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Debt Ceiling and a Mega Deficit are Concern for Sovereigns

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Uncertainty is the breeding ground for greater risk and volatility; behemoth conservative investors adore certainty. Sovereign funds have the distinct advantage of being long-term investors; however, short-term risk is increasing as uncertainty looms around deficit and debt ceiling issues. The August 2nd debt ceiling deadline is creeping up. No official deal has been approved by all parties involved. The major rating agencies have continued to project concerns on U.S. sovereign ratings for certain scenarios. With regards to sovereign wealth funds, there is a tremendous issue of macroeconomic concern for their investment portfolios and holding companies.

At the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, we predict that there is a 50% chance of a downgrade in the remaining part of 2011 for the United States.

A high probability remains that the United States will not sufficiently address long term deficit issues. Raising taxes or trimming beloved entitlement programs in the midst of a period of high unemployment is politically dangerous. Thus the downgrade could fall into the AA category. There is a slight chance of a debt ceiling rupture. This could possibly lead to a technical default on U.S. treasuries or a default on other U.S. financial obligations. This would be a disastrous scenario that would impact all financial markets.

United States – Gross External Debt Position: March 31, 2011 – Currency Composition of Gross External Debt

Foreign Currency
Short-Term 215,905
Long-Term 956,310
Total 1,172,215
Domestic Currency
Short-Term 4,788,708
Long-Term 6,990,774
Total 11,779,482
Unknown 1,873,611
Gross External Debt 14,825,308

Source: U.S. Treasury – Millions of U.S. Dollars – 6/30/2011

With all this talk, a downgrade to AA for the United States will result in more of an embarrassment, than catastrophic depression. Sovereign funds and other large institutional investors will continue to buy U.S. treasures, but maybe not at the rate of the past five years. In addition, SWFs will perceive U.S. treasuries as no longer a riskless asset, if they haven’t already. The process of diversification from U.S. treasuries would accelerate dramatically whether in countries like Germany or Canada, or gold.

MAS Seeks to Commit $5 Billion to Private Equity and Infrastructure Managers

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From U.S. pension funds to asset-heavy sovereign wealth funds, Singapore is calculating that more institutional investor assets globally are being committed to the Asia region. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Singapore’s central bank, signaled and planned to commit US$ 5 billion with locally-based fund managers who will invest in private enterprises and infrastructure projects. The beneficiaries of the mandates will be private equity and infrastructure fund managers. MAS is seeking to lure top global asset managers to Singapore and firms that have a significant footprint in Singapore could be eligible for the funds. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Ivanhoe Cambridge Acquires Cap Ampere Campus from Natixis

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In one of the largest transactions in the French office sector, Ivanhoé Cambridge, real estate subsidiary of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), has acquired a 90,000 square meter office-building campus from Natixis, in the Greater Paris area of Saint-Denis Pleyel. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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GIC Supports CapitaLand Shanghai Investment on Haimen Road

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GIC Private Limited, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, has entered into a 50:50 joint venture with Raffles City China Investment Partners III (RCCIP III), a fund controlled by CapitaLand. The joint venture is acquiring Shanghai’s tallest twin towers for an aggregate consideration of RMB 12.8 billion (US$ 1.84 billion). The property is located in Shanghai’s core Central Business District.

Development Details

[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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