This paper examines financial stability issues that arise from the increased presence of sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) in global financial markets by assessing whether and how stock markets react to the announcements of investments and divestments to firms by SWFs using an event study approach. Based on 166 publicly traceable events collected on investments and divestments by major SWFs during the period from 1990 to 2009, the paper evaluates the short-term financial impact of SWFs on selected public equity markets in which they invest. The impact is analyzed on different sectors (financial and nonfinancial), actions (buy and sell), market types (developed and emerging markets), and level of corporate governance (high and low score). Results, based on these 166 events, show that there was no significant destabilizing effect of SWFs on equity markets, which is consistent with anecdotal evidence.
Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) are becoming increasingly important in the international monetary and financial system, attracting growing attention. SWFs are government-owned investment funds, set up for a variety of macroeconomic purposes. They are commonly funded by the transfer of foreign exchange assets that are invested long term, overseas. SWFs are not new, and some of the longer-established funds—for example those of Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, and Singapore—have existed for decades. However, high oil prices, financial globalization, and sustained, large global imbalances have resulted in the rapid accumulation of foreign assets particularly by oil exporters and several Asian countries. As a result, the number and size of SWFs are rising fast and their presence in international capital markets is becoming more prominent.
Mr. Charles Frederick Kramer, Miss Catriona Purfield, Ms. Hiroko Oura, and Andreas Jobst
Asian equity markets have grown significantly in size since the early 1990s, driven by strong international investor inflows, growing regional financial integration, capital account liberalization, and structural improvements to markets. The development of equity markets provides a more diversified set of channels for financial intermediation to support growth, thus bolstering medium-term financial stability. At the same time, as highlighted by the May-June 2006 market corrections, the increasing role of stock markets potentially changes the nature of macroeconomic and financial stability risks, as well as the policy requirements for dealing with these risks.
This 2004 Article IV Consultation highlights that in recent years, Singapore’s economy has been hit hard by a series of external shocks. These shocks—the Asian crisis, the bursting of the technology bubble, and the SARS outbreak in 2003—disrupted an economic expansion largely uninterrupted since the 1970s. The shocks have come at a time when Singapore is also facing increasing competition from regional low-cost economies. Looking ahead, economic activity is expected to moderate to more sustainable levels in the near term.