Breakingviews

Qatar’s debt bonanza stores up problems for future

May 27, 2016

Too much of a good thing could be bad for the Gulf state. It has just raised a whopping $9 billion in the bond market thanks to investors’ hunger for yield. Loading up on debt will help Qatar cope with lower energy prices, but just dodges its biggest problem: lavish spending.

Saudi Arabia’s post-oil reform vision looks blurry

April 25, 2016

Riyadh’s new plan to reform the economy, Vision 2030, entails creating a giant SWF and listing a stake in state oil firm Aramco. It will raise cash, but won’t solve the kingdom’s crude problem. To truly advance as an economy, Saudi needs greater economic and social openness.

Malaysia scrubs out half its sovereign fund stain

December 31, 2015

A $1.7 bln land deal with a Malaysian-Chinese group brings the financial cleanup of the world’s most troubled SWF nearer completion. The overhaul of 1MDB by boss Arul Kanda is impressive. He could now move to redeem a controversial $3 bln bond sold by Goldman Sachs.

Britain joins sovereign wealth party too late

November 26, 2015

Creating a 1 billion pound sovereign wealth fund to encourage shale gas drilling in the UK could fail on two fronts. It won’t sway opponents of fracking in the UK countryside, and a financial windfall is unlikely given a global gas glut and unattractive shale economics.

Is Hugo Chavez ahead of the investment curve?

August 17, 2011

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez plans to move billions of dollars of cash reserves from developed to developing countries, according to media reports.

Prestige and power fuel Qatar’s frantic shopping

April 3, 2012

The tiny Gulf state is racking up stakes in European big names. Since Qatar will generate around $50 bln of spare cash this year, this is likely to continue. There may be some apparent logic to the pick n’ mix of value and vanity investments. But it doesn’t look like a strategy.

Qatar plays merger-maker at Glencore-Xstrata

April 13, 2012

The Gulf state has been a successful arbitrageur in the past. Its 5 pct stake in Xstrata is under water following the recent equity market sell-off. But Qatar could provide extra leverage to help the miner extract a sweeter offer from suitor Glencore.

Temasek’s triple personality bodes well for returns

May 9, 2012

The Singaporean state investor is developing the trading eye of a hedge fund, a private equity taste for financial engineering, and the pay structure of an investment bank. That should improve its sub-par performance, though it won’t always sit well with Temasek’s political ties.

Sovereign funds still hungry for Western banks

July 19, 2012

Bad early-crisis bets haven’t put rich states off backing global lenders. Qatar and Norway have upped their exposure to Credit Suisse, while Singapore’s Temasek has joined the throng. The enthusiasm reflects a lack of attractive alternatives, as much as hopes for a recovery.

Barclays bet lives up to rich billing for Qatar

December 6, 2012

Qatar has earned a 19 pct IRR on its complex 3.4 billion punt on Barclays at the height of the crisis. That’s a decent return for the then huge risk. But an ongoing probe into fees related to the capital-raising marks an unanticipated, non-financial cost.