World’s top sovereign fund grows despite volatile markets

The sovereign wealth fund will finance Norway’s generous welfare state when its oil money runs out . (AFP pic)

OSLO: The managers of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, said on Wednesday that the fund had grown in value in the second quarter, despite volatility generated by global trade tensions.

The Bank of Norway, which manages the fund, said in a statement that “the Government Pension Fund Global returned 3%, or 256 billion kroner in the second quarter of 2019.”

“Uncertainty about global trade and economic growth dampened returns early on, but markets rallied towards the end of the period, driven partly by the prospect of more expansionary monetary policy in developed markets,” said the fund’s deputy CEO, Trond Grande.

The fund – which manages the country’s oil revenues in order to finance Norway’s generous welfare state when its oil and gas wells run dry – attained “positive results in a volatile market,” the statement said.

It saw its total value swell to 9.16 trillion kroner by the end of June from 8.94 trillion kroner three months earlier.

The fund’s strong second quarter was attributed primarily to its share portfolio, which accounts for 69.3% of its investments and which rose by 3%.

The return from bonds was 3.1%, while the return on real estate holdings was a more modest 0.2%, the statement said.