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Loading up on booze

Johnny Walker gets blended with China’s forex reserves

In a recession, bet on booze. That seems to be the thinking behind China’s latest investment. The FT reports that the People’s Bank of China has purchased a 1.1% stake in the British distiller, Diageo, worth around $364 million.

The drinks firm, with a stable of alcohol brands including whisky maker Johnny Walker, represents an intoxicating investment for a central bank. You might even argue that it is opting to put China’s forex reserves where its mouth is. The country is drinking ever more Scotch. Last year China got through 1.9 million cases of whisky versus less than a million in 2003. Diageo reckons its sales in China could match those of the US by 2021.


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