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Wednesday, April 14, 1999 Published at 15:05 GMT 16:05 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Poverty increasing in Mongolia

An official survey of living standards in Mongolia shows that more than one-third of the country is living in poverty. The survey set the poverty line at an income of less than eighteen dollars a month in the capital, Ulan Bator, and slightly lower in rural areas, where the cost of living is less. The new figures show that while poverty has increased in urban areas, it has decreased slightly in the countryside.

The head of the National Statistical Office, which conducted the survey, said the gap between rich and poor had grown.

Correspondents say that a poor harvest last year coupled with a sharp drop in the price of Mongolia's two main exports -- copper and cashmere -- mean that the situation is unlikely to improve soon.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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