The return on the Government Petroleum Fund in the second quarter of 1998
The return on the Government Petroleum Fund in the second quarter of 1998 was 2.1 per cent measured against the basket of currencies defined by the Fund's benchmark portfolio. The return for the first half of the year was 5.9 per cent, according to Norges Bank's report on the management of the Government Petroleum Fund for the second quarter of 1998.
The market value of the Petroleum Fund increased by NOK 3.4 billion (2.8 per cent) in the second quarter. Almost NOK 1 billion of this increase is due to a depreciation of the Norwegian krone against the Fund's currency basket. Movements in the Norwegian krone exchange rate do not affect the international purchasing power of the Petroleum Fund, which is why the return measured in international currencies is of greatest interest.
In the second quarter, Norges Bank achieved an excess return of 0.04 percentage point relative to the benchmark portfolio stipulated by the Ministry of Finance. The excess return for the first half of the year was 0.47 percentage point. This outperformance is mainly attributable to the strategy devised for phasing equities into the portfolio.
The return of 2.1 per cent in the second quarter was substantially lower than the first quarter return of 3.7 per cent, measured by the Fund's currency basket. This is largely due to a weaker return on equity investments. Whereas the return on the equity portfolio was 12.3 per cent in the first quarter, it was 2.1 per cent in the second quarter. The return on the bond portfolio was 1.9 per cent in the second quarter compared with 2.2 per cent in the first quarter.
International capital markets are currently characterised by wide fluctuations. However, Norges Bank is of the opinion that the Petroleum Fund's performance must be assessed in the light of the long-term nature of the Fund's strategy.
On 30 June a further NOK 11.9 billion was transferred to the Petroleum Fund from the Norwegian Treasury. Following this transfer of resources, the market value of the Petroleum Fund was NOK 135.8 billion.
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