan lies in the northern region of the Gobi Desert. It comprises of gravel and rubble plains, dry valleys, salt wetlands, springs, and Oases. The foothills of these mountains have red Cretaceous sandstone eroded into gorges. The region has an elevation of up to 2,600 meters and have steppe climatic zone. Around 52 mammal species, including the wild ass, hamsters, pikas, Gobi bear, gerbils, snow leopard, and wildcat and endangered species such as the Argali sheep and the Siberian ibex, live in this hostile environment of the Gobi Desert. Around 246 types of birds including the breeding birds such as Kestrels, vultures, lammergeyers, and Altai snowcocks also flourish in the park. Sand dunes such as the Khongoryn Els are notable sights in the region.

Lake Khövsgöl National Park

Lake Khövsgöl is Mongolia's largest freshwater lake by volume and second largest in terms of surface area. The lake and the area surrounding it make up the Lake Khövsgöl National Park which covers an area of 3,500 square miles. Several mountain ranges, such as the Bürenkhaan-Mönkh Saridag at 3,492 meters above sea level, surround the lake. The lake surface freezes during winters. Its watershed is small so are the river's tributaries. The Egiin Gol drains the lake to the south connecting it to Selenge and then flows into Lake Baikal. The lake and the national park form part of the southern border of Siberian Taiga forest in which the Siberian Larch is the dominant tree species. Fish species of commercial interest in the lake include the Eurasian Perch, Burbot, and the endangered Hovsgol grayling. Wild animals such as the argali, musk deer, brown bear, wolf, elk, ibex, and Siberian Mouse find a home in this national park. Lake Khövsgöl National Park forms a transitional zone between the Siberian Taiga and the Central Asia Steppe and thus it is a strictly protected area. The Khovsgol Long-term Ecological Research Site established in 1997 provides scientific research and environmental infrastructure studying climate and strategies to counteract the environmental challenges facing the lake, the park, and watershed. Even though illegal fishing still goes on, and gill-net fishing is prohibited it is not strictly enforced. Mongol Ecology Center created Lake Khövsgöl Conservancy to help protect the country's biggest source of freshwater and the biodiversity it harbors.

Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area

The Khan Khentii in Khentii Aimang, Eastern Mongolia is a protected wildlife preservation area. Khentii, one of three ranges, starts at Ulaanbaatar and stretches to the eastern plains. There are also several peaks that are 2,500 meters above sea level, including Asralt Khairkhan at an elevation of 2,800 meters. The protected area is around 4,737 square miles and is inclusive of Burkhan Khaldun Mountain, and borders Gorkhi Terlj National Park to the West. The whole parks a mixture of forests, alpine tundra, wetlands, and permanent snow and ice fields with the core of the remote wilderness uninhabited. Tourism and herding are highly controlled with mining and hunting prohibited. The protected area is almost completely uninhabited by humans and provides refuge to endangered species including the brown bear, weasel, and moose, and more than 250 bird species.

Khustain Nuruu National Park

Khustan Nuruu National Park is located in Tov Province, around 100 kilometers west of Ulaan Baatar. The park is a reserve in the UNESCO World Biosphere listing of Nature Reserves. The National Park is approximately 195 square miles and is home to 459 vascular plant species, 85 lichen species, 90 moss species, and around 33 mushroom species. There are also 44 known species of mammals here, including the red deer, Mongolian gazelle, Eurasian lynx and badger, gray wolves, and corsac fox, 217 bird species such as the golden eagle, great bustard, black stork, whooper swan, and little owl. Also, 16 species of fish, 380 insect species, and two amphibian species live here. Khustain Nuruu National Park is one of the best managed national parks in Mongolia.

Ecological and Recreational Havens in Mongolia

These parks provide the dry country of Mongolia with beautiful landscapes of lakes, mountain ranges, and deserts. Apart from providing habitats to wildlife, communities also thrive around these parks. Camping, reindeer viewing, horseback riding, and tours are some of the top recreational activities proffered by the national parks of Mongolia.

National Parks Of Mongolia

Area

Altai Tavan Bogd National Park

2,456 square miles

Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park

10,425 square miles

Great Gobi B Strictly Protected Area

3,475 square miles

Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve

77 square miles

Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area

4,737 square miles

Khustain Nuruu National Park

195 square miles

Lake Khövsgöl National Park

3,500 square miles

Mankhan Nature Reserve

1,158 square miles

Mongol Daguur Strictly Protected Area

138 square miles

Sharga Nature Reserve

1,104 square miles

Tsambagarav Uul National Park

429 square miles

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Sports

Mongolia dominates Memoriad 2016

November 15 (UB Post) The Mongolian memory team, comprised of 14 athletes, won the medal tally of the World Mental Olympics, the Memoriad 2016, which took place in Las Vegas from November 7 to 11.

A total of 167 memory athletes from 27 countries, such as the USA, Germany, South Korea, India, Japan and Australia, challenged themselves in 13 categories of the Memoriad 2016.

The Mongolian competitors, aged between seven and 24, won 15 medals in total, including four gold, six silver, and five bronze medals.

Mongolian memory athletes have set two new world records at the event. Grandmaster S.Tsogbadrakh broke the world record in the flash numbers category by memorizing 486 digits, and B.Shijir-Erdene broke the world record in the binary digits category by memorizing 4,770 digits within 30 minutes.

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Mongolia's M. Ankhtsetseg becomes Junior Weightlifting Champion of Asia

Ulaanbaatar, November 15 (MONTSAME) Ankhtsetseg Munkhjantsan, 19, won a Gold Medal at the 2016 Asian Youth and Junior Weightlifting Championships, underway in Tokyo, on November 14. M.Ankhtsetseg was ranked at 8th place in Rio 2016.

This time, she lifted 105 kg in snatch and 130 kg in clean and jerk, and in total -- 235 kg.

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