It's boom time in Mongolia, which had a record $1.4 billion in foreign direct investment in 2010, thanks to its copper, gold, and coal -- and neighbor China's insatiable hunger for the commodities.
Ever heard of the tugrik? It's the official currency of Mongolia -- the land of Genghis Khan where, over the past few years, foreign investors have flocked to the sparsely populated country in search of riches.
It was also the world's best-performing tender in 2010.
Mongolia's vast mineral deposits, particularly copper, gold and coal, have helped drive unprecedented demand for the tugrik. The currency finished the year 15% higher against the U.S. dollar, outperforming the world's currencies and coming close only to the South African rand, which appreciated 14%, and the Australian dollar that rose by 13%.
"When I came to Mongolia seven years ago they had just discovered all these deposits -- the buzz was that Mongolia was literally sitting on a gold mine," says Christopher de Gruben, who in 2004 founded Make A Difference Corporate Services, a Mongolia-based firm that specializes in renovating dated Soviet Union-style homes and corporate relocation home searches. Like many investors, Gruben is hopeful, if not simply in awe, by the country's vast mining potential and "the boom about to happen." More
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