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Norway’s oil fund sees first inflows since 2015

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Norway’s sovereign wealth fund – which manages oil-related revenues – received its first capital inflows for three years in June, after a period of strong recovery for oil prices.

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which runs the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), reported second-quarter financial results this morning, including a 1.8% overall return.

The fund’s total assets increased to NOK8.3trn (€860bn) by the end of June, but the 1.8% investment return for April to June was 0.2 percentage points below the GPFG’s benchmark, NBIM reported.

The fund’s equities allocation produced 2.7% in the second quarter, real estate made 1.9%, and fixed income investments were flat.

Trond Grande, deputy chief executive of NBIM, said the fund still recorded a net outflow for the whole of the second quarter, despite the NOK1.85bn inflow in June.

According to NBIM’s interim report for the fund, the GPFG had a net withdrawal of capital amounting to NOK2bn in the second quarter.

NBIM was not immediately available to comment on the reasons behind the inflow, but it followed after a period of rising oil prices.

Oil prices fell to a trough at the end of 2015, with ICE Brent crude futures trading at around $28 (€24) a barrel, but have since recovered, hitting a high of $79 towards the end of June.

Remarking on its investment activity in the second quarter, NBIM said prices on global stock markets had increased in three-month period, thereby reversing the negative performance at the beginning of the year.

“North American and European stocks had a positive development in the quarter despite the prospect of increased trade barriers,” Grande said.

The Norwegian krone depreciated against the US dollar during the quarter, which helped boost the value of the fund by NOK47bn, NBIM said.

At the end of June, 66.8% of the fund was held in equities, 2.6% in unlisted real estate and 30.6% in fixed income, with asset allocation having undergone a slight shift towards equities and property since the end of March.

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