RIYADH: Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund is examining opportunities to invest in China’s retail, healthcare, tech and logistics sectors, according to a top official on Thursday.
Abdulla Al-Kuwari, head of the fund’s unit Qatar Investment Authority Advisory (Asia Pacific), said those opportunities could involve public and private companies.
Al-Kuwari was speaking during the Caixin Summit in Beijing.
Middle East investor activities in China have picked up as countries such as Saudi Arabia aim to cut oil dependence and boost new industries through partnerships with Chinese companies.
Buyers from the Gulf have announced 13 acquisitions of Chinese targets so far this year, compared to just one during the same period last year and more than any other year since at least 1980, according to data compiled by LSEG.
Chinese funds are also seeking new capital sources in the Middle East, as headwinds including diplomatic tensions drive many US investors out of the country. Several China equity funds, including hedge funds and mutual funds, have told Reuters they visited the Middle East this year to raise money.
Citing data from the Global SWF Data Platform, S&P Global recently revealed that assets of sovereign wealth funds in the region grew by 20 percent to hit $4 trillion in the last two years.
The assets under management held by sovereign funds in the Gulf Cooperation Council region are equivalent to 37 percent of the total assets of global sovereign wealth funds, the report added.
“We are also likely to see a recycling of GCC petrodollar inflows into MENA countries and other emerging markets that present interesting investment opportunities and need external funding or are vulnerable to current geopolitical, economic, and monetary shocks,” said S&P Global, according to a press statement.
The US-based agency further noted that GCC countries’ current account surplus is expected to hit 9 percent of the gross domestic product in 2023 and 6 percent of GDP in 2024.
This current account surplus will allow funds to flow into the sovereign wealth funds of these countries, which will in turn provide additional investment opportunities for them, both locally and internationally.
Backed by healthy economic and trade relations, wealth funds in the GCC region are currently striving to expand their global footprint by investing in various geographies and sectors, mainly in India, China and other Asian countries.
The report further pointed out that five of the world’s 10 largest investments on behalf of state-owned investors in 2022 were from GCC sovereign investors — 62 percent from the UAE, 28 percent from Saudi Arabia, and 10 percent from Qatar.
“GCC SWFs appear to have become go-to investors in difficult times. GCC state-owned investors have deployed around $83 billion of fresh capital during 2022,” said S&P Global.