Sovereign Wealth Funds: Lessons of Coronacrisis

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-7-16-24
S. Chebanov (, 
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation

Received 24.03.2021.

Abstract. The paper deals with the sovereign wealth funds’ (SWFs) reactions to the economic and geo-political turbulence of 2020 emerged from COVID 19 pandemic. In recent decade, SWFs as state-run investment vehicles have proved to be the fastest growing group of institutional investors and have noticeably strengthened their role in the global financial system. According to the latest estimates, their cumulative AUM reached 9.1 billion US dollars as of December 2020. There are persuasive evidences that top 10 SWFs from Norway, China, Singapore, Persian Gulf and some other nations have evolved into full-fledged market-driven investors with an active portfolio management strategy. The fact that they continue to contribute the lion’s share (around 2/3) into the integral figures of SWFs’ performance as a group explains why the pandemic failed to undermine their progress. Also, it should be taken in mind that, in contrast to GFC of 2008–2009, the recent coronacrisis was featured by a seemingly surprising gap between the deep recession in real sector businesses and eventual growth of basic indexes of capital markets. Generally, this turned good for the financial market community, including many SWFs. For instance, the world’s largest Norwegian GPFG, despite an urgent sellout of some of its assets in order to help the national government in financing somewhat undermined state budget in the situation of deep slump at world oil market, reported, by the end of the year, the 10.9% operational profit and 8.2% increment of AUM (in terms of local currency). In the upcoming years, we may see the state funds vehicles to increasing change the whole landscape of the global investment playfield. It is highly likely that the post-COVID turbulent environment will increasingly push the SWFs not only to seek for viable alternatives to the increasingly fading traditional fixed-income instruments but to fundamentally change the mandates and the modes of operation. The traditional stabilization and saving state investment funds will step down in favor of a subgroup of the so called strategic SWFs, such as Singaporean Temasek, Chinese CIC, Saudi PIF, Indian NIIF, Malaysian Khazanah, Turkish TVF, Bahraini Mubadala, and Russian RDIF. Basically, they are charged to operate as the catalysts of national economic and social development. It may be expected that in the near future this category of state investors will see a growing number of newcomers. 

Keywords: sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), pandemic, COVID 19, economic crisis 2020, global financial system, investment, private capital, biotechnology, RDIF, Sputnik V


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For citation:
Chebanov S. Sovereign Wealth Funds: Lessons of Coronacrisis. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2021, vol. 65, no. 7, pp. 16-24.

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