China Investment Corp, the country's $300 billion sovereign wealth fund, is counting on getting a fresh injection of cash from the government to invest abroad, a senior CIC official told Reuters on Friday.
Handed a slice of China's foreign exchange reserves to manage in 2007, CIC has now fully invested that money, Jesse Wang, an executive vice president at the fund, said.
Chinese media have said since late 2009 that CIC was seeking $100-200 billion in new funding, but there have been no subsequent reports of any progress on that.
Nobody in the government opposes this, but a detailed plan has yet to be decided, Wang told Reuters, when asked whether the government had agreed to give it more cash.
CIC was set up with the aim of seeking higher returns on a small portion of China's foreign exchange reserves, by far the largest in the world. Like other sovereign funds, it was burnt by some of its early forays into the U.S. financial sector, but it has posted solid numbers over the last two years.
Our investment returns (last year) were not bad, quite similar to the returns in 2009, Wang said on the sidelines of a meeting of an advisory body to the Chinese parliament.
CIC posted an 11.7 percent return on its global investments in 2009, reversing losses in the previous year and bolstering it case for fresh government funding.
SHUNS EMERGING MARKETS
In discussing his investment outlook, Wang told reporters that CIC was staying away from emerging markets partly because of inflation pressures building up in them
He said that he saw investment opportunities in real estate in developed countries including the United States and Japan. If risk is appropriately discounted, European government bonds might also be attractive, he said.
Wang said he had not heard of any plans for the fund to buy a stake in Glencore , the world's largest commodity trader, which is preparing for a possible public listing.
The bulk of the country's $2.85 trillion foreign exchange reserves are managed by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), which follows a much more conservative investment strategy.
More than a third of the war chest of reserves in invested in U.S. Treasuries, making China the biggest foreign holder of U.S. government debt.