PORTUGAL – Portuguese pension funds posted average returns of 0.6% in February, with bonds making a 0.3% loss, according to Mercer Investment Consulting.

Despite the growth perspectives being moderate for 2005, February was a month of strong valuations in the markets (3.1% for Europe and 2.1% for the US). In contrast, the Portuguese market that closed the month with a 1.5% fall, Mercer said.

“In the bond markets, fixed-interest in the euro zone and US have recorded negative returns in February,” Mercer said. “Bonds with longer maturities had been penalised, recording a 1.6% depreciation,” it also said.

Variable rate bonds were the only positive exception in February with a 0.2% return. Equities dwarfed bond returns with a 2.9% return.

Real estate investments returned 0.2%. Mercer also said that petrol prices in February hit the highest point since October with a 19% increase since the beginning of the year. The increase has pushed consumer expenditure up.