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​Norwegian sovereign fund boasts €76bn Q1 gain despite currency drag

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Europe’s largest investor recorded a €76bn profit in the first quarter of 2019, its highest ever quarterly return.

The Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, made NOK738bn (€76bn) on its investments in the first three months of the year, even though the fund’s manager said a stronger domestic currency had a dampening effect.

Yngve Slyngstad, chief executive of Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), said: “This is the fund’s best quarterly return measured in kroner ever.

“As a major equity investor we must be prepared for large fluctuations in the fund’s market value in line with developments in global stock markets.”

The quarterly return was 9.1%, and followed the fund’s 6.1% loss recorded for the full year 2018 – equivalent to roughly €50bn.

During the quarter, the Norwegian krone rose against several major currencies, which NBIM said contributed to lowering the fund’s value by NOK60bn. The fund received state oil revenue inflows of NOK8bn in the period.

Of its three asset classes, equity investments returned 12.2% in the first quarter, with technology companies generating returns of 17.6%.

Unlisted real estate produced 1.7% and fixed income investments made 2.9%, NBIM said. Overall, this meant the fund beat its benchmark index by 20 basis points.

The fund’s value rose to NOK8.9trn by the end of March, from NOK8.3trn at the end of December.

The equities allocation approached the fund’s strategic allocation of 70% set in 2017, reaching 69.2% on 31 March, up from 66.3% at the end of last year.

The unlisted real estate allocation slipped to 2.8%, from 3% at the end of last year, while fixed income made up 28% of assets, down from 30.7% three months before.

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  • Geiranger Fjord, Norway

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