Norges Bank

Press release

Continued volatility, but positive excess return from equity

The first quarter of 2009 featured low inflows into the Government Pension Fund – Global and continued volatility in global markets. There was a negative return on the fund of 4.8 per cent and a negative excess return relative to the benchmark portfolio of 0.3 percentage point. Equity management generated a positive excess return.

“In the parliamentary hearing in late April, we stated that the fund’s performanceat the time was flat in terms of both absolute and relative returns,” says Yngve Slyngstad, Chief Executive Officer of Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM). “The market recovery seen in March has continued into the second quarter.”

Measured in international currency, the first quarter brought a negative return of 4.8 per cent, equivalent to NOK 66 billion.

The market value of the fund was NOK 2 076 billion at the end of the quarter, down from NOK 2 275 billion at the end of 2008. Inflows of new capital into the fund came to NOK 44 billion, the lowest figure since the fourth quarter of 2004.

The return on the fund was 0.3 percentage points weaker than that on the benchmark portfolio defined by the Ministry of Finance. Fixed income management produced a negative excess return of 0.9 percentage points, and equity management a positive excess return of 0.3 percentage points. Both internal and external equity management made a positive contribution.

The allocation to equities rose to 52.6 per cent from 49.6 per cent during the quarter. Continued purchases of equities increased the fund’s average ownership of global equity markets to 0.9 per cent from 0.8 per cent. Average ownership in Europe climbed to 1.6 per cent from 1.3 per cent.


Press telephone: +47 21 49 09 30

Published 20 May 2009 10:00