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Sovereign Wealth Funds Briefing - Archive | February, 2009

Think tank urges New Zealand to create SWF

Posted on 23 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Long-term threats to New Zealand’s supply of credit to business have prompted suggestions of tapping the locked-up wealth of state-owned enterprises and the creation of a sovereign wealth fund.

They come from a business think tank, the New Zealand Institute, in two new reports of the effect of the global recession and credit squeeze on the economy, The papers, by the institute’s new research director, Benedickte Jensen, outline three options:…. Full Article: Source

Asia agrees on expanded $120 billion currency pool

Posted on 23 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Bloomberg: Japan, China, South Korea and 10 Southeast Asian nations agreed to form a $120 billion pool of foreign-exchange reserves that can be used by countries to defend their currencies amid the deepening global recession.

The amount is 50 percent more than the $80 billion proposed last May, and an expansion of the current arrangement called the Chiang Mai Initiative that allows only bilateral currency swaps. The nations’ finance ministers and government officials jointly announced the decision at a meeting in Phuket, Thailand, today….. Full Article: Source

Palin says Alaska Permanent Fund supports selling Sudan-related holdings

Posted on 23 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Officials with the Alaska Permanent Fund have reversed course and now favor selling off holdings from companies that do business in Sudan.

The board this week endorsed legislation from Gov. Sarah Palin calling for the stock sale. Lawmakers are considering two other bills also calling for divestiture because of the violence in Darfur….. Full Article: Source

IMF convenes second annual Roundtable of Sovereign Asset and Reserve Managers

Posted on 23 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From IMF: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) convened its second annual Roundtable of Sovereign Asset and Reserve Managers in Washington, DC on February 18-19, 2009.

The Roundtable–which is designed to facilitate the exchange of ideas and experiences in sovereign asset and reserve management–was attended by high-level delegates from central banks, ministries of finance and sovereign asset managers from 32 countries, representatives from select international institutions, as well as private sector representatives….. Full Article: Source

Higher public spending can peg back crisis

Posted on 23 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Latest available statistics suggest that the GCC states together have amassed some $1.5 trillion in the form of sovereign wealth funds (SWF).

The UAE stands out by virtue of accumulating an extraordinary $875 billion. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar follow in that order with $300 billion, $250 billion and $40 billion, respectively….. Full Article: Source

Arab cushion for ailing economy

Posted on 23 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Arab governments have been able to build up significant budget surpluses, some of which they reinvest into Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) which in turn make investments in a wide variety of assets, both at home and abroad.

With oil reserves set to run out in these nations, known as Gulf Cooperative Countries (GCC) this century, the governments are now taking overseas investments more seriously….. Full Article: Source

S.Korea expects $2.5 bln trade surplus in Feb

Posted on 23 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Reuters: South Korea said it expects a surplus trade balance of around $2.5 billion in February from a deficit of $3.36 billion in January, due to weaker imports.

Exports by Asia’s fourth-largest economy are set to drop by less than 20 percent in February over a year ago after posting a record 33.8 percent loss in January, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in a statement on Sunday….. Full Article: Source

President’s account of reserves use welcome

Posted on 23 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From President S R Nathan did well to give the media his account of events that have brought about the first draw on the nation’s past reserves. His explanation of the meticulous process of consultation and questioning was not so much a matter of clearing the air.

This would presuppose a conflict of opinion with the Government on the necessity of the move, when in fact the parties involved - the President, the Council of Presidential Advisers and the Government - were unanimous in concluding that the exceptional circumstances of a fast-slumping economy required exceptional action to avert catastrophe….. Full Article: Source

Rakia plans $2bln Georgia investment

Posted on 23 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From UAE-based RAK Investment Authority (Rakia) plans to invest about $2 billion in Georgia over the next five years despite the global downturn and Georgia’s war with Russia last year, the head of its local unit said.

A brief war between Georgia and Russia in August last year over the break-away region of South Ossetia scared off many potential investors from the country but Rakia, a sovereign wealth fund, says it plans to fully carry out all investment projects….. Full Article: Source

Temasek withdraw from ILFC bidding

Posted on 23 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Two firms have apparently dropped out of the bidding for aircraft leasing firm ILFC. Citing people familiar with the matter, Reuters reports that equity firm KKR and Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings have indicated they are no longer interested.

