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August 18, 2008

Indonesia, Qatar jointly set up $1bn fund

Indonesia and Qatar and have jointly set up a $1 billion fund to invest in energy and infrastructure, reported Reuters on Sunday.

Qatar is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), while Indonesia is the third-largest. LNG is gas chilled to its liquid form for export. Both countries are also members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Reuters quoted Indonesia’s ambassador to Qatar Rozy Munir as saying that Qatar will contribute 85 percent of the funds for the new fund and Indonesia the remainder,

Qatar’s state investment fund, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indonesian government, Munir said.

Gulf government funds, with windfall income from energy exports, have set up several joint funds.

The QIA teamed up with Abu Dhabi government-owned IPIC in March to launch a $2 billion fund. The QIA has also set up joint funds with Oman and Dubai.

Sovereign funds from the Middle East, Asia, Russia and China have poured billions of dollars into large stakes in Wall Street firms, arousing concern among lawmakers that politics may be influencing investments.

Qatar and Indonesia are among OPEC’s smallest producers.

Indonesia is expected to attract more Qatari investment soon, Munir was quoted as saying.

New bills on Islamic banking and bonds should help, he said.

The country also hoped Qatar would follow Saudi Arabia in investing in its agriculture industry, the Gulf Times reported.

“There are great opportunities for a possible investment in this sector,” Munir was quoted as saying, adding that investment could go into production of rice, cocoa, sugarcane, palm oil or spices.

Saudi’s BinLadin Group plans to invest at least $4.3 billion in Indonesia’s agriculture, a senior Indonesian official said last week.

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