China Investment's Zhou Says U.S. Should Spend Much More on Infrastructure

U.S. infrastructure-spending plans are “too little, too late” and should be increased in preference to quantitative easing, said Zhou Yuan, head of asset allocation at China’s $300 billion sovereign wealth fund.

Proposed spending of about $500 billion over six years on infrastructure should be doubled, Zhou said in an interview on Oct. 30. China Investment Corp. may invest, and wouldn’t expect to own completed projects, he said.

“Infrastructure of this kind will serve to provide more jobs” than further quantitative easing, Zhou said in New York, while attending a conference hosted by the Chinese Finance Association. Low interest rates in the U.S. are his “top concern,” he said.

Congress has yet to approve the proposed $500 billion of spending on highways and transit. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Oct. 12 he hoped Congress would make the plan a priority next year.

Beijing-based CIC was created in September 2007, funded by a $200 billion allocation backed by China’s foreign reserves.

Zhou said the fund has depleted its cash to the point where it’s seeking more government money. About 8.6 percent of the portfolio was in cash as of June 9, according to Executive Vice President Jesse Wang. Cash and equivalents were 32 percent of holdings at the end of 2009, according to its annual report.

“We are expecting continued injections,” Zhou said. “The form, quantity and structure remain to be determined.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Lu Wang in New York at lwang8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Baker at nbaker7@bloomberg.net.

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