OSLO: Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, racked up gains of more than 100 billion euros in 2020 despite market turbulence caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the central bank said Thursday.
The fund registered a return of 10.9 percent last year, or 1.07 trillion kroner (101.5 billion euros) — its second biggest gain ever — boosted mainly by tech stocks.
At the end of December, the fund was worth the astronomical sum of 10.9 trillion kroner (1.03 trillion euros).
“Despite the pandemic having put its mark on 2020, it has been yet another good year for the fund,” central bank governor Oystein Olsen said in a statement.
“However, the high return also reminds us that the market value of the fund might vary a lot going forward,” he added.
The fund, which is aimed at financing the future needs of Norway’s generous welfare state and in which the state places its oil revenues, registered a 12.1 percent gain on its stock investments, which represented 72.8 percent of its portfolio.
The gains were made almost exclusively in the fourth quarter, amid “positive news on vaccine” developments in the fight against Covid-19, the fund’s deputy CEO Trond Grande told reporters.
Invested in more than 9,200 companies, the fund controls about 1.5 percent of the world’s market capitalisation.
US tech giants accounted for most of the gains, with Apple pulling in 84 billion kroner, Amazon 51 billion, Microsoft 41 billion and Tesla 36 billion.
Meanwhile, oil-and-gas and finance stocks weighed down the results.
Geographically, the best performances were registered in the US and China, while Britain, then in full-on Brexit mode, accounted for losses of around 70 billion kroner.
The fund’s bond holdings, which accounted for 24.7 percent of its assets, posted a 7.5 percent gain, while its real estate holdings, accounting for 2.5 percent of its portfolio, posted a loss of 0.1 percent.