U.S. is ‘still the best destination for capital,’ Mubadala deputy chief says

Waleed Al Muhairi predicts a ‘very soft landing’ for the world’s biggest economy, offering investment opportunities

Night view of the illuminated exterior of New York Stock Exchange with American flags. (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – The U.S. remains the preferred destination for Abu Dhabi’s investment capital, Mubadala’s Deputy Group CEO Waleed Al Muhairi said today.

“It offers the best risk-reward,” Al Muhairi said. “I don’t see that changing for the next three to five years.”

Abu Dhabi’s second-largest sovereign wealth fund has about $280 billion in assets under management, with $100 billion, or 36% of the fund, deployed in the U.S., according to Al Muhairi, speaking at the Milken Institute’s Middle East and Africa Summit in Abu Dhabi. 

“We will likely miss the recession that some people have been predicting,” he said. “Nobody knows what’s going to happen, but it feels like there’s going to be a very soft landing in the U.S..”

“Inflation as we are seeing right now is essentially tapering down,” he added. “If we see rate cuts and if we see continued strong performance from some of the big corporations, both balance sheet-wise and obviously earnings-wise, then I think you could be poised for growth in the U.S..”

On China, where Mubadala has an office in Beijing, Mubadala is taking a “wait and see” approach.

“We’re still deploying, albeit a little more cautiously.” 

In other emerging markets like Indonesia and India, Al Muhairi said there is potential in telecoms, financial services and FinTech but these markets are “challenging to navigate.” 

Al Muhairi also took some time to pitch for Abu Dhabi Inc.: “We’ve historically had deep pools of capital. What’s a little different today is that we have deep pools of opportunity to match that capital,” he said. 

“Whether it’s private equity, the development of the markets, financing opportunities, the activities of the financial sector and banks, there is a tremendous amount of opportunity, and I could not be more optimistic about the region, the UAE, in particular, and certainly, Abu Dhabi specifically.”

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