Mongolian exports fall 2.6 pct in 2013 on coal decline

REUTERS: Mongolia’s export trade in 2013 fell 2.6 percent compared to the previous year as a result of a decrease in coal shipments to China over the period, the country’s central bank said.

The total value of Mongolian exports reached $4.27 billion in 2013, down from $4.38 billion in the previous year, the bank said in its foreign trade review for December.

Deliveries of coal to southern neighbour China were affected by disputes over prices as well as falling demand during the year. According to official Chinese data, coal imports from Mongolia fell 20 percent over the year to 17.3 million tonnes.

The Mongolian central bank said an increase in copper concentrate exports, driven by the launch of the first phase of Rio Tinto’s massive Oyu Tolgoi project, was offset by a 11.5 percent drop in coal shipments.

Landlocked Mongolia is heavily dependent on its export of mining resources, mostly to China. The bank said 88 percent of its total export trade consisted of minerals in 2013, down 2.4 percentage points compared to the previous year.

More than 90 percent of Mongolia’s exports typically go to China, but the bank has yet to publish detailed figures for 2013.