SYDNEY, March 27 A French government appointed
panel of experts recommended the creation of a sovereign wealth
fund in New Caledonia to help diversify an economy heavily
reliant on nickel.
The report, presented to the French Prime Minister last
month, said such a fund help offset the impact of weaker nickel
prices and depletion of nickel reserves while supporting other
areas of the economy.
Nickel prices have halved since mid-2014, making the
South Pacific nation more reliant on subsidies from France.
The South Pacific nation is due to hold an independence
referendum by 2018.
The mineral is crucial to New Caledonia as it accounts for
about a fifth of its economy. It holds around a quarter of the
world's reserves of nickel, used in everything from stainless
steel to batteries.
(Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)