Mongolia operated as a Soviet-style centrally planned economy until the establishment of a new coalition government in 1990. Since 1990, Mongolia has transitioned into a market-oriented economy, with the private sector constituting 75.2% of the nation’s GDP in 2011, according to the National Statistical Office of Mongolia. Today, Mongolia is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, with a real growth rate of 17.5% in 2011. Recent growth has been primarily driven by expanding coal and copper production, ongoing development of new large mining projects, growth in the agriculture sector due to the sector’s recovery from the effects of the severe winter conditions in late 2009 and 2010 and a highly expansionary fiscal policy. Mongolia, however, faces certain challenges, including high rates of inflation, a growing dependence on the production and export of commodities, trade dependence on China and Russia, a growing need for foreign direct investment (“FDI”) to develop infrastructure projects, and fuel and energy requirements.
Public sector debt has risen steadily in recent years and, as at June 30, 2012, amounted to U.S.$3.5 billion. According to the National Statistical Office of Mongolia, Mongolia has a relatively prudent government debt management system among its Asian peers, with its total government debt to GDP ratio at 38.3% as
at June 30, 2012. Public sector domestic debt is comprised of borrowings by the Government. The Bank of Mongolia is a major lender to the Government, holding approximately 33% of the total outstanding public sector bonds as at December 31, 2011. Other major lenders include domestic commercial banks.