The crash in global oil prices is affecting the world
in a number of ways. One consequence has been a shift in
the balance of power toward East Asian economies, which, as
major oil importers, benefit from lower prices. As well as
enabling governments to save money that they can spend
elsewhere — on growth-boosting infrastructure
projects, for instance — lower gasoline prices will
mean higher corporate earnings and greater household spending
power in many countries across the region.
Sovereign wealth funds certainly seem bullish on Asia at the
moment. News emerged this week of
China Investment Corp.’s $1.2 billion purchase
of a Tokyo office and leisure complex alongside LaSalle
Investment Management, a subsidiary of Chicago-based investment
firm Jones Lang LaSalle. That was just the latest in a series
of huge sovereign wealth fund
investments in Japanese real estate.
China is also seeing interest from sovereign wealth funds,
concerns persist over an economic slowdown and problems in
the country’s shadow banking sector. On February
13, Chinese regulators awarded
Singapore’s GIC a renminbi qualified foreign
institutional investor licence, which will enable the fund to
tap offshore pools of RMB-denominated capital to invest in
mainland equities and bonds.
upped its stake in two Chinese companies this week: Chinese
datacenter firm 21Vianet Group and Shanghai-based real
estate group E-House Holdings.
Temasek’s U.S. Tech Bets
GIC’s peer Temasek, meanwhile, has been upping
its stakes in the U.S.
health care and
technology sectors — and making big money in the
process. Temasek picked up 8 million more shares in the $150
billion biotechnology giant Gilead Sciences in the fourth
according to its latest filing with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission. The Singaporean investor first bought
stock in the Foster City, California-based company in the last
quarter of 2013, when the company had a market capitalization
of approximately $75 billion; as of end-December 2014,
Temasek’s stake in the firm was valued a whopping
Temasek’s next bet: New Jersey-based e-commerce
start-up Jet.com, a putative rival to Internet giant
Amazon.com. The Singaporean investor participated in a
$140 million financing round for the company, which is set
to launch its membership-based online retail platform next
Canary Wharf Takeover
Qatar Investment Authority and Canadian real estate
investor Brookfield Property Partners’
drawn-out takeover of Canary Wharf moved closer to
completion. On February 10,
CIC became the first major investor in Songbird Estates,
the London-based firm that owns the financial district, to sell
its shares after
accepting the takeover offer from QIA and Brookfield. On
February 13, several
Brookfield directors assumed places on Songbird’s
board as eight former directors stepped down.
In other sovereign wealth fund news, Norges Bank Investment
Management, the arm of the central bank that manages
Norway’s giant fund, bought more prime U.S.
real estate this week,
acquiring a 45 percent stake in the 11 Times Square office
tower in New York for $409.1 million. A small step toward its
goal of investing 1 percent of its $860 billion of assets in
real estate this year.
As Sovereign Wealth Center forecast on Insider,
Korea Investment Corp. (KIC) has continued its drive to
double its exposure to so-called alternative assets such as
hedge funds, infrastructure, private equity and real estate, by
investing in a new global infrastructure fund managed by
Brisbane, Australia based QIC (formerly the Queensland
Investment Corp.). .
State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ)
published its latest performance figures, which revealed that
the fund grew 3.4 percent over the 12 months to January 1,
2015, bringing its overall assets to $37.1 billion.