UPDATE 3-Temasek looks for investments in Mexico, Brazil

miércoles 28 de mayo de 2008 11:46 CEST

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By Saeed Azhar

SINGAPORE May 28 (Reuters) - Singapore sovereign fund Temasek [TEM.UL] said on Wednesday it is looking for investments in Brazil and Mexico to tap growth in Latin America's emerging economies and booming demand for commodities.

The move underscores the state investment firm's recent focus outside its core Asian market, which excluding Japan accounted for 78 percent of its S$164 billion ($120.5 billion) portfolio last year.

Temasek made high profile investments in Western banks such as Merrill Lynch MER.N last year as lenders shored up balance sheets hammered by exposure to U.S. subprime mortgages and other risky credit investments.

The state firm said it has hired Lorenzo Gonzalez Bosco, former chief executive of Barclays Bank (BARC.L: Cotización) in Mexico, as its new managing director for investment in that country. It will relocate Alan Thompson, its managing director for investment in Latin America, to Sao Paulo, Brazil later this year.

Chua Hak Bin, an investment strategist at Deutsche's private bank, said the new focus on Latin America suggests Temasek wants to invest outside its key market into a region rich in resources.

"Latin America is benefiting from the commodity boom, and would be one natural play if you want to diversify," he said. "Temasek investments in Latin America are also less sensitive politically."

But Leslie Phang, head of investments at Schroders Private Clients, said investors coming late to the party in Latin America and Middle East also face investment risks if the oil and commodity boom reverses.   Continuación...