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Sovereign wealth fund may get $200b cash injection

By Karen Yip and Mao Lijun (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-12-22 08:00
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Sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp (CIC) may get a $200 billion capital injection by the first quarter of next year, after approvals from the relevant authorities, according to sources familiar with the fund.

It would also be the second time that the fund is getting additional funds after it got the same amount when it was set up in 2007.

According to the sources, a team of financial experts from the Ministry of Finance, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange and the People's Bank of China are working out the modalities for the capital injection.

Industry sources had been talking about CIC getting more funds for some time now. The rumors gained ground after CIC started to pump money into foreign fund accounts in April this year. The fund undertook the exercise following an agreement reached in 2008, whereby it planned to allow 16 foreign funds to manage its offshore investments.

Natural resources, technology and consumer-centric sectors are the ones that can gain the most from CIC's participation, said sources.

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"There's a strong belief that China would continue to increase its investment in these sectors. The main challenge for CIC is how to invest at a right price in an uncertain market," said Michael McCormack, executive director at Z-Ben Advisors in Shanghai.

"Certainly the main question would be: How can CIC trust these markets?" he said.

CIC currently has about $50-$60 billion of unused funds, according to sources. China's foreign exchange reserves rose by $326 billion to $2,273 billion in the nine months to the end of September this year.

The big question in financial circles is the time frame for CIC to complete its second round of offshore investments after it gets the additional funds.

"Clearly, the timing is crucial. It's still not sure which way the capital markets are heading. The US recovery is really a government intervention and in such a situation the future trends are not clear," said sources.