Saudi Arabia Transfers Billions To Wealth Fund

By Reina Ilagan

Dec 01, 2016 05:29 AM EST

Saudi Arabia allocated 100 billion-riyal ($27 billion) from the country's reserves to the Public Investments Fund. This increased its existing assets by about 17%.

With such move, Saudi Arabia gears towards accelerating dealmaking and lessen the country's dependence on oil revenues.

According to a statement by the Saudi Press Agency, the cash injection aims to diversify investments and improve revenues.

The sovereign wealth fund will be used to pursue investment opportunities in both domestic and international markets, particularly local market that supports private sector investments and promotes economic growth.

With the fund's improved dealmaking this year, it is on its way to becoming the world's largest sovereign wealth fund. It acquired a $3.5 billion stake in Uber Technologies Inc. in June. It plans to put as much as $45 billion into a $100 billion technology investment fund in conjunction with Japan's SoftBank Group Corp.

The plan also includes the transfer of ownership of oil giant Saudi Arabian Oil Co. to the sovereign wealth fund, giving it assets of more than $2 trillion at its disposal.

The fund already owns stakes in companies like Sabic, a petrochemicals giant, and National Commercial Bank, the country's largest lender.

Last month, the Public Investments Fund also announced its intention to invest $500 million in It is a high-profile e-commerce company launched by Mohamed Alabbar. This venture, with a product line of more than 20 million items, is set to launch operations on January.

In an interview with Bloomberg, John Sfakianakis, director of economic research at the Gulf Research Center, said that the government is in an aggressive pursuit of diversification plans for investment.

"It also sends a powerful message that the local economy is seen as a tremendous opportunity and will boost private sector confidence after a series of government spending cuts," he added.

The Public Investments Fund is in line with Saudi Arabia's aim to restructure the country's economy following the sharp decline in oil revenues in 2014.

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