That leaves two main bidding groups - one led by the Carlyle Group, and the other comprised of private equity firms Greenbriar Equity Group LLC and Onex Corp. - left in the running….. Full Article: Source

China, taking advantage of global recession, goes on a buying spree

Posted on 23 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Squeezed between falling profits and the credit crunch, a growing number of troubled corporations and countries are turning to cash-rich China for a bailout. And with foreign assets cheaper than they have been for years, Beijing is going on an international spending spree.

“The international financial crisis … is equally a challenge and an opportunity,” China’s energy czar, Zhang Guobao, wrote recently in the official newspaper People’s Daily. “The slowdown … has reduced the price of international energy resources and assets and favors our search for overseas resources.”…. Full Article: Source

Give our SWFs some time to improve on their transparency

Posted on 23 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Singapore’s two Sovereign Wealth Funds - GIC and Temasek Holdings have drawn considerable flak over the past few days from both the foreign media and local bloggers on their reluctance to release more information about their investment strategies, directions and operations to the public.

Part of the anger swelling from the ground is understandable - the funds have lost about S$100 billion dollars of taxpayers’ monies in between them which is an awful sum given the current economic predicament we find ourselves in….. Full Article: Source

Alberta passes the buck on $1bln deficit

Posted on 23 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Alberta will post its first deficit in 15 years at the end of March, but the global financial crisis — not government bungling — is responsible, the province’s finance minister said yesterday.

“The dollar losses that Albertans are experiencing today have not come because of things individual ministers have done,” Iris Evans said. “They have come from forces that are well beyond the control of ministers of the Crown.”…. Full Article: Source

India: Forex reserves dip $1.84 bln

Posted on 23 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From India’s foreign exchange reserve dipped by $1.84 billion to $249.70 billion in the week ended February 13 mainly on account of the revaluation in the foreign currency assets.

According to the latest data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), foreign currency assets declined by $1.839 billion to $239.98 billion during the week….. Full Article: Source

Chinese sovereign fund turning to natural resources

Posted on 20 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From IHT: The $200 billion Chinese sovereign wealth fund is shifting its investment focus to natural resources, fixed income and real estate after having made losing bets on high-profile U.S. financial firms, people familiar with its strategy said.

China Investment Corp., headed by a former Vice Finance Minister Lou Jiwei, has drawn criticism at home over large paper losses on its combined $8.6 billion investments in the U.S. private equity giant Blackstone Group and the Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley…… Full Article: Source

RAK will invest $2bln in Georgia

Posted on 20 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (Rakia), a sovereign wealth fund, plans to invest about $2 billion (Dh7.34 billion) in Georgia over the next five years despite the global downturn and Georgia’s war with Russia in 2008, the head of its local unit said.

A brief war between Georgia and Russia in August of last year over the break-away region of South Ossetia scared off many potential investors from the country but Rakia, a sovereign wealth fund, says it plans to fully carry out all investment projects…… Full Article: Source

Alberta expects first deficit in 15 years

Posted on 20 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Reuters: Canada’s energy-rich province of Alberta is expected to report its first budget deficit in 15 years this fiscal year, racking up more than C$1 billion ($800 million) in red ink as the value of its savings fund sinks.

Provincial Finance Minister Iris Evans said the province will report a balanced operating budget, with revenues equalling expenses for 2008-09…… Full Article: Source

Alberta set to report $1bln deficit

Posted on 20 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From After racking up fat budget surpluses for 15 straight years, the Alberta government is poised to announce its first annual budget deficit since 1993, one year after former premier Ralph Klein began his 14-year reign.

In an exclusive interview Wednesday with the Edmonton Journal, Alberta Finance Minister Iris Evans said the province is currently on track to report a 2008-09 budget deficit of more than $1 billion…… Full Article: Source

Taqa invests in Caribbean

Posted on 20 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) has agreed to buy a 50 per cent stake in Marubeni Corporation’s Caribbean power portfolio, Taqa said yesterday.

Taqa is 75 per cent owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi, and is one the vehicles used by the emirate to invest oil export revenues…… Full Article: Source

AMD shareholders approve spinoff

Posted on 20 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Advanced Micro Devices Inc. shareholders on Wednesday approved a major cash infusion from an Abu Dhabi investment company that will help fund the $4.6 billion computer chip fab planned for Malta, N.Y.

