Thursday, March 27, 2008

blood and oil

We're still a little uncertain about the healthcare situation in Mongolia, but apparently there is a shortage of blood. Apparently, the National Blood Center paid handsomely for blood in the 70s and 80s, but now that they've gone to a volunteer basis, donations have dropped off precipitously.

This article is primarily about the other kind of blood--oil--and Mongolia's need to build an oil reserve. What I found interesting, though, was the statement that the togrog is falling in value even more steadily than the dollar. It's hard to imagine a currency doing worse than ours. Maybe that will alleviate some of the effects on inflation for us, although it doesn't do much for the rest of the country.

Mongolia is receiving somewhat of a cash infusion, though, from the burgeoning tourism industry. Prince Alwaleed of Saudia Arabia recently visited Mongolia and met with some of the leaders, so this probably speaks well of Mongolia's chances to see some luxury hotels in its future. This has been a growing need, due to the massive mining operations currently underway and more just over the horizon. A new airline flight has also just been initiated to try to lure some of the 40,000 annual visitors to Lake Baikal to Lake Khovsgol in Mongolia.

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