Stronger currency eats into Norway’s sovereign fund in Q3
Norway’s giant sovereign wealth fund experienced its first quarterly net inflow of capital in nearly three years in the third quarter of 2018 – but currency movements knocked nearly four times as much off its value.
According to the Government Pension Fund Global’s (GPFG) interim report for the third quarter, the Norwegian krone appreciated against several of the world’s main currencies between July and September.
This cut the value of the fund in krone terms by NOK46bn (€4.8bn), offsetting a NOK12bn inflow to the fund from the government.
The July-to-September period was the first quarter since 2015 in which the GPFG booked a net inflow of capital.
In June, the GPFG experienced its first monthly inflow in three years, but this was less than the total withdrawals made by the government in the second quarter.
The fund’s investments made a 2.1% return between July and September, or NOK174bn – 0.2 percentage points below the return on the benchmark index but up from the 1.8% generated in the previous quarter.
Of the GPFG’s three main asset classes, equity investments returned 3.1%, fixed income made a 0.3% loss, and unlisted real estate generated 1.9%, Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), the fund’s manager, reported.
Yngve Slyngstad, NBIM’s chief executive, said: “The market development was affected by expectations of differing economic growth and uncertainty about the effects of increased trade barriers.”
NBIM said North American stocks had gained during the quarter, while other global equity markets had developed more weakly.
The oil fund’s asset allocation continued the shift towards equities and out of fixed income in the reporting period, continuing a trend apparent in the second quarter. Equities made up 67.6% of the portfolio at the end of September, fixed income accounted for 29.7%, and unlisted real estate made up 2.7%.
The fund had a market value of at the end of September of NOK8.48trn, up from NOK8.34trn at the end of June.