At least 24,000 head of livestock have starved or frozen to death in Mongolia following weeks of severe cold and heavy snow, according to the Xinhua news agency. Temperatures in some parts of the country have fallen to minus 50°C. Drought and snowstorms since 2000 have reduced the total number of livestock in the country by 9.81 million.

Mongolia’s National Statistical Office reports that Mongolia exported 347,300 pieces of sheepskin worth US$2.52 million in 2002, compared with 854,000 pieces worth US$6.19 million the previous year. Cattle hide exports in 2002 totalled only 56,000 pieces, worth US$546,000 against 370,500 pieces, worth US$5.23 million, in 2001.

Mongolia produced leather and leather products worth Tg371 million (US$1=Tg1,120) in 2002, compared with Tg708 million the previous year.