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2014-08-20 18:10:00

NORWAY RETURNS 3.3%

NORWAY RETURNS 3.3%

Norway's oil fund, the world's biggest sovereign wealth fund, reported a 3.3% profit on its investments in the second quarter, including a 4% return on its investment in equities, and said it plans to double the size of its management team in October.

Norges Bank Investment Management, the arm of the central bank that manages the fund, said Wednesday that earnings on its investments totaled 192 billion Norwegian kroner ($31.11 billion). The total value of the fund on June 30 was NOK5.478 trillion.

The oil fund was set up in the 1990s to act as the main investment vehicle for Norway's vast oil wealth. It has expanded more than tenfold in the past decade and is expected to be worth NOK7.278 trillion by 2020.

Equity investments returned 4.0% in the second quarter, while fixed-income investments brought in 2.0%, NBIM said. Emerging market shares contributed the highest returns, especially in India, Russia, Turkey and Brazil. European, North American and Asian stocks all contributed positively.

"Equity markets rose in the second quarter, and emerging markets performed best," said Yngve Slyngstad, chief executive of NBIM. "Considerable liquidity flowed into the markets, which pushed asset prices up. We noted reduced volatility in the markets, but we have to be prepared for fluctuations in the fund's value going forward."

Oil and gas sector stocks were the best performers, NBIM said. Among individual stocks, Apple, Royal Dutch Shell and BG Group contributed the most to the fund's second-quarter earnings. The most negative contribution came from BNP Paribas, UBS and Credit Suisse.

NBIM said it would double its top management team to 12 people, including four real estate managers, as of October.

The management said the oil fund, also known as the Government Pension Fund Global, had increased its holdings of bonds issued by Japan, the U.K. and Germany, and decreased its holdings of bonds issued by Brazil, Canada and Sweden.

Some 77.8% of fixed income investments at the end of the quarter were denominated in dollars, euros, yen and sterling, compared with 77.7% at the end of the first quarter, the fund said.

Around 61.3% of the fund's investments were in equities, 37.6% in fixed income assets and 1.2% in real estate at the end of the quarter.

The krone weakened against many of the main currencies during the quarter, increasing the fund's value by NOK132 billion. The government transferred NOK44 billion in new capital to the fund.

wsj.com

Tags: NORWAY, OIL, RUSSIA, SHELL

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