Azerbaijan’s sovereign wealth fund to invest $1.8 billion in renminbi

Azerbaijan’s sovereign wealth fund will invest up to $1.8 billion in China’s renminbi this year, one of the biggest publicly-acknowledged investments in China’s currency.

Shahmar Movsumov, the chief executive of the $37 billion State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan, said that the fund is applying for permission from Chinese regulators to access local currency assets and wants to start investing in them by the end of this year, the Financial Times reports.

“It’s one of the currencies that are becoming important, so why not invest in renminbi?” Movsumov said, according to the Financial Times. “We are in the process of getting all the necessary preparations.”

The renminbi was the seventh most widely used currency for international payments in April with 1.4 percent of transfers, compared to 0.6 percent in January 2013.

While analysts estimate many central banks may have already started putting small sums into the renminbi, only a few, including Australia, Chile and Nigeria, have publicly confirmed their investments, according to the Times.

Movsumov said that the fund was open to investing in all renminbi assets. The fund has yet to invest approximately 5 percent, or $1.8 billion, of its allocation to other currencies.

“Whatever we will have spare by the end of this year we will allocate to renminbi,” Movsumov said, according to the Financial Times.

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