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SWFs move towards greater transparency

March 30, 2010

Abu Dhabi: home of the world's largest SWF

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), the world's largest sovereign wealth fund (SWF), has published its first annual review detailing its investment aims and portfolio. The report groups the fund's asset allocation by asset class and geographical distribution. ADIA declined to reveal its total assets, which are estimated at between $350bn and $450bn.

Germany opens door for Greek bailout to prevent euro crisis

February 10, 2010

Financial markets rose on 10 February as prospects grew of a European rescue plan for Greece. Germany and other eurozone partners have said they will lend Greece money or buy its sovereign bonds should the country's debt-laden government be unable to fund itself in the financial markets.

A senior government official told the Financial Times: "Both are conceivable options, which will have to be decided on a case-by-case basis” – although he said it was “open” whether EU leaders would formally agree the plan at a summit on Thursday.

It was also revealed that Jean Claude Juncker, chairman of the Eurogroup representing the 16 members of Europe’s single currency, will hold a video conference with eurozone finance ministers to discuss what to do next.

However, in return for funding from its eurozone partners, the Greek government will have to agree to a long list of demands to reform the Greek state in order to put its budget on a sustainable footing and restore investor confidence in Athens.

Earlier, German government officials admitted that Berlin was looking at how to construct a “firewall” to prevent the Greek debt crisis spiralling out of control and threatening the future of the euro.

According to the Financial Times, a German government official has said that the steep decline in the euro and pressure on bond prices is forcing Berlin to ”take a significant step” in how to deal with the crisis. Germany is worried that a flight out of Greek assets, especially government bonds, could damage German banks and those in other eurozone countries.

There are fears that Greece's debt crisis could spread to other heavily indebted states, such as Spain and Portugal, and as the eurozone’s dominant economy, Germany would be expected to take the lead in organising support for a Greek bail-out. Berlin officials are quoted as saying that they are more focused on containing the problem through some kind of firewall, rather than bailing-out Greece.

Michael Meister, a senior German parliamentarian, was quoted as saying that help was possible under certain circumstances and that Wolfgang Schäuble, finance minister, would brief lawmakers on Wednesday about options for helping Greece either bilaterally or at EU level.

As the EU prepares for a summit likely to be dominated by discussion about protecting the eurozone, those countries outside the euro area, led by the UK and Sweden, have come out against any EU-backed euro rescue plan to which they may have to contribute. Non eurozone countries argue that, if Greece needs help, it should come from the International Monetary Fund.

Inside the eurozone, there are few signs that members have a common stance on how to protect the euro. However, most believe that it would undermine confidence in the currency if a eurozone country is forced to seek help from the IMF rather than the EU.

For more on the euro go to The eurozone: Make or break time

For more on sovereign debt go to Cleaning up sovereign debt

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