Norges Bank

Press release

Petroleum Fund with return of 12.6 per cent in 2003

The return on the Government Petroleum Fund in 2003 was 12.6 per cent measured in international currency. This is the Fund's highest return ever. The upturn in international equity markets in 2003 resulted in a high return of 22.8 per cent on the equity portfolio. The return on the fixed income portfolio was 5.3 per cent.

The Fund's average annual real return after management costs for the period 1997 to 2003 was 3.7 per cent.

In 2003, Norges Bank achieved a return that was 0.59 percentage point higher than that on the benchmark portfolio defined by the Ministry of Finance. This is the sixth consecutive year since equities were introduced into the portfolio in 1998 that Norges Bank has outperformed the benchmark. The annual excess return has averaged 0.43 per cent. The total excess return has been just over NOK 9 billion.

The return on the Environmental Fund in 2003 was 22.9 per cent measured in international currency.

At end-2003, the market value of the Petroleum Fund's investments was NOK 845 billion. The value had increased by NOK 236 billion during the year. NOK 104 billion of this amount is due to the transfer of new capital from the Ministry of Finance, while the return measured in international currency corresponds to NOK 91 billion. Furthermore, owing to the weaker krone exchange rate, the value of the Petroleum Fund increased by NOK 41 billion, measured in NOK, from 2002 to 2003. However, changes in the krone exchange rate have no effect on the future international purchasing power of the Petroleum Fund.


Press telephone: +47 21 49 09 30

Published 3 March 2004 10:00