Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund takes a hit


Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund recorded losses of $11B last year, down from the $19B in profit it made the year prior. The kingdom’s $700B fund is aiming to amass $2T in assets before the end of the decade.

Sovereign wealth funds are state-owned funds that invest a country’s surplus cash, often generated through activities like commodity exports. They’re like private funds, but with fewer fleece vests.

And whether they admit it or not, sovereign funds are geopolitical tools:

Intrigue’s take: Who wouldn’t love to have a vast pile of cash, right? These funds can help stabilise an economy, generate income without levying taxes, finance massive national projects, or you can just go full Scrooge McDuck.

But they come with risks: without transparency or accountability, some funds can quickly burn public money through incompetence and corruption. And even the most ridiculously transparent and accountable country (we’re looking at you, Norway) can suffer brutal years in the market (see below).

Still, we’d rather have a vast pile of cash than… not have a vast pile of cash.

Also worth noting:

  • Norway’s fund reported a record $164B loss last year, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, high inflation, and rising interest rates.
  • Singapore’s fund also just recorded its worst result in years, partly due to its stake in crypto platform FTX (remember them?).
Latest Author Articles
The geopolitics of UEFA football

With Europe’s UEFA men’s football (sorry, ‘soccer’) championship final happening this Sunday, what better time to have a look at the geopolitics of it all?

11 July, 2024
Why banks are closely following record-breaking Hurricane Beryl

With winds reaching 165 mph, Hurricane Beryl made landfall in Grenada and St Vincent on Monday and was upgraded to a Category 5 storm yesterday. 5 is the highest rating on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which is used to estimate potential property damage.

3 July, 2024
China’s Central Bank dips into bond market amid economic slump

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) announced on Monday that it was going to dip its toe into the open market and “borrow” Chinese government bonds from primary dealers.

2 July, 2024
What Julian Assange has left behind

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is now a free man in his native Australia, after a deal with the US saw him plead guilty to one charge of seeking to obtain and disclose classified material.

27 June, 2024