China is in decline and oil is missing from sovereign wealth fund investments – IE University – 09/28/2023

New business by sovereign wealth funds in China has fallen while oil has completely disappeared from funds’ investment radars over the past year, according to a study published Thursday.

This is the first time since the report was published in 2012 that its sovereign wealth funds, which have grown to $11.6 trillion in assets under management, have made no new investments in oil.

“This is a very remarkable step,” said study author Javier Capape, director of sovereign wealth fund research at the Center for Change Governance at Spain’s IE University.

Instead, the funds will go toward investments in renewable energy, including wind and solar power, energy storage and sustainable agriculture.

The report analyzed direct investments from 100 sovereign wealth funds between January 2022 and March 2023. A total of 425 transactions were recorded with a total value of just over $118 billion.

Geographical shifts were also noted, with China falling out of the top three in share of transactions and now trailing the United States, Britain and India. Their share fell to 6.1% compared to 10.5% in the previous year.

“This year, the fact that China is coming after the United States and India is very significant,” Mr. Capape said. He added that unpredictable policy measures – the report covers the period until the government reopened the country after years of COVID-19 restrictions – had held back business.

“We remain cautious whether this is a structural situation – more related to geopolitical concerns – or a one-off situation.

In general, international investors have been cautious about China and in recent months have reduced their exposure to the world’s second-largest economy, which is struggling to maintain economic momentum after emerging from long COVID lockdowns in the real estate sector.

Funds covered in the report range from Norway’s gigantic Government Pension Fund Global, which has $1.4 trillion in assets, to Guyana’s new Natural Resource Fund, which grew to $1.2 billion last year almost tripled. billion US dollars when the South American country began producing oil.

However, the six most active funds – Singapore’s Temasek and GIC, Dubai’s Mubadala, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Qatar Investment Authority and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund – participated in more than 80% of the transactions.

Only 39 of the 70 largest funds publish annual reports, making the report a rare source of information about their activities.

In general, Mr. Capape points out that transactions have evolved from predominantly technological transactions to a more balanced distribution between the technology, industrial, real estate, financial and healthcare sectors. (Reporting by Libby George; Writing by Alison Williams)

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