Big fall in trade surplus, coal main culprit

11th of 4, 2018


According to data revealed by the National Statistics Office, Mongolia’s exports in the first two months of 2018 were valued at $838.4 million, while imports stood at $726 million, taking total trade turnover to $1.6 billion, which is 18.9% or $248.1 million more than the corresponding figure in the previous year. Exports rose 1.6%, mainly because gold exports fetched $41.4 million. On the other hand, imports increased by 47.9% or $235 million, the major items being diesel, heavy machinery and equipment, electrical appliances, metallic items, vehicles and spare parts. This means foreign trade at the end February still showed a surplus, but the amount dropped by 67.4% y-o-y to $112.4 million. 

Minerals exports reached $690.6 million, accounting for 82.4% of total exports. Coal picked up $245.4 million which is 35.5% of total minerals export and 29.3% of total export value. Altogether 1.25 million tonnes of coal was exported in February, 742,800 tonnes less than in January. One reason for the drop was the longer time it now takes to cross the border, while another was the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays.

The Head of Customs Division of Gashuunsukhait Port, B.Davaasuren, told MMJ that on an average around 500 trucks pass through the port every day. Following decisions taken at a meeting of border officials from both countries in early March, passage across the border is expected to improve from May, and the daily traffic could reach up to 1,500 trucks. China is working on extending the automobile road on its side. A clear improvement is expected due to Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh’s planned visit to China.

Coal export in the first two months was weaker than in the same period last year. The volume was around 3.25 million tonnes, a y-o-y decrease of 33.2%, and revenue dropped by 25% y-o-y to $245.4 million.

Copper concentrate export reached 205,100 tonnes, a y-o-y drop of 14.7%, but the $274.6 million earned was 11.5% more. In 2017, copper export income was less than that from coal, but this year it has been the other way around. In the case of refined copper, however, the drop was seen in both volume and income, the first falling by 20.5% to 2,300 tonnes and the $15.8 million earned was 3.7% less y-o-y.

The 1.7 tonnes of gold exported and the $72.2 million earned marked a twofold and 2.3 times increase respectively y-o-y.

Crude oil exports reached 1.0099 million barrels and earned $62.6 million, a y-o-y drop of 10.35% in terms of volume while income rose by 6.9%.

At 932,400 tonnes, iron ore export showed a y-o-y rise of 30.7% but the income of $39.6 million was 11.9% less.

Export of zinc concentrate increased by 13.1% y-o-y and reached 21,100 tonnes, while the $37.2 million revenue was up 37.9%.

Export volume of fluorspar increased by 48.7% y-o-y to stand at 49,500 tonnes, and revenue rose by 103.6% to reach $15.7 million.

Lead export reached 2,480 tonnes, earning $6.6 million, 14.9% and 7.2% lower respectively y-o-y.
The 900 tonnes of molybdenum exported was down 19.2% y-o-y, though the $6.08 million revenue was 7.1% higher.
Tungsten export dropped by 13.5% y-o-y to be at 50,9 tonnes, but income from it rose by 34.6% to $699,400.

Despite lower export volume, income from copper, crude oil, zinc, fluorspar, molybdenum and tungsten increased as prices were higher. All minerals taken together, export revenue declined 5.1% or was $37.2 million less y-o-y, mainly because coal export earnings fell by 25% y-o-y or $82 million, almost wiping away the gains in other minerals.

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