The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) has lost tens of billions of dollars investing in global stocks before the collapse of world markets last year, the Financial Times reported. Though SAFE does not disclose its holdings, analysts and people familiar with SAFE’s operations told the paper that SAFE began to bet on global stocks in early 2007 and continued to do so at least until the collapse of US mortgage finance providers Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in July 2008. At this point, SAFE had put more than 15% of China’s then-US$1.8 trillion of foreign reserves into risky assets such as equities and corporate bonds. Judging from the gall in global stock prices, China’s losses from those investments could top US$80 billion, more than 50%, according to Brad Setser, an economist at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
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