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CIC and Noble Enter into Investment and Cooperation Agreement

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Press Release states, “The Noble Group (SGX: NOBL) is pleased to announce today an agreement to place 573,000,000 number of shares, for a total consideration of approximately USD 850,000,000 to China Investment Corporation (“CIC”) at a price of SGD2.1137 per share. The placement comprised of 438,000,000 newly issued shares by the Company and 135,000,000 shares from trusts associated with the interests of Noble founder and CEO Richard Elman. The placement is subject to approval of the respective boards of directors of Noble Group and CIC and final legal documentation.

The placement was the result of extensive discussions between the two parties and underscores the expertise the Noble Group has developed in supply chain management and the distribution of commodities, particularly agricultural products. Noble’s diverse agricultural activities include farm production in Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil which is linked to an internal logistic and storage capability. Access to export markets is further supported by 5 owned port facilities throughout South America. Noble’s other agricultural assets include crushing plants and sugar refineries.

The newly issued shares will provide the Noble Group with additional capital to pursue strategic investments in key agricultural markets globally.

The shares sold by interests associated with Mr. Elman represent a small fraction of his holdings in the Noble Group and are only the second such sale by Mr. Elman since he founded the Group. It is the intention of Mr. Elman to use some of the proceeds associated with the sale of his interests in Noble to fund a charitable foundation with a focus on fostering international relations amongst Asian nations. The sale by Mr. Elman in no way reduces Mr. Elman’s commitment to Noble Group, the company which he founded and continues to be involved in day to day management.

CIC and Noble have agreed to enter into this partnership for the purpose of jointly investing in infrastructure assets and supply chain management related to agricultural commodities. It is the intention of both companies to bring to bear their respective strengths to achieve results which are satisfactory to their respective shareholders and bring benefits to consumers of agricultural products worldwide.

Mr. Elman commented “We are all extremely pleased with the investment by CIC in Noble and heartened that they, like us, evaluate the evolution and success of a company over decades as opposed to merely fiscal quarters. We think the opportunities to work together over the coming decades will be tremendous and we look forward to working together.”

Merrill Lynch (Singapore) Pte. Limited acted as the sole placement agent for Noble Group. J.P. Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Limited acted as financial advisor to CIC.”

read more: Press Release: The Noble Group

Maiden Lane I Ends, Federal Reserve Aims to Shrink Balance Sheet

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The U.S. Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has been set to decline automatically since 2017, as the central bank has been liquidating funds from its US$ 4 trillion in Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities. As holdings matured, the Fed refrained from reinvesting them. This amounts to US$ 40 billion in monetary tightening monthly. Meanwhile, interest rates have slowly, and continuously, risen. The maturation of these Fed assets could exert upward pressure on long-term yields.

Mortgage rates, applications, and home sales have been falling, likely due to the rising rates. While rates are still historically low, U.S. President Trump has criticized the rate hikes. However, the Fed has no interest in changing course, and rates are set to continue to rise. According to Fed meeting minutes, “The Chairman suggested that the Committee would likely resume a discussion of operating frameworks in the fall.”

The size and content of the Fed balance sheet going forward will be a point of discussion for Chairman Jerome Powell. While there is no end in sight for the Fed’s plans to tighten economic policy, changing conditions may warrant further examination. With the U.S. stock market thriving, there is no indication that tightening has had a material impact on the economy. However, conventional wisdom asserts that the Fed will raise rates “until something breaks.” Market commentators have also suggested that, in the event of an emergency, the Fed will have a harder time stepping in due to the size of its balance sheet. A large part of the Fed’s monetary strategy is based around communications, and Fed-watchers have made a habit of hanging on every word. The Fed announced a shrinking balance sheet well in advance, and made gradual moves in that direction. The process has been smooth thus far. The Fed’s tightening will reach its peak, US$ 50 billion, in October. It is unclear exactly how much stimulus is still needed in the economy to reach the Fed’s 2% inflation target. The Fed’s easing policies have been criticized for the lopsided benefits they provided, more for Wall Street than Main Street. However, the easing will reduce their role in the market.

The End of Maiden Lane I

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QIA Gets a New CEO

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Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al-Thani exited as CEO of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). He has been appointed as minister of state by Amiri Order No. (4) of 2018.

Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud is appointed as the new CEO of QIA. He held positions in various organizations such as CEO of Qatar Development Bank and worked at Qatar Museums.

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SWFI First Read, September 19, 2018

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QIA Eyes Investment in Chinese Lender Lufax

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is in talks about a possible investment into Shanghai-based Lufax, one of China’s largest online lenders. The seller of the possible stake is China’s Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. Ltd. Lufax’s official name is Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange Co. Ltd.

Wealth Funds Back Hotpot Giant

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