NORWAY - The Norwegian Government Pension Fund - Global increased in value to NOK 2.08trn (€236.4bn) in March, following two consecutive months of decline.

Figures from Norges Bank’s monthly balance sheet showed the fund has dropped in value since the end of December 2008 when it dropped NOK1.5bn in a month as it fell from NOK2.27trn to NOK2.1trn. (See earlier IPE article: Norway government global falls to NOK2.1trn)

The decline continued into February when it slipped to NOK2.04trn, however this latest data showed the value of the fund increased by around NOK400m as it reached NOK2.08trn by the end of March.

Confirmation of an improvement in the fund’s value follows the publication of the worst set of results in the scheme’s history last month, a return of -23.3%, leading to a review of its short-term investment strategy. (See earlier IPE article: Norway opts for equities to combat negative bond returns)

Since then, the Norwegian Ministry of Finance has published a report into the running of the fund over the last year and its ethical guidelines, which resulted in the exclusion of tobacco producing companies from the investment universe and confirmation it would not be investing in high yield or emerging market bonds in the near future. (See earlier IPE articles: Norway-Global rules out high-yield bonds and Norway global to exclude tobacco and target environment)

Final results of the pension fund’s performance will be published in the quarterly report from Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) on 20 May 2009.