Thu, 15 Apr 2010

From: Reuters

By Sunanda Creagh
JAKARTA, April 14 (Reuters) - China is shopping for ways to invest its sovereign wealth fund in Indonesia's infrastructure, resources and manufacturing sectors, the Indonesian trade minister said on Wednesday.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will visit Indonesia next week, just two months before U.S. President Barack Obama's rescheduled trip to Southeast Asia's biggest economy, at a time of mounting competition between China and the United States for influence, especially in resource-rich countries such as Indonesia.

Trade Minister Mari Pangestu told foreign journalists that Beijing was looking for opportunities to invest money from China's $300 billion sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corp (CIC) [CIC.UL], in Indonesia.

"I know they are still looking. They have exposure for each country and they haven't filled the exposure for this country," she said.

"Not just resource-focused, because they are financial investors. They are looking for good investments. Manufacturing companies, consumer companies."

Pangestu said CIC's plan to lend $1.9 billion to Indonesia's top coal producer, PT Bumi Resources (BUMI.JK), was proceeding, despite earlier reports the deal had been delayed by a tax dispute. [ID:nJAK235486]

China this month pledged $1.8 billion in soft loans to Indonesia for infrastructure and followed that up with a promised $800 million loan for roads and bridges. [ID:nJAK107063] [ID:nJAK292837]

Pangestu said a bilateral agreement encouraging more Chinese investment in Indonesia's infrastructure would be signed while Wen is in Indonesia.

During Obama's visit, a broad partnership aimed at boosting ties between Indonesia and the United States will be signed, she added.

Pangestu said Indonesia sought a balanced relationship with both countries.

"I think you will have more than one (superpower), that is obvious," she said, urging foreign investors to pay attention to emerging markets like Indonesia.

"We are open for business and if you don't come now I think you are going to miss the boat. Indonesia is a growing market."