The latest twist in the ABN Amro takeover saga tells us a lot about the changing power equations in the world financial markets. British bank Barclays has sold a stake in itself to two Asian investors, Singapore’s Temasek and China Development Bank. The money will be used to fund a bigger bid for ABN Amro.
Earlier this year, China invested $3 billion of its foreign exchange reserves in private equity giant Blackstone Group. Economist Brad Setser has written that “the alliance between the Chinese state—lest we forget, still a (nominally) Communist state—and the high priests of global financial capitalism is close to complete.”
A lot has been written on the growing importance of sovereign wealth funds— those run by governments blessed with huge oil revenues or with piles of excess foreign exchange. A lot of Arab and Singapore money, too, is on the move. This could soon become a political hot potato.