Norway’s wealth fund may invest in emerging economies

Norway’s wealth fund may invest in emerging economies
Updated 29 January 2016

Norway’s wealth fund may invest in emerging economies

Norway’s wealth fund may invest in emerging economies

OSLO: Norway’s lawmakers are expected to grant the country’s $800 billion sovereign wealth fund a broader investment brief to better spread risk, the leader of the parliamentary finance committee said.
The central bank, which manages the fund, last month recommended it should be allowed to invest in unlisted infrastructure projects and put a higher share of its assets into real estate, changes representing the biggest shift in strategy since it was permitted to buy property in 2010.
The fund currently invests about 60 percent of its value in stocks, 35 percent in bonds and up to five percent in real estate, all outside Norway.
It can invest in companies involved in infrastructure projects, but it cannot take a direct stake in a project that is not listed on the stock exchange.
“My understanding is that there is broad agreement on the need for adjustments that contribute to increased diversification ...to improve the distribution of risk,” finance committee leader Hans Olav Syversen told Reuters.
“It’s my impression that all parties in parliament are open to making these changes.”
According to letters from the central bank published by the finance ministry in December, the fund should be allowed to invest up to 5 percent in unlisted infrastructure projects and raise its stake in property to a range of 5-15 percent.
The proposed changes are being reviewed by the ministry for inclusion in a white paper in April, after which they will be debated by parliament. There is a consensus among lawmakers welcoming the changes, though some adjustments are expected.
Separately, the government earlier this month appointed experts to evaluate how much of the fund should be invested in equities, reporting back in October with conclusions to be debated in parliament in spring 2017.
Syversen, who is the finance spokesman for the Christian Democrats, a centrist party that the minority coalition government relies on for support, is keen for additional investments in emerging economies.
“I feel it’s important to also open up for the possibility to increase investments in emerging markets. It could be through infrastructure, but also through private equity,” he said.
The other party the government relies on, the Liberals, favors a green push, which is already on the cards.
The fund’s CEO told Reuters in December it would invest in renewable energy were it allowed to invest in unlisted infrastructure projects.
“(We believe) it is reasonable the oil fund expands its investments universe by going into renewable infrastructure projects,” the Liberals’ representative on the finance committee, Terje Breivik, told Reuters.
He added: “I am not at all skeptical toward increasing the investments in property to 10 percent, but I feel it’s just as important to look at how much government bonds the fund should hold.”
Svein Flaatten, who represents the ruling Conservatives on the committee, said opening up to infrastructure and increasing real estate investments could hinge on the costs of doing so.
His party was open to making changes to the fund’s allocations, he said, with raising the percentage of shares and cutting back on the fixed income portfolio an option.
The finance ministry declined to say which proposals it would make in its upcoming white paper.


Saudi National Development Fund targets infrastructure projects

Saudi National Development Fund targets infrastructure projects
Updated 21 min 7 sec ago

Saudi National Development Fund targets infrastructure projects

Saudi National Development Fund targets infrastructure projects
  • The capital of the new fund could "reach several billion royals"

RIYADH: The Saudi National Development Fund is preparing to launch a new fund targeting infrastructure projects in the Kingdom.
The capital of the new fund could "reach several billion royals", Asharq Business reported, citing unidentified sources.
Muhammad bin Mazyad Al-Tuwaijri, deputy chairman of the National Development Fund said in February that the Kingdom had started to work  on the launch of an infrastructure fund.
Saudi Arabia launched an ambitious SR12 trillion ($3.2 trillion) program in March to boost the role of the private sector in diversifying the economy.
Under the 'Shareek program', private sector businesses will be helped to invest SR5 trillion between now and 2030, along with SR3 trillion from the country's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and SR4 trillion as part of a new national investment strategy.

