Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, has lost 1.33 trillion Norwegian crowns (US$124 billion) so far this year as stock markets have plunged due to the coronavirus pandemic, it said on Thursday (Mar 26).
The fund is now worth US$930 billion, down from more than US$1 trillion at the end of last year. Its investment portfolio dropped 16.2 per cent, all but erasing the 20 per cent gains made last year, while its stock market portfolio – its main asset class – has lost 22.8 per cent of its value, it added.
Separately, Norway’s central bank said earlier on Thursday it had appointed a new chief executive for the fund and would announced the name at a news conference.
The long-awaited appointment of a new CEO comes at a turbulent time for financial markets, with the coronavirus outbreak and a plunge in oil prices.
Outgoing CEO Yngve Slyngstad, announced last October that he would step down after 12 years on the job. During his tenure, the fund’s value rose sharply thanks to rising stock markets and solid income from Norway’s oil and gas industry.
Formally known as Norges Bank Investment Management, a unit of the central bank, the asset manager places proceeds from Norway’s oil and gas industry in foreign stocks, bonds and real estate.