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Qatar, sovereign funds return after retreat

Singapore, May 18, 2010

Sovereign wealth funds picked up their pace of spending in the second half of 2009 after an extended period of retrenchment during the global financial crisis, a recent study said.   

The last two quarters of 2009 accounted for 85 percent of what the funds publicly invested during the year, the study said.

The largest spender last year was the Qatar Investment Authority, which invested more than $32 billion in 14 publicly reported transactions, according to the study.

The study was conducted by Monitor Group, a consultancy in Cambridge, Mass., and Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, a research institution based in Milan, Italy.

Asia Pacific was the most popular region for sovereign wealth fund (SWF) investments, with 32 deals, while Europe ranked second with 29 transactions. The Middle East and North Africa overtook North America in terms of investment volume, with 21 deals versus North America's 19, most of which took place in the final quarter of the year.

The most active funds, in terms of the number of deals, were the China Investment Corp (CIC) and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp, making 17 and 18 publicly reported investments, respectively.   

The data in the first and second quarters last year were the lowest since 2005 and 2003. Sovereign wealth fund deal volume fell 40 percent to 113 deals worth $68.8 billion last year.

The researchers also found that the funds invested less in financial services, from 49 deals worth $81.7 billion to 28 deals worth $10.2 billion. Sovereign funds were also more cautious in real estate acquisitions, dropping by more than half. Instead, investments flowed mainly to energy, natural resources and engineering- or technology-based sectors. - Reuters




Tags: Qatar | Sovereign funds | SWF | Financial crisis |

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