It was the second attempt by Sunnyvale-based AMD (NYSE:AMD) in eight days to secure a quorum of shareholders for the $8 billion investment…… Full Article: Source

Quippo seeks FIPB nod to sell 16% to Oman fund

Posted on 20 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Quippo Telecom Infrastructure (QTIL) has applied to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for approval to sell 16 per cent stake in the company to Oman Investment Fund (OIF), the sovereign wealth fund of the Sultanate of Oman, for around $100 million.
The proposal is expected to come up for consideration at the FIPB meeting to be held on February 20, 2009. ….. Full Article: Source

Does Temasek still have “great confidence” in ex-Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain ?

Posted on 20 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From At the peak of the global financial turmoil last year when banks are shunned by most savvy investors, Temasek shocked many in the finance industry by increasing its stakes in troubled U.S. bank Merrill Lynch.

According to Bloomberg: “Temasek Holdings Pte, Singapore’s $130 billion sovereign wealth fund, said it has “great confidence” in Merrill Lynch & Co. Chief Executive Officer John Thain” Merrill has a “great franchise which has existed through many crises through a long period of time,” Michael Dee, Temasek’s senior managing director of international, said in a Bloomberg Television interview yesterday. ….. Full Article: Source

Temasek’s ride with Osim

Posted on 20 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Todayinsingapore: Buried in the back pages of the local paper was the story that mainboard listed Osim International has suffered its first annual loss since listing in 2000, no thanks to its write-off of a multi-million dollar investment in Brookstone, a loss making retail chain in the United States.

Osim yesterday posted a net loss of $98 million for the year ended December, versus the previous year’s net profit of $3.7 million…… Full Article: Source

U.A.E. preparing plan to help banks, Dubai world says

Posted on 20 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Bloomberg: The United Arab Emirates is preparing a plan to help banks resume lending as the “unprecedented” credit crisis ends a five-year real-estate boom in the Gulf nation, the chairman of state-owned Dubai World said.

“If we want the banks to lend again to real estate, then obviously governments will have to put a plan,” Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, who also sits on a committee studying the effects of the global credit crisis on Dubai’s economy, said in a Feb. 17 interview in his office. ….. Full Article: Source

Russia’s forex reserves touch $386.6 billion

Posted on 20 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From World’s third largest foreign reserves holder, Russia on Thursday said its international reserves increased last week as the central bank purchased foreign currency in a bid to temper the ruble’s gains.

In a statement issued here, Russia’s central bank, Bank Rossii said its stockpile added $3.1 billion to $386.6 billion, after falling $4.6 billion in the week to Feb. 6…… Full Article: Source

Buying now, China eyeing the long play

Posted on 20 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From China, which triggered the biggest commodity price spike in a generation, is now making deals that could prevent another surge in the coming decade by helping finance new production during the low ebb of the cycle.

While the deepening global recession has focused traders on trying to pick a bottom to the current price collapse, more far-sighted analysts have already begun ringing alarm bells over the canceled investments and delayed projects that threaten to leave the world short of raw materials once growth resumes…… Full Article: Source

Air Astana reports growth

Posted on 20 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

Sovereign Wealth Fund SamrukKazyna controlled Air Astana, the flag carrier of the Republic of Kazakhstan in which, continued to achieve growth in 2008, with available seat kilometers up by 16% to 7.5 billion compared to 2007. Passengers carried increased by 8% to 2.3 million. Almost 28,000 scheduled passenger flights were undertaken, with an average load factor of 64%.

The Air Astana fleet grew to 21 aircraft during the year following the delivery of three additional Airbus A320 family aircraft. The airline confirmed orders for six A320 family aircraft, with the fleet on track to grow to 34 aircraft in 2014 and 63 by 2022…… Full Press Release: Source

Japan to give tax break to sovereign wealth funds

Posted on 19 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Reuters: The Japanese government will waive the tax on the interest accrued on sovereign wealth funds’ holdings in the country. Overseas investors generally face a 15 percent tax on interest income.

Investors from countries with which Japan has bilateral tax accords are imposed a lower tax of 5 to 10 percent….. Full Article: Source

Libya’s income from sovereign fund $2.3 billion

Posted on 19 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Reuters: Libya’s sovereign wealth fund investments abroad total $50.58 billion and have returned profits of $2.37 billion since the scheme started in 2006, an official report showed on Wednesday.

More than 78 percent of the money, or $39.81 billion, was invested in short-term financial instruments abroad, added the summary of the report published by Libyan newspaper Oea, which is close to Saif al Islam, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s most influential son….. Full Article: Source

Chinese deals test Australia’s rules

Posted on 19 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From FT: The head of China Investment Corp, the country’s $200bn sovereign wealth fund, flew to Australia to meet its federal treasurer shortly before Rio Tinto announced plans for a $19.5bn cash injection from Chinalco, the state-owned metals group.

