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Singapore State Investor Temasek Says Global Economic Outlook Remains Volatile

Temasek's exposure to China rose to 29% in the latest year from 26% a year earlier, while exposure to Singapore fell to 24% from 26%.

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Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings said on Tuesday that the global economic outlook remained volatile, with the coronavirus crisis and geopolitical tensions creating significant uncertainties in the near term.

Ranked among the world's biggest investors, Temasek's net portfolio value fell 2.2% to S$306 billion ($224 billion) in the year to March 2020, the first drop in four years.

"The outlook for economic recovery remains clouded, despite significant fiscal and monetary policy support," said Png Chin Yee, head of financial services. "The unpredictable paths of COVID-19 and geopolitical issues pose significant uncertainties in the near term."

At a virtual news conference, senior executives from Temasek said the coronavirus pandemic had not significantly altered the firm's investment strategy in the long term.

However, the crisis had accelerated structural trends that guide Temasek's investment decisions, the investor said, such as those driven by demographic shifts and changing consumption patterns, as well as enabled by technological advances.

Temasek remains anchored in Asia, with exposure to the region of 66% measured by underlying assets, most of which are in China and Singapore. But the United States again accounted for the largest share of its new investments in the latest year.

Temasek's exposure to China rose to 29% in the latest year from 26% a year earlier, while exposure to Singapore fell to 24% from 26%.

Along with other global investors, Temasek invested in fundraising in 2018 by Chinese financial technology firm Ant Group, backed by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.

Ant now plans to list simultaneously in Hong Kong and Shanghai, in an initial public offering (IPO) that sources have said could be the world's largest and could come as soon as October.

Png said Temasek liked what Ant was doing in China's financial services space.

"There is quite a lot of potential for Ant going forward still," she said, declining to comment on Temasek's position regarding Ant's IPO.

(Reuters)