Asian Investors Increase Caution as Economies Falter

Asia’s leading investors are continuing to pull back on their riskier assets as global economic concerns worsen.

Sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors, with control of more than $1 trillion, have minimized investments in both stocks and bonds and begun boosting their cash resources.

According to Barry Bosworth of the Brooklyn Institution, the change “reflects a growing perception that the problems in Europe and the U.S. will not be resolved any time soon. The risks of a large negative event are too large.”

According to, BlackRock’s Terrence Keeley said “officials at sovereign-wealth funds are nervous about the outcome of the presidential election in November and its impact on future budget negotiations” as well. Other factors boosting investor concerns include the upcoming power change in China and stunted growth.

Ng Kok Song, Chief Investment Officer of GIC added: “Due to heightened uncertainty in global markets, we allowed the cash inflow from investment income and fund injection to accumulate during the year in preparation for better investment opportunities.”

Keeley explained that sovereign wealth funds are under the impression that “there will be a number of strategic opportunities that they would be best prepared to exploit with cash on hand.”

New Zealand Basks in Asian Investment

Prime Minister John Key revealed yesterday that New Zealand is becoming a major investment hub for Asian businesses and financiers, and the nation’s currency is expecting a boost. Some of the targets include government debt securities as well as farms and natural resources.

In fact, Shanghai Pengxin Group, a Chinese company, recently received permission to acquire sixteen dairy farms in New Zealand in one of the largest transactions ever sealed by the two countries.

When interviewed by the Wall Street Journal during a visit in Australia, Key said: “We are starting to see quite an increase in interest from Asia, particularly as they look at New Zealand and see the potential in the mining and exploration centers, we’ve seen significant interest there, and obviously in the agriculture sector where we have a pre-eminent position.”

Key added that it is the New Zealnd-based assets that so attract China at this time. Some dealings have caused minor tension in the region, however.

“They like the New Zealand story. They are a country that is significantly worried about food security. Not only do they want to buy food, but they are increasingly starting to buy products on the basis of health benefits.” Key continued, stating that “Where we see more sensitivity is around the purchase of real assets in New Zealand.”

China is currently New Zealand’s second-largest market, following close behind the neighboring Australia.