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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        18 January 2011

Singapore may increase Indonesian investment

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The Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GIC) wants to step up its investment in fast-growing Indonesia, particularly in infrastructure, a top executive said.

The state investment agency will work with its Indonesian partners to study the various infrastructure projects available, executive director and deputy chairman Tony Tan said.

"We would be interested in it because GIC has quite a lot of experience in investing in infrastructure (although) so far mainly in developed countries," Tan was quoted as saying.

"I think not only GIC but also, other companies would be very interested given Indonesia's good fundamentals and obvious need for infrastructure investment."

Tan did not refer to any particular projects but the newspaper report said potential areas of investment ranged from a cruise terminal in the popular resort island of Bali and a railway line to link Jakarta and the main airport.

Set up in 1981, GIC is one of Singapore's two sovereign wealth funds -- along with Temasek Holdings -- and invests the country's massive foreign reserves of more than $100 billion.

GIC does not publicly give a value on its massive holdings but the US-based Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute ranks it as the seventh largest in the world with an asset portfolio valued at $247.5 billion.

It invests in a wide range of asset classes from public equities to real estate, fixed income, natural resources and infrastructure.

In the financial year ended March 2010, GIC said the average rate of return on its investments rose to 7.1 percent in US dollar terms, up from 5.7 percent the previous year.

Investments in the Americas made up 43 percent of GIC's portfolio, Europe 30 percent and Asia 24 percent.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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