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Is Russia Leading the Trillion Dollar Race for Arctic Dominance?

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Offshore Arctic oil could account for 15% to 25% of Russia’s oil production by 2050. Russia has revived a plan to build a seaport in the frozen Nenets area of northwest Russia. The ‘Siberian Arctic’ is one of the coldest climates on Earth, with winter temperatures typically close to a dismal minus 20 degrees Celsius, if not colder. It is home to the Yamal-Nenets people, who live a sustenance lifestyle that revolves around reindeer.

The Russian government has plans to open shipping in the Arctic, and this project is said to be included among Moscow’s priority investment projects in infrastructure and transportation. A small settlement named Indiga will host the port. Despite the frigid winters, Indiga’s river does not usually freeze, and it will serve as a critical waterway. State funding will account for most of the capital costs, and private investors will be sought out to supply the rest. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

Qatar Steps Up for Lebanon, Plans $500 Million Bond Purchase

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Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani appeared at an Arab economic summit and it was revealed that Qatar plans to purchase US$ 500 million of Lebanese government bonds. Earlier, there was speculation Qatar was going to deposit US$ 1 billion in Banque du Liban (Bank of Lebanon), which was never confirmed by the bank.

Lebanese officials in January revealed the possibility of a debt restructuring. The International Monetary Fund calculated that public debt in Lebanon is at over 160% of gross domestic product this year and could raise to around 180% by 2023.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Turkey Wealth Fund Could Provide Support to Credit Card Debt Market

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Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkey, has a new reform to jump start the consumer debt-laden economy, and it involves Turkey’s sovereign wealth fund. His strategy is to offer money to those facing overwhelming credit card debt. Ziraat Bank (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Ziraat Bankası) will allow borrowers to apply for debt rescheduling and secure lower interest rates. Erdogan announced that “Any retail client from any bank can apply.” Credit card debt is a monstrous problem in the country. Consumer credit has exploded due to low rates, government assistance, and easy credit availability. Last summer, non-housing debt reached US$ 97 billion. Half of this is credit card debt. Over US$ 30 million is non-performing. The debt was accumulated in foreign currencies, because they used to provide the lowest interest rates. Unfortunately, as the Turkish lira’s exchange rate cratered, much of the debt became impossible to service. The lira is among the world’s weakest currencies. Erdogan expects a smooth transition, “They will pay off their debt with a loan from Ziraat, and will pay it back according to the level of their monthly earnings.” Ziraat Bank is managed by Turkey’s sovereign wealth fund, which is chaired by President Erdoğan.

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

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KIC Sells City of London Office to South African Investor

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Investec Structured Property Finance, part of Investec, provided a £107 million loan to a South African investor being represented by London-based Pembrey Asset Management Ltd to acquire an office in London at One Bartholomew Lane. The Korea Investment Corporation (KIC) is the ultimate owner of the office and is selling it through Hines UK, part of Hines. BNP Paribas Real Estate acted on behalf of Pembrey Asset Management and CBRE acted on behalf of Hines.

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