Saturday, June 27, 2009

"Yes we Khan"

The other day, when the local Barnes & Noble was sold out of Rolling Stone, it happened to have Monocle as its new, featured title. I'd been curious to see an issue of Monocle since reading its editor Tyler Brûlé's semi-ridiculous Saturday columns in the Financial Times, which generally focus more on the minutia of his globetrotting than on why he's traveling in the first place.

For example, one column described his early-morning routine at a Hyatt in Seoul: ordering a Mandarin orange juice and a cappuccino from room service, before running for an hour on a treadmill, then scrubbing himself with a brush while sitting on a chair in the hotel's fancy shower/sauna, etc. Another column detailed how he ordered a lackey to fly from London to some town in Switzerland to pick up the wallet Brûlé left there, and hop on a train to Paris to get Brûlé his wallet before his scheduled flight to Tokyo.

In any case, Monocle, as it turns out, is chock full of content (an inch thick) and an interesting read. In one feature, an analyst from Jane's Defense Weekly was asked what aircraft he'd buy if he had $15 billion and were tasked with building an air force from scratch for a mid-sized G-20 country. Another article reported on the nascent commodity- and energy-driven boom in Mongolia, "Yes we Khan". The online version of the article is restricted to subscribers, unfortunately, but it offered some color on the situation in Mongolia. There seem to be a lot of opportunities for natural resources companies there, given the amount of resources in Mongolia and its proximity to China, but how much of that money will filter down to ordinary Mongolians is a question the article raises.

The article also reminded me of the joint venture Alloy Steel International (OTC BB: AYSI.OB) was negotiating with Mongolian conglomerate Geomandel last year. Last I heard about this from Alloy Steel's CEO (this was last October, well before he took the "Run Silent, Run Deep" tack toward shareholder communications), he said,

We have shelved Mongolia for at least 6 Months till this madness subsides.

Maybe when the company releases its next quarterly filing in August it will provide an update on this.

The photo above, of the outskirts of Ulan Bator, accompanied the Monocle article and was credited to Andrew Rowat.

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