Friday, July 11, 2008

Chrysler Building Sold to a foreign Sovereign Fund

Chrysler Building, New York City.

Wow, I know we are in the era of Free trade and free markets but when a sovereign fund purchases a major American land mark, I can't help but wonder.

The Chrysler Building, a New York landmark has been sold to a sovereign fund in the Emirates for under a Billion dollars. Most active countries in the global economy do have sovereign funds and through these are able to purchase almost anything from participant nations. Problem is that in this politically charged world, some purchases may have underlying motives and may be suspect. In Britain there is an apprehension towards sovereign funds making purchases of key national companies to the extent that some have been blocked. The most active Sovereign Funds are from oil rich Middle Eastern countries, and according to some reports, there is stiff competition amongst their countries on who can buy the best and biggest of a Western company, property or institution. Its now an issue of prestige and status to own a piece of America or Britain.

When TATA bought Land rover and Jaguar from Ford, one writer, in a celebratory tone, was quick to recall Ghandi's response to what he thought of Western Civilization, "it would be a good idea".

So the Indians have bought major western car Icons, the Middle Easterners are steadily buying their part of the West, the Chinese own most of America's debt. Where exactly is all this heading?