 


Omani Octal said to weigh $800m majority stake sale

Omani Octal said to weigh $800m majority stake sale
Updated 27 min 35 sec ago

Omani Octal said to weigh $800m majority stake sale

Omani Octal said to weigh $800m majority stake sale
  • A sale could value Octal at about $800 million

RIYADH: Octal, an Omani plastics packaging manufacturer, is considering a majority stake sale, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the matter.
A sale could value Octal at about $800 million, one of the people said. The company is working with JPMorgan Chase & Co., the people said, asking not to be identified for information confidentiality.  
The Muscat-based company has already attracted strategic suitors in Asia and the US, they said.
Octal was founded in 2006 and produces plastic used to package food and consumer products. The company is present in Oman, Saudi Arabia and the US and ships its products to more than 75 countries, according to its website.
The potential sale would add to the $96 billion of deals targeting companies in the Middle East and Africa this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.


Egypt clothing exports hit by surging shipping costs

Egypt clothing exports hit by surging shipping costs
Updated 15 June 2021

Egypt clothing exports hit by surging shipping costs

Egypt clothing exports hit by surging shipping costs
  • Rising container costs are affecting both their imports of raw material as well as their export of finished garments according to Mohamed Kassem

RIYADH: Egyptian clothing manufacturers are being hammered by surging shipping costs.

Rising container costs are affecting both their imports of raw material as well as their export of finished garments according to Mohamed Kassem, a member of the Egyptian Exporters Association.

Fabrics from China account for most of the country’s clothing exports, he told Al Arabiya.
The cost of shipping a 40-feet container from Shanghai to an Egyptian port has rocketed to as much as $14,000 compared to $2,500 before the pandemic, he said.
That has led to increased competitive pressures for Egyptian textiles exporters from rivals in Asia.
He called on the state to intervene to help support the industry.


Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall

Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall
Updated 15 June 2021

Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall

Indian shares close at record highs as pandemic curbs ease, cases fall
  • Many Indian states eased coronavirus restrictions on Monday, including the national capital New Delhi, where authorities allowed shops and malls to open as the number of new cases dropped to the lowest in more than two months

BENGALURU: ndian shares ended at record highs on Tuesday, as declining COVID-19 infections prompted many states to re-open businesses, with a rally in broader markets also helping the sentiment.
The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.36 percent to 15,869.25 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.42 percent to 52,773.05 at close.
Many Indian states eased coronavirus restrictions on Monday, including the national capital New Delhi, where authorities allowed shops and malls to open as the number of new cases dropped to the lowest in more than two months.
India on Tuesday reported 60,471 new infections, the lowest since March 31.
The sentiment also tracked global stocks that hit a record high, as investors bet likely “transitory” inflation pressures will restrain the US Federal Reserve from signalling a shift in policy settings.
Many investors expect the Fed to maintain its dovish stance at its two-day meeting starting on Tuesday. Some board members, however, have said the central bank should start discussing tapering its bond buying.
In Mumbai trading, financial stocks provided a boost to the Nifty 50, with ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank ending 1.6 percent and 0.7 percent higher, respectively.
The Nifty Bank Index and the Nifty Private Bank Index, which have so far gained more than 0.55 percent this week, were among the top performers across sub-indexes rising between 0.85 percent and 1.07 percent.
Software services firm Infosys rose 0.8 percent, lifting the Nifty IT index by 0.23 percent.
Shares of Future Retail closed 10 percent higher, after staying at those levels since early trade.


Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills ready to open biggest water park in Jordan

Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills ready to open biggest water park in Jordan
Updated 15 June 2021

Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills ready to open biggest water park in Jordan

Abu Dhabi’s Eagle Hills ready to open biggest water park in Jordan
  • It will open on July 3
  • The park was developed by Abu Dhabi-headquartered Eagle Hills, one of the largest developers in Jordan

DUBAI: The Saraya Aqaba Waterpark – billed as the biggest in Jordan – is opening its doors on July 3.
Located in the country’s only coastal city, Aqaba, the park spans an area of more than 28,500 square meters. It has rides, slides, as well as food and beverage stalls.
“At Saraya Aqaba Waterpark, guests from all around the world are in for an aquatic adventure like no other with slides, rides and experiences suitable for guests of all ages,” Chris Van Der Merwe, its general manager said in a statement.
The park was developed by Abu Dhabi-headquartered Eagle Hills, one of the largest developers in Jordan, and is operated by Abu Dhabi-based Farah Experience, which also handles Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.
Theme parks and other physical attractions have taken a hit when the pandemic forced countries to restrict people’s mobility, however some are now welcoming guests again as attractions make a gradual return.