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Friday, June 21, 2024

Oil Fund wins and loses in turbulent times

High prices for oil and gas have kept the money generated by Norway’s offshore oil fields flowing into its huge sovereign wealth fund this year, but lots of the money has leaked out again. Falling stock markets in which the so-called “Oil Fund” invests left results decidedly mixed.

There’s no question that Norwegians can still rely on one of the biggest pension funds in the world. Its assets are dizzying, and another NOK 356 billion was added to it during the first half of the year.

At the same time, though, the fund lost around NOK 1,680 billion on its stock market portfolio, marking its worst performance ever. “The value of the fund declined during the first half because of everything happening in the world,” Oil Fund chief Nicolai Tangen said last week when the first-half numbers were released. He was referring mostly to Russia’s war on Ukraine, which has disrupted markets and had “tragic” costs.

Tangen also told the Financial Times that he’s more worried about cyber security than the markets, though, since cyber attacks have more than doubled during the past two to three years. He said the fund, run by the investment management arm of Norway’s central bank, sees ongoing attempts to hack the fund, some of which he described as “sophisticated.”

Tangen expects around another NOK 300 billion will be deposited in the fund through the rest of the year, because of high prices for Norwegian oil and gas. Stock markets may also rebound. Revenues from the country’s major industry are mostly all stashed away in the fund, for the benefit of future generations. staff



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