By Lawrence Summers For some time now, the large flow of capital from the developing to the industrialised world has been the principal irony of the international financial system. In 2007 this flow will total well over half a trillion dollars, a figure that will be comfortably exceeded by the build-up in reserves and sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) in developing countries. Indeed, Morgan Stanley has estimated on reasonable assumptions that there is now close to $2,500bn (£1,200bn, €1,800bn) in SWFs and that this figure will increase to $5,000bn by 2010 and $12,000bn by 2015. Inevitably, and appropriately, countries possessed of publicly held foreign assets far in excess of anything needed to respond to financial contingencies feel pressure to deploy them strategically or at least to earn higher returns than those available in US Treasury bills or their foreign equivalents. Even without this pressure, SWFs are now growing at a faster pace than the global rate of new issuance of traditional reserve assets. Read more
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