Norges Bank

Press release

Return of -2.5 per cent on the Petroleum Fund in 2001

The return on the Government Petroleum Fund in 2001 was -2.5 per cent measured in international currency. The result was depressed by a weak trend in international equity markets, particularly in the third quarter. The return on the equity portfolio was -14.6 per cent. Bond markets exhibited a positive trend, and the return on the fixed income portfolio was 5.0 per cent.

International capital markets were characterised by wide fluctuations in 2001. The return on equities was negative for the second year in succession. In 1998 and 1999, by contrast, returns on equity investments were very high. Since 1998, the average real annual return on the Petroleum Fund has been 3.6 per cent, after management costs and measured in international currency.

Transfers amounting to NOK 251.5 billion were made by the Ministry of Finance during 2001, which is the largest amount transferred to the Petroleum Fund in any year. Norges Bank has placed great emphasis on investing the capital in a prudent, cost-effective, manner. The Bank outperformed the benchmark portfolio defined by the Ministry of Finance by 0.13 percentage point. This figure results after an adjustment of 0.11 percentage point for the transaction and tax costs associated with the investment of the new capital in markets. Since 1998, the average annual excess return due to Norges Bank’s management has been 0.39 percentage point.

At the end of 2001, the value of the Petroleum Fund's assets abroad was NOK 613.7 billion. A total of NOK 567.2 billion has been transferred by the Ministry of Finance since the establishment of the Petroleum Fund.


Press telephone: +47 21 49 09 30

Published 6 March 2002 10:00