For the first time since 2013, Mongolia’s balance of payments is in a surplus with 1.45 billion USD, Mongol Bank reported. The reinvigoration of foreign direct investment and the transfer of the proceeds from the Gerege Bond were the biggest contributors to the dramatic increase.
From 2013 to 2016, the balance of payments was in a deficit. Only two years ago in 2016, the balance of payments had a deficit of 18.2 million USD.
As of December 2017, the current account of Mongolia had a deficit of 907.1 million USD while the financial account had a surplus of 2.43 billion USD. The margin between the current account and the financial account equaled 1.45 billion USD, the total balance of payments as of December 2017.
Between 2013 and 2016, foreign loans and the foreign exchange reserve were the main tools for rebalancing the deficit of the current account. In the Financial Sustainability Status report released by Mongol Bank in 2017, proceeds from foreign direct investments were cited as the main contributor in rebalancing the current account deficit.
The central bank also reported that the foreign exchange reserve had reached three billion USD as of December 2017. When Mongolia first enrolled into the IMF extended fund facility, Mongol Bank set out to increase the nation’s foreign exchange reserves to 1.6 billion USD by the end of 2017 and to four billion USD by 2020.
In October 2017, Mongolia was able to issue the 5.5-year Gerege bond worth 800 million USD at an interest rate of 5.625 percent. The sudden influx of 800 million USD was a large contributing factor in the increase in the surplus of the balance of payments.
The ministry of finance was also able to get a rather favorable interest rate on the Gerege bond due to high demand on the primary market. Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh had said that the issuance of Gerege was a sign of the impact that the IMF extended fund facility. The prime minister noted that investment would surge due to the security that an IMF program provides.
As of the third quarter of 2017, Mongolia received more than 702 million USD in foreign direct investment. The largest investment was from Canada with 285 million USD, investors in Luxembourg contributed 155 million USD, Chinese investors 65 million USD, while other countries accounted for 197 million USD in investment.
The majority of the investment, 79 percent, was concentrated into mining, with retail receiving the next largest share of investment at five percent.