Spice Global Chairman Bhupendra Kumar Modi said he raised his U.S. dollar holdings to $200 million, or a 10th of his $2 billion net worth, as he expects the currency to appreciate against the euro, pound and yen.
Modi said there’s a “currency war” and many countries are following the U.S. in measures that would depreciate their currencies. This may help drive gains in the dollar, prompting him to boost his holdings in the currency, he said. He declined to quantify the increase.
The yen, pound and euro have fallen against the dollar this year amid signs that the U.S. economic outlook is improving. The U.S. Federal Reserve has faced criticism from foreign officials, including Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega, who in October, said that its monetary policies have weakened the dollar, threatening to fuel a “currency war” of competitive devaluations.
“The Americans were the first to devalue their currency and bring interest rates to zero,” said Modi, whose Singapore- based Spice Global has invested in industries including telecommunications and financial services. “They set the trend and now many other countries are also going to depreciate their currency as a way to increase exports, GDP and competitiveness.”
The Fed expanded assets to a record exceeding $3 trillion and pushed down the benchmark interest rate close to zero.
U.S. economic data is pointing to a recovery. Sales at the country’s retailers climbed twice as much as forecast in February, according to Commerce Department figures this week, showing improving job prospects are helping consumers and the economy overcome higher taxes and gasoline prices.
The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly dropped last week to the lowest level in almost two months, according to data yesterday, adding to signs the labor market is strengthening.
Modi, 64, who became a Singapore citizen in January 2012, said as much as 70 percent of his assets are invested in real estate in cities including New York, London and the Southeast Asian island state. He also has properties in Mumbai and Delhi.
“I invest mainly in the global cities,” he said in an interview yesterday in his office in Singapore’s financial district, which overlooks the city’s Marina Bay.
Modi, who made his fortune from mobile-phone services in India, is among a growing number of wealthy individuals in Asia. The region had 3.37 million millionaires in 2011, more than in North America for the first time, according to a report last year by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management. Singapore had the world’s largest proportion of millionaire households in 2011, according to a Boston Consulting Group report.
Modi’s Singapore-based Spice Global has invested in industries including telecommunications and financial services. He said he also invested in gold and other precious metals, declining to give a more detailed breakdown of his assets.
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