Saudi's PIF cuts U.S. stock exposure by $3 billion in third quarter, reduces ETFs

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has cut its exposure to North American equities by $3 billion in the third quarter, offloading some exchange traded funds (ETF) and stocks including Berkshire Hathaway BRKa.N, a regulatory filing showed.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) was holding $7.05 billion worth of U.S. equities as of Sept. 30, compared with nearly $10.12 billion in the second quarter, the filing showed late on Monday.

PIF cut its holdings of ETFs to $1.96 billion by Sept. 30, from nearly $4.7 billion in the second quarter.

In recent months, the sovereign wealth fund had bulked up minority stakes in companies worldwide, taking advantage of market weakness triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the last quarter, it moved part of those investments into ETFs of real estate, materials and utilities’ sectors.

The latest filing showed that PIF sold some stocks, including insurer Berkshire Hathaway, Canadian Natural Resources CNQ.TO and Cisco Systems CSCO.O in the third quarter, and bought 13 million shares of Novagold Resources NG.TO.

PIF, which manages $360 billion worth of funds, pursues a two-pronged strategy – building an international portfolio of investments and investing locally in projects that will help reduce Saudi Arabia’s reliance on oil.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said earlier this week that PIF would inject 150 billion riyals ($39.99 billion) annually into the economy in 2021 and 2022, and has become a key growth driver.

The fund, whose board is chaired by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, has become a more active investor since 2015, taking a $3.5 billion stake in Uber Technologies UBER.N and investing $45 billion in Softbank’s inaugural technology fund.

($1 = 3.7506 riyals)

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