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Mon 10 Oct 2011 05:06 PM

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Kuwait open to investment deals in Europe

Kuwaiti wealth funds can endure large market movements caused by euro crisis, minister says

Kuwait open to investment deals in Europe
OPEC exporter Kuwait is one of the worlds richest countries

Kuwait is open to any investment opportunities in Europe if they are compatible with risk controls, the OPEC member's finance minister Mustapha Al Shamali was quoted as saying by the state news agency KUNA on Monday.

Kuwait, the world's No. 6 crude exporter is one of the richest countries globally with its sovereign wealth fund, Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), managing assets in excess of $290bn. It owns stakes in Citigroup , Daimler AG and Agricultural Bank of China among other companies.

Asked whether Kuwait would consider buying euro zone government bonds, including Italian bonds, Shamali told KUNA in Beijing: "We are open to any investment opportunities in all parts of Europe, as long as these investments are compatible with risk controls and they fall within our investment criteria."

Italy will test investor nerves with bond issues later this week after its credit rating was downgraded last week by Moody's and Fitch.

The markets have been speculating that cash-rich Gulf oil exporters such as Qatar might inject money into European banks exposed to cash-strapped governments such as Greece.

Saudi finance minister said last month the euro zone debt crisis was a cause for concern but it might also be an opportunity for investors.

In August, Qatar bought about 17 percent of the lender that will be created by a merger of Greece's Alpha Bank and Eurobank, injecting 500 million euros into the new entity.

Shamali said on Monday that KIA's long-term investment strategy meant it could withstand large market fluctuations caused by the euro zone debt crisis.

"As a long-term international investor, the authority seeks to invest in growing economies across the world, including advanced economies," Shamali said.

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Mohammed 8 years ago

Typical investment strategy by this government. Invest abroad, not in their own country, which certainly does not look like an oil-rich nation today. From an airport that was apparently constructed in the 70's that can no longer cope with passenger levels, to a decaying infrastructure, Kuwait should take care of it's own backyard first before they go into someone elses. At least it would boost some national pride in a country where currently every government ministry is striking over salary levels and dissatisfaction with their working conditions.

procan 8 years ago

Was there not wholesale destruction the by the Iraq invasion? Good things will happen over the course of time - building a country's infrastructure is not a horse race. Some patience and support of GCC members would be nice after all these are your neighbours - wish them well.