If China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) were a bit less opaque, we might be able to peer through their tinted limo windows and see a few red faces. Turns out SAFE, which administers and invests China’s gargantuan forex reserves, stuck some 15% of them in its pocket and went to play the foreign stock market roulette. Sadly, it was Russian roulette, and now people familiar with the investments say SAFE has lost tens of billions of dollars since it started rolling the dice in 2007. This may be connected with recent questions raised by Chinese officials regarding the security of China’s US investments, particularly its treasury holdings, but President Obama told them to chill out and keep playing. As a gesture of appreciation, the NYSE has offered SAFE a complimentary suite, all the well cocktails it can drink and tickets to the cabaret. On the other hand, China Investment Corporation (CIC), which actually has a public mandate to play the market, is looking at luxury brand investments, in particular LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Compagnie Financiere Richemont and PPR. We just hope CIC buys genuine shares.
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