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http://zgm.mn/post/2657/

Meat and fuel prices trigger inflation to increase

Price rise of imported goods causes an increase in inflation

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http://zgm.mn/post/2657/


Statistics show that nearly 80 percent of the inflation was caused by the rise in prices of meat and petroleum. For example, meat prices increased by over MNT 2,000 per kilogram last month.

In addition, the exchange rate was one of the main factors that affected inflation. The price of imported goods purchased on foreign currencies increased and this caused inflation. For example, the average USD rate increased 10 times or by 0.4 percent from the same period of the previous year. In addition, the CNY/MNT rate increased by 2.3 percent and RUB/MNT - 5.6 percent.

Mongolia buys most of its consumer goods from overseas to cover domestic demands and support household livelihood. The industrialization is not developed enough in Mongolia. Therefore, the FX rate changes the purchasing ability of people and inflation directly through imported goods.

In addition, the average household income and expenditure differ by MNT 36,000 at the end of last year. In particular, at the end of 2018, the average household income was MNT 1.2 million and the expenditure was MNT 1.23 million. However, three months later, the household expenditure has increased in the first quarter of this year, doubling the gap. In other words, rising prices have begun to stimulate public spending.

In the first five months of 2019, the Bank of Mongolia (BoM) purchased 4.2 tons of gold. BoM bought 1.8 tons of gold in May, which is about 200 kg increase compared to the same period of last year.

Gold is the main financial market tool for Mongolia. The country has decided to set gold royalty at 5 percent in March. As a result, the gold purchase, which was decreasing due to the uncertainty of the legal environment started to increase.

The BoM plans to buy 22 tons of gold this year. The amount of gold in Mongolia has raised the economy by USD 700-800 million and increases FX reserves of the BoM. If the global price of gold rises, Mongolia’s gold export earnings will increase and the BoM’s foreign currency reserves will also expand. This can help protect the financial market and the exchange rate against foreign and domestic risks.

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Construction of Tavantolgoi power plant to begin in 2020

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The Government of Mongolia and Oyu Tolgoi (OT) LLC have signed “Energy Regulatory Coordination” on 31 December 2018. According to the agreement, the construction of the Tavan Tolgoi power plant will start from March 2020 and be completed by 2023.

When the Tavan Tolgoi power plant with a capacity of 300 mWh commences, the power supply of OT will be improved along with the integrated power supply system of Mongolia. As of 2018, the OT mine project has paid approximately USD 150 million for generating electricity from Inner Mongolia's energy system annually. Tavan Tolgoi thermal power station will keep the invest in Mongolia. Furthermore, when the OT underground mine is commissioned, energy consumption will increase by 30-40 percent from current levels.

The plant will provide water from the Naiman valley and will use minimize water consumption via using an air cooling system for power plants. The Tavan Tolgoi power plant planned to use 1.2 million tons of coal annually and will use the thermal coal, which does not be exported and left at the  mines. The remaining coal will be in circulation in the economy, according to the spokesman.

Also, 200 permanent jobs will be created, following the increased housing and social buildings and improved urban development.

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World Bank report underscores importance of strong fiscal foundation

Mongolia’s capital expenditure has been among the highest in the world in 2010-2016

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According to the World Bank’s report on public expenditure, Mongolia’s over-expanded budget policy altered fiscal discipline. Therefore, the World Bank highlights the need for adequate fiscal resources by accumulating savings during economic growth.

“With high public debt, low tax rates and high exemptions, the Mongolian economy remains extremely vulnerable to external factors, including shifts in global demand, commodity prices, and exchange rate and interest rate shocks. There is a clear need to strengthen fiscal buffers through increased savings during years of prosperity,” said Andrei Mikhnev, World Bank Country Manager for Mongolia.

At an average of about 11 percent of GDP in 2010-2016, Mongolia’s capital expenditure has been among the highest in the world. However, the returns of this spending have been low due to poor project selection, long delays in implementation, high-cost overruns, and low maintenance budgets.