Lou Jiwei, CIC chairman, also held talks with Colin Barnett, premier of the resource-rich state of Western Australia, and with Fortescue Metals, Australia’s third-largest iron ore producer. …. Full Article: Source

Legislators request Permanent Fund board to stop investing in companies implicated in Darfur genocide

Posted on 19 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Today 4 Democrats renewed a call on the Permanent Fund Corporation to cooperate in efforts to stop investing state funds in companies implicated in the 5 year long Darfur genocide. The Corporation is meeting today and tomorrow, and will reconsider its position opposing these efforts.

“Last year we tried hard, but failed, to get the Permanent Fund Corporation to offer proactive input, and help in crafting bill language they found workable. There’s a welcome openness at the Corporation this year to reconsider their position, and we are encouraged,” said Rep. Les Gara, who is co-sponsoring legislation to require divestment with Democrats Reps….. Full Article: Source

New memoir describes history of Alaska Permanent Fund and life of first executive director Dave Rose

Posted on 19 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Dave Rose helped make the Alaska Permanent Fund what it is today, and even after his death, his words are shaping discussion of what the fund of the future will look like.

The first executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund, Rose’s life and the life of the Fund are two parts of the same book, “Saving for the Future: My Life and the Alaska Permanent Fund,” by Rose as told to Charles Wohlforth. …. Full Article: Source

Investing permanent fund in in-state energy

Posted on 19 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From While talk about the permanent fund at the capitol has mostly focused on if PFD checks will materialize this year, in the light of the energy crisis the House Speaker Mike Chenault, R- Nikiski, wants to invest some of the fund into energy projects.

Chenalt’s House Bill 44 would basically send the Permanent Fund Corporation the message it is OK to invest in in-state energy projects, like an in-state gas line, more commonly called a bullet line. …. Full Article: Source

Fortescue Metals says has held talks

Posted on 19 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Reuters: Australian iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group has held talks with a range of parties seeking to explore investment opportunities, it said in a statement on Thursday.

On Wednesday the company said it had held talks with Anglo American Plc and China’s sovereign wealth fund about possible investment opportunities, after receiving a query about a move in its share price from the Australian stock exchange….. Full Article: Source

Greens see red in Rio Tinto-Chinalco deal

Posted on 19 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Australian Greens, the political party dedicated to conservation and responsible environmental management and caring for the planet, has vehemently opposed the Rio Tinto-Chinalco $19-5 billion deal because of China’s poor human rights records.

Bob BrownGreens leader Bob Brown said that the proposed Chinalco’s purchase and control over major Australian resources raises major political questions….. Full Article: Source

Dubai faces first big test with Borse funding

Posted on 19 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Reuters: Dubai faces its first critical test of the economic crisis as one of its most high profile companies, Borse Dubai, struggles to secure enough market funding to avoid defaulting on about $3.4 billion in debt.

Experts say the exercise will clarify whether Dubai, the financial and tourism center for the Gulf, can muscle its way out of the crisis alone, or whether the federal government dominated by Dubai’s wealthy neighbor Abu Dhabi will provide a safety net….. Full Article: Source

Approval likely for computer chip deal

Posted on 19 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Shareholders of the US computer chip maker, AMD, will vote today on a multibillion-dollar joint venture with Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development.

Analysts and AMD management expect the deal to be approved. At a vote last week, 97 per cent of participating shareholders were in favour of the agreement, but just 42 per cent of all shareholders took part in the vote, making it invalid….. Full Article: Source

NBS foreign reserves at EUR 8bln

Posted on 19 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From The National Bank’s (NBS) foreign currency reserves fell by EUR 166.8mn in January, ending the month on EUR 7.99bn, the NBS has announced.

According to a statement, that figure includes money from the sale of the Serbian Oil Industry (NIS)….. Full Article: Source

Sri Lanka’s reserves up ’substantially’-cenbank

Posted on 19 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Reuters: Sri Lanka’s sharply fallen foreign currency reserves have increased substantially after the central bank’s recent efforts to boost the reserves, the bank’s governor said on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka’s gross official foreign currency reserves had fallen to $2.03 billion, sufficient to fund just over seven weeks of imports, at the end of November, according to the central bank’s latest figures….. Full Article: Source

China SWF seeks partner for AIG’s ILFC

Posted on 18 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Reuters: China Investment Corp (CIC), a $200 billion sovereign wealth fund, is in talks with local banks to jointly bid for American International Group Inc’s $8 billion aircraft leasing unit, sources with knowledge of the situation said on Tuesday.

