Carolyn Cohn of Reuters reports that Bangladesh is in the planning phase for a new SWF. Apparently, it will be modeled on Singapore’s GIC and could be worth as much as half a billion dollars. The impetus for the new fund was the country’s rapidly growing forex reserves, which have doubled in the past 15 months to $11 billion.
The Reuters article also seems to suggest that this new SWF is linked to a new IMF credit facility that Bangladesh is negotiating, which would be a pretty interesting scoop if true (that said, the article is a bit sketchy on this point…so it’s hard to know exactly what’s going on).
For those keeping track, this is the 13th (!) new SWF that has been announced in 2010 alone (i.e. in the last 9 months). This includes Colombia, Ghana, India, Iran, Lebanon, Mauritius, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, and Tunisia (though some of these countries have since reconsidered). And, on top of that, we had Ben Bernanke telling a bunch of state governors that they should consider setting up SWFs of their own (of which five already have).
Anyway, let’s just say that the new Bangladeshi fund gives further support to those who see SWFs as an integral part of the ‘new normal’.