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2018-10-17 09:50:00

NORWAY'S DEFENCE

NORWAY'S DEFENCE

BLOOMBERG - The world's biggest sovereign wealth fund was recently accused by a number of high-profile economists of having misled people in an effort to persuade skeptics it should be allowed to exit oil and gas stocks.

The attack -- one prominent critic referred to parts of a presentation made by the fund's chief executive officer, Yngve Slyngstad, as "propaganda" -- has added friction to one of the most momentous proposals the $1 trillion investor has ever put forward. About $40 billion in shares of companies including ExxonMobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc are at stake, with their potential divestment marking a watershed moment for the entire fossil fuel industry.

Now, lawmakers on Norway's parliament finance committee say they don't understand the economists' criticism of Slyngstad. They, together with the rest of parliament, will decide in the spring what the fund will do with its oil and gas stocks.

"I don't think he should be criticized for presenting data like these to the committee," said Helge Andre Njastad of the Progress Party, which is the junior member of Norway's minority government.

Extra Returns

Opposition lawmakers agreed. The Socialist Left Party's Kari Elisabeth Kaski said Slyngstad's figures were "completely unproblematic." Bjornar Moxnes, who runs the Red Party, said the fund's analysis was "useful and relevant."

"I don't believe the finance committee feels misled by what we were presented, like the critics claim," he said. "Regardless of the issue of returns and risk for the fund from owning oil and gas stocks, we believe the fund should divest, out of climate considerations."

The controversy started after Slyngstad last month told lawmakers his fund would have made billions of dollars in additional returns if it had dumped oil and gas stocks earlier. That rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.

The economists countered that the hypothetical divestment in the fund's analysis was set at dates where the oil price was historically high, making the return figures misleadingly attractive.

'Dangerously Populist'

The fund made its arguments a month after a government-commissioned expert panel said there was little to gain from the divestment plan. Knut Anton Mork, an economics professor who agreed with the initial divestment proposal, characterized the figures used in the fund's presentation as "dangerously populist."

The wealth fund's initial case had focused on limiting Norway's exposure to a drop in oil prices, given its status as western Europe's biggest petroleum producer. When the proposal was first made last year, it rocked markets, and drew responses from a number of major investors.

A majority in Norway's parliament is leaning toward supporting the fund's proposal, but the expert commission's recommendation against the plan made the final outcome less clear. The minority government, led by the Conservative Party, has traditionally been reluctant to make big changes to the fund's management. It will announce its view on the divestment issue next year after a public consultation on the expert report.

The Finance Ministry and a Conservative lawmaker, Mudassar Kapur, both declined to comment on the criticism of Slyngstad's presentation. Norges Bank Investment Management, which manages the wealth fund, also declined to comment, beyond noting that its presentation wasn't intended as a "contribution to any debate."

Njastad of the Progress Party said lawmakers are unlikely to be swayed by the hyperbole.

"If there's one thing we're used to, it's partisan comments and people who have an opinion," he said. "So we can easily live with this."

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Earlier:

 NORWAY'S RENEWABLE INVESTMENT $1.2 BLN
2018, September, 28, 09:30:00

NORWAY'S RENEWABLE INVESTMENT $1.2 BLN

PLATTS - Norway's state-owned power company Statkraft is planning annual investments of around NOK10 billion ($1.2 billion, Eur1 billion) in renewable energy in the period 2019-2025, it said.

 

 IMF: NORWAY IS BETTER
2018, September, 19, 13:15:00

IMF: NORWAY IS BETTER

IMF - Norway is in the midst of a healthy recovery from the oil downturn, supported by positive trends in oil prices and a strengthening labor market. In addition, banks remain profitable and well capitalized. However, household debt continues to increase and house prices have resumed their rise, especially in the Oslo area, after a correction during 2017.

 

 NORWAY'S OIL GAS INVESTMENT WILL UP BY 6.2%
2018, August, 24, 11:15:00

NORWAY'S OIL GAS INVESTMENT WILL UP BY 6.2%

STATISTICS NORWAY - Total investments in oil and gas activity in 2019, including pipeline transportation, are estimated at NOK 165.1 billion, which is 6.2 per cent higher than estimated in the previous quarter. The estimate for 2018 is NOK 156 billion, which equals the estimate given in the previous quarter.

 

 NORWAY'S FUND: $1 TLN + $20 BLN
2018, August, 22, 13:05:00

NORWAY'S FUND: $1 TLN + $20 BLN

NORWAY'S FUND - The Government Pension Fund Global returned 1.8 percent, or 167 billion kroner, in the second quarter of 2018.

 

 NORWAY'S KEY PRIORITY
2018, August, 15, 10:35:00

NORWAY'S KEY PRIORITY

BLOOMBERG - The Norwegian government in June made its first deposit into its wealth fund since the end of 2015. Now that the economy is in full recovery and the labor market is tightening, winding down fiscal stimulus is a key priority in next year’s budget, the prime minister said in an interview in Arendal, on Norway’s southern coast.

 

 U.S. WANT NORWAY'S MONEY
2018, June, 27, 10:35:00

U.S. WANT NORWAY'S MONEY

REUTERS - Norway, which shares an Arctic border with Russia, lacks a “credible plan” how to meet NATO’s spending target, U.S. President Donald Trump said in a letter to the country’s prime minister, the Norwegian daily VG reported on Tuesday.

 

 NORWAY DIVESTS OIL
2018, February, 7, 07:45:00

NORWAY DIVESTS OIL

BLOOMBERG - Norway’s $1.1 trillion wealth fund shocked the world last year when it announced a plan to divest all its oil and gas stocks, worth $35 billion at the time.

 

 

Tags: NORWAY, FUND

Chronicle:

NORWAY'S DEFENCE
2018, November, 19, 11:20:00

U.S. SECURITIES OUTFLOW $29.1 BLN

U.S. DT - The sum total in September of all net foreign acquisitions of long-term securities, short-term U.S. securities, and banking flows was a net TIC outflow of $29.1 billion. Of this, net foreign private inflows were $23.5 billion, and net foreign official outflows were $52.7 billion.

NORWAY'S DEFENCE
2018, November, 19, 11:15:00

U.S. INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION UP 0.1%

U.S. FRB - Industrial production edged up 0.1 percent in October, as a gain for manufacturing outweighed decreases elsewhere. As a result of upward revisions primarily in mining, the overall index is now reported to have advanced at an annual rate of 4.7 percent in the third quarter, appreciably above the gain of 3.3 percent reported initially.

NORWAY'S DEFENCE
2018, November, 19, 11:10:00

GREEN NUCLEAR ENERGY

WNN - "nuclear energy is a "mature, low greenhouse gas emission source of baseload generation that could make an increasing contribution to global development based on low-carbon energy supply".

NORWAY'S DEFENCE
2018, November, 19, 11:05:00

SAUDIS, PAKISTAN INVESTMENT: $6 BLN

ARAB NEWS - Saudi Arabia has shown investment interest in Pakistan’s largest coastal refinery, a multibillion-dollar project being set up at Khalifa Point, near Hub, Balochistan, officials have confirmed.

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