In the last couple of months, CIC has approached at least two of China’s biggest lenders — Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Bank of China - to discuss the possibility of jointly bidding for International Lease Finance Corp (ILFC), the sources said….. Full Article: Source

Will SWFs pour yet more money into the West?

Posted on 18 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) are losing money hand over fist, which should leave one wondering whether their appetite for Western assets will continue to bolster those markets.

Funds in Asia and the Middle East have been hit by a double-whammy of losses on existing foreign asset portfolios and weak domestic markets due to the fall in oil prices in the Mideast and an absence of de-coupling in Asia….. Full Article: Source

China considers leveraging its forex reserve to acquire overseas oil/gas assets

Posted on 18 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From The Chinese government is considering allocating a part of its foreign exchange reserve to set up a special fund to support the overseas resource acquisition of Chinese petroleum companies.
It may also launch other policies to support loan interest discounts and higher fund injection ratios from the government….. Full Article: Source

Singapore’s GIC loses $33 bln as assets tumble

Posted on 18 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Bloomberg: Government of Singapore Investment Corp., one of two sovereign wealth funds owned by the island, lost as much as S$50 billion ($33 billion) in 2008, the Wall Street Journal said, citing two people familiar with the matter.

The fund doesn’t plan to get rid of its investments including in Citigroup Inc. and UBS AG even as asset values plummet, the newspaper said. GIC expects the two banks to provide substantial long-term returns, according to the report….. Full Article: Source

SWFs eye debt investments as ‘cheap’ way in

Posted on 18 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From The world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, some of which have been hit with a plunge in the values of their equity stakes in recent months, are increasingly considering other means of investing efficiently, according to a new survey.…. Full Article: Source

Fund managers seek more transparency with state’s money

Posted on 18 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Investment managers for the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. and the Alaska Retirement Management Board say they’re shifting their policies to require openness, and taking advantage of the downturn in markets to do so.

The Bernie Madoff scandal, one of the nation’s largest Ponzi schemes where $50 billion in hedge funds was lost, brought new attention to the issue of secret investments….. Full Article: Source

Bank Danamon said to seek $336 mln from investors

Posted on 18 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Bloomberg: PT Bank Danamon Indonesia, backed by Temasek Holdings Pte and Deutsche Bank AG, plans to raise about 4 trillion rupiah ($336 million) from existing shareholders to replenish capital, two people familiar with the matter said.

The fifth-biggest Indonesian bank may announce details on the rights offer this week, the two people said, asking not to be identified because they aren’t permitted to discuss the matter publicly. Danamon may sell the shares at a discount of at least 45 percent to the last closing price before the announcement, they said….. Full Article: Source

EU approves Mubadala, Rolls-Royce joint venture

Posted on 18 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Reuters: The European Commission approved on Tuesday a new joint venture by United Arab Emirates investment fund Mubadala Development and British aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce PLC.

The Commission, competition watchdog of the 27-nation European Union, said in a statement that the venture to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul services for aircraft engines, would not raise competition concerns….. Full Article: Source

Ant Global Partners to raise $250m cleantech fund

Posted on 18 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Singapore-based private equity firm Ant Global Partners is to raise a $250m cleantech fund over the next three years for Indonesian water treatment and renewable projects. Indonesia’s sovereign wealth fund, Government Investment Unit, are to commit 10 per cent of the fund, according to the report.

Ant Global Partners is the international investment arm of Japanese private equity investment company Ant Capital Partners….. Full Article: Source

SWFs on the global stage

Posted on 18 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Sovereign wealth funds entered the limelight when they stepped in to save the banking system last year. This article explores some of the issues surrounding these funds, in terms of accountability and control, and the new international regulations.…… Full Article: Source

China buys Australia on the cheap

Posted on 18 February 2009 by VRS  |  Email |Print

From Time: Today, almost alone in the world, China’s state-owned companies are still cash flush. Crucially, though, they have learned a basic — and expensive — lesson about investing abroad.

As a result, the ‘Go Out’ strategy has been tweaked. It might now be better called the ‘Buy Low’ campaign, and in one of the markets that Beijing has long had in its strategic sights — Australia’s vast metals and minerals industry — it is now unfolding….. Full Article: Source

February 2009
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