NORWAY - The Government Pension Fund - Norway achieved an investment return of 12.8%, or NOK11bn, in the first half of 2009 as the total value of its investment assets reached NOK98.9bn (€11.4bn).

Figures from Folketrygdfondet, the organisation responsible for managing the domestic fund, revealed the scheme's Norwegian equity portfolio produced the best return of 21.32%, while Norwegian fixed income assets returned 4.76%.

At the end of June 2009, the fund had allocated 54.8% of its assets to Norwegian equities and 30% to Norwegian fixed income, while Nordic equities and fixed income - investments in Denmark, Finland and Sweden - equated to 9.9% and 5.3% of total assets respectively.

Despite the small allocation to these investments the Nordic equity portfolio returned 7.4%, while the Nordic fixed income investments was the only asset class to post a disappointing return of -4.69%.

The fund attributed the positive performance to a strong recovery in financial markets in the first six months of 2009, although the overall return of 12.8% was below the benchmark set by the Ministry of Finance by 1.8 percentage points.

While the Government Norway fund admitted both equity portfolios had underperformed their benchmarks by 3.9% in the Norwegian investments and 1.74% in the Nordic portfolio, it noted it had been an active buyer of shares in the financial crisis, and as a result its holdings in the Oslo Stock Exchange had increased from 3% to 4.8% over the last year.

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