Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) emerged as the world’s most active sovereign investor in 2023, research consultancy Global SWF has revealed. PIF boosted its deal activity even as most global peers slashed spending, including GIC Pte and Temasek Holdings Pte.
PIF deployed $31.6 billion in 2023, according to Global SWF. And it was higher than the $20.7 billion it invested the previous year, an increase that contrasts with a broader trend. “Globally state-owned investors deployed $124.7 billion, about a fifth less than the prior year," Bloomberg reported.
The PIF was behind the largest sovereign-backed deals of the year, either directly or through its subsidiaries. These include its nearly $5 billion acquisition of US gaming company Scopley through Savvy Games Group and a $3.6 billion acquisition of Standard Chartered’s aviation leasing business through Avilease.
Sovereign wealth funds controlled by the governments of Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Qatar took five spots on a list of the top 10 most active funds last year.
That trend could be set to continue. The governments of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain are set to control about $4.4 trillion in gross foreign assets by the end of 2024, two-thirds of which will likely be managed by sovereign wealth funds, according to a report issued by the Institute of International Finance in December.
The region is home to a gamut of sovereign funds, which have become an increasingly prominent source of cash for international deals after a surge in energy prices in 2022 left most Gulf government budgets.