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Singapore's GIC eyes Latam, E.Europe investments

Written by: Staff
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SINGAPORE, Sep 17 (Reuters) The Government of Singapore Investment Corp. (GIC), which manages a portfolio of over 0 billion, is diversifying into emerging markets by investing in equities in Latin America and Eastern Europe.

''We have been an investor in the Asian region for a long period of time, so what my colleagues talked about was that we are pushing beyond -- Eastern Europe as well as Latin America,'' Lim Chow Kiat, chief investment officer at the GIC, told reporters on Sunday. ''A lot of them are equity investments.'' The GIC said in July it would increase its investments in emerging markets in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

At present, half of GIC's portfolio consists of equity investments, while bonds account for 30 percent, with the remainder made up of private equity, hedge fund, real estate and commodity investments.

About 40 to 45 percent of GIC's investments were in the United States, 20-25 percent in Europe and 8-10 percent in Japan, the group said in July.

Lim, speaking on the sidelines of an International Monetary Fund-World Bank seminar on asset management, said in a speech there was a huge flow of money from the developed economies towards emerging markets.

Emerging markets such as Asian economies needed to develop long-term financial products that could attract this capital.

Lim said securing this capital for infrastructure funds in emerging markets could give a huge boost to capital markets.

He said the GIC had invested in infrastructure funds abroad, but had no near-term plan to invest in such funds in Singapore.

''As a matter of fact, we have done some investments. It is a legitimate asset class for an investor like GIC to consider allocating some money too.'' Singapore's finance ministry said on Saturday that the city-state aimed to become a platform for financing infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia and would offer tax incentives to infrastructure funds and project bonds listed there.

Lim said Asia was in a much better financial situation because of huge foreign exchange reserves and reforms in the banking sector and capital markets. This has also improved the prospects for capital markets for long-term funds, he said.

REUTERS DKS BD1634

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