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Protectionism may harm fragile economies, say top SWFs

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According to Business 24-7, “Protectionist barriers aimed at capital-rich sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) could backfire on the fragile global economy, top executives of major state investment firms warned yesterday. The sovereign funds have the capital needed by affected economies to recover from the global crisis but governments may come under domestic pressure to impose protectionist measures, they said. Tony Tan, Deputy Chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC), said the biggest danger facing the world economy in coming years is protectionist sentiment, which may be stoked by high unemployment rates. Tan, speaking at a business forum on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit, said protectionism could spread from the trade arena to financial markets.

“This could manifest itself in the form of protectionist measures not only in world trade but also in financial markets and impede the free flow of funds,” he said.

“If nothing else, this could derail the global economic recovery which all of us are hoping for,” said the GIC deputy chairman.

Jin Liqun, from the China Investment Corporation (CIC), also cautioned against barring investments from government-owned funds. “The sovereign wealth funds will be playing a big role in rebalancing the process but we need co-operation from the recipient countries,” said Jin, CIC’s chairman of the board of supervisors.

“There’s nothing we can do if we are barred from doing our jobs in your countries or when hurdles are very high for us to overcome,” he said.

Jin said sovereign funds can play a major role in restructuring economies.

“Countries need a cushion in undertaking major economic restructuring and provisional funding is of course crucial,” he said, adding that the global recovery was not irreversible.

When the global crisis unfolded, SWFs emerged as a source of crucial capital, especially to Western financial firms and banks in dire need of fresh funding. Singapore’s GIC, which manages the city-state’s reserves of more than $100 billion (Dh367bn), was one of the rescuers of US-based Citigroup and Swiss banking giant UBS. Kuwait Investment Authority’s (KIA) Managing Director Bader Al Saad told the forum that SWFs have collectively pumped $90bn into financial institutions in the last few years.

“I think now we are in a new era of engagement,” said Al Saad.

“There is a unique opportunity for the sovereign wealth funds to represent themselves as investors in the world… They are a long-term investor,” he said.

Al Saad also said perceptions that SWFs were a source of destabilisation in financial markets and that investments were driven by political agendas could not be further from the truth.

“Most of their transactions are cash transactions so there is a real economy and it shows that they are responsible investors,” he said.

“They are a source of stability and last but not least, they are strategic investors… On top of that, they never make hostile takeovers.””

read more: Business 24-7

Egyptian Parliament Passes Draft Law on Misr Fund

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Egypt’s state news agency revealed the country is forming a sovereign wealth fund with initial capital of 5 billion Egyptian pounds, with 1 billion Egyptian pounds of that amount being immediately transferred from the Egyptian public treasury. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Capital Constellation Backs Middle Market PE Platform

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Capital Constellation is the investment platform owned by the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC), RPMI Railpen, and Wafra Inc. on behalf of the Public Institution for Social Security of Kuwait (PIFSS). [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Canadian Pension Giants Could Support Trans Mountain Pipeline Deal

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The British Columbian (B.C.) government and indigenous groups publicly oppose the Trans Mountain Pipeline project over a number of issues, which include environmental concerns (potential pipeline spills) and land protections. The threat of project derailment sent jitters to Houston-based Kinder Morgan, Inc., requiring the company to halt non-essential spending on Trans Mountain Pipeline L.P. Calgary-based Kinder Morgan Canada Limited, which owns the pipeline, is a listed company that is 70% owned by Kinder Morgan and 30% owned by stock market investors (float). Kinder Morgan Canada hired TD Securities to explore options regarding the future of the pipeline.

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

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