Norway wealth fund grows to record $1.09 trillion

The fund’s chief executive, Yngve Slyngstad, said that ‘the return on the investments in global financial markets has been so high that it can be compared to having discovered oil again.’ (AFP)
Updated 25 October 2019

Norway wealth fund grows to record $1.09 trillion

  • The fund reached the milestone as its government regulators grapple with strategy changes
  • The size of the fund has grown to almost three times that of Norway’s annual gross domestic product

OSLO: The value of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, grew to a record 10 trillion Norwegian crowns ($1.09 trillion) on Friday, boosted by rising global stocks and the strength of the euro and dollar.
The fund reached the milestone as its government regulators grapple with strategy changes, including how to handle climate risk and a proposed large-scale shift of investments into the United States.
Built since 1996 to save petroleum revenues for future generations, the size of the fund has grown to almost three times that of Norway’s annual gross domestic product, far exceeding original projections.
“When the fund was set up, nobody thought it would pass 10,000 billion crowns. We were lucky to discover oil,” the fund’s chief executive, Yngve Slyngstad, said in a statement confirming the record.
“The return on the investments in global financial markets has been so high that it can be compared to having discovered oil again,” he said.
An update on the fund’s website showed the Government Pension Fund Global’s value reaching 10 trillion Norwegian crowns for the first time at 0857 GMT — more than $200,000 for every man, woman and child in Norway.
Commonly known as the oil fund and managed by a unit of the central bank, it invests close to 70 percent of funds in global equities and some 28 percent in a portfolio of fixed-income assets. Unlisted real estate holdings make up the rest.
On Aug. 27, the central bank proposed a shift that could ultimately move more than $100 billion out of European stock markets and into the United States, although such a move, if approved, could take years to complete.
The $750 billion equities portfolio has historically been heavily weighted toward Europe, aligning its fortunes with countries from which Norway draws most of its imports.
A move away from Europe would not be a verdict on the continent’s prospects, the fund insists, but would reflect a desire to apply neutral weights to global stock markets and thus make returns less dependent on a particular region.


Abu Dhabi fund suspends debt service repayments for countries, companies

Updated 12 July 2020

Abu Dhabi fund suspends debt service repayments for countries, companies

  • Debt service repayments would be suspended for eligible countries and individual companies from Jan. 1 until Dec. 31

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has suspended debt service repayments for some countries and companies for the year, the state-financed fund said on Sunday.
The fund provides financial assistance to companies in the United Arab Emirates and to developing countries, which has included Pakistan, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.
Debt service repayments would be suspended for eligible countries and individual companies from Jan. 1 until Dec. 31, the fund said in a statement.
It did not say which countries or companies would benefit or what the criteria would need to be met to be eligible.
“At a time when the world is reeling under the effect of the pandemic ... it is imperative for us to support particularly those that need it most, especially the low-income countries,” the fund’s director general Mohammed Saif Al-Suwaidi said.