“The report lays out key actions the country can take to enhance the efficiency of public investment. Development and implementation of a national road map to improve the efficiency of these investments is the top priority,” said Jean-Pascal Nganou, Senior Country Economist and a lead author of the report.

Given Mongolia’s highly volatile revenue performance, the report also recommends reducing the dependence of government revenue on the mineral sector by embarking on a gradual reform of the tax system. This includes measures to increase low statutory tax rates, revise the number and size of tax exemptions, and broaden the tax base. The report illustrates that VAT and excise taxes in Mongolia are regressive in nature as their burden is larger among the poor than among the non-poor.

It also highlights special spending needs in health and education – key sectors that play an essential  role in the country’s long-term development and the fight against poverty.

The report highlights the urgent need to strengthen the pension system to meet the needs of Mongolia’s aging population. The government set the target for a maximum state subsidy for pensions of 2 percent of GDP by 2030. However, due to measures allowing many workers to purchase a pension for life at retirement age at a fraction of the cost that other workers have paid during their work lives, reducing herders’ retirement ages, and others, the current subsidy of 2 percent of GDP is projected to rise to 6 percent in 2030 and 11 percent in 2050 unless reforms are undertaken.

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World Bank: One in three people remain poor in Mongolia

Poverty rate fell by 1.2 percentage point since 2016

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The poverty rate in Mongolia, which was 29.6 percent in 2016, lowered to 28.4 percent in 2018, declining 1.2 percentage point. The National Statistical Office (NSO) biannually conducts the poverty indicators of Mongolia in cooperation with the World Bank. The two organizations have collaborated on poverty assessments through the Household Income and Expenditure Survey and the Living Standard Measurement Survey since 2002.

In 2018, the poverty gap was estimated at 7.2 percent, a decrease of 0.5 percentage points from 2016. Poverty severity has decreased to 2.7 percent from 2.9 percent in 2016. During the period between 2016 and 2018, the poverty rate declined by 4.1 percentage points in rural areas but increased by 0.1 percentage points in urban areas. While the poverty rate remains high in rural areas, with two-thirds of the total population of Mongolia living in urban cities, poverty has become more concentrated in urban areas. The percentage of the poor population in urban areas has increased from 62.1 percent to 63.5 percent in 2018. Also, more than 40 percent of the poor lived in Ulaanbaatar in 2018.

As of 2016, 29.6 percent of Mongolian citizens were living below the poverty line, indicating that one in three people or roughly one million people live in poverty. The rate, which was 21.6 percent in 2014, increased by 8 percent in 2016, showing 275,000 povertystruck people over this period.

The poverty line that indicates the amount of money required to provide the basic needs was MNT 146,000. In 2014, those who have moved above the line were back in poverty due to the negative impacts of the economy and society. The economy grew by 20 percent between 2012 and 2014, while the economy grew by 3.6 percent in 2015 and 2016. As a result of 2016, the GDP growth slowed by 1 percent. At the time, the deficit reached MNT 3.6 trillion due to the collapse of commodity markets in the world.



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World’s top innovation company leaders meet Mongolian innovators

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During the Innovation and Investment forum organized by the Parliament Speaker Zandanshatar Gombojav, the leaders of the world’s top innovation companies came and viewed Mongolia's innovation project and product launches. Participants in the forum exchanged views on how to exchange international experiences in order to strengthen startup firms and to support innovation products with banking and financial institutions.

Mr. Zandanshatar initiated the forum in May, after visiting academic institutions of some universities and the Mongolian Academy of Sciences to discuss innovative projects and products with competitiveness and seek solutions. The forum also intended to exchange experience in innovation projects and products successfully implemented in the market.

The Parliament Speaker highlighted in his opening speech, “According to the World Economic Forum in 2017, Mongolia is ranked 11th in the Global Human Capital Report by intellectual property, while ranking 111th in the knowledge of exported products out of 130 countries worldwide. This indicator shows that Mongolians have a high intellectual capacity, but we are left behind on using the knowledge and value-added products. The forum aimed to push the dissemination of innovation, as well as the possibility of involving scientists and private entrepreneurs to science-based development.”