The Norwegian Finance Ministry announced today it is postponing the publication of its yearly report to parliament on the country’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF) because of the coronavirus crisis.
The ministry usually submits its annual white paper on the fund – made up of the now NOK10tn (€855tn) Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) and the NOK269bn Government Pension Fund Norway (GPFN) – to Norway’s parliament, the Storting, in early April.
Today the ministry said in a statement: “On the basis of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the Ministry of Finance has decided to postpone the submission of the notification to the Government Pension Fund 2020.”
No new date for the submission has yet been set, it said.
The document normally includes plans and decisions on changes to fund that have been under consideration.
The viral pandemic has already added to the duties of the manager of the domestic and Nordic investment part of the overall SWF, the GPFN, with Folketrygdfondet having been tasked last week with administering a new NOK50bn bond fund to help Norwegian companies access liquidity in the crisis.
Over the last 12 months, one of the main issues under discussion regarding the GPFG has been the plan for it to divest certain oil and gas stocks.
Private equity has also been a matter for debate in the period with the giant international fund’s manager Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) proposing rule changes last August to allow it to broaden its scope to invest in unlisted equities.
However, the financial market turmoil of the last few weeks will have had a major effect on both parts of the fund as well as on Norway’s finances, which are highly dependent on the oil price. Crude oil futures prices have fallen by nearly two thirds since the beginning of this year.