Column: Do not panic over foreign wealth

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It sounds like something from a political thriller by Michael Crichton. Arab sheikhs and Chinese communists amass billions of dollars. They wait for a moment of financial weakness in the US. Then they use their massive “sovereign wealth funds” to buy large stakes in strategic US firms. They secure places on the board. Then, at a crucial moment, they…

Well, what exactly do they do? Slip out of a board meeting and blow up the building? Deliberately destroy the companies in which they have invested, in the hope of harming the hated Americans?

The fears aroused by the rise of sovereign wealth funds are deep – but vague. SWFs are investment vehicles controlled by governments. They are rich and getting richer. They currently control about $3,000bn and their total valuation by 2015 has been variously projected at anything between $10,000bn and $15,000bn.

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