Norway: The Perils of Riches

Norway's Sovereign Wealth Fund, Market value, 23 June 2018

Norway's Sovereign Wealth Fund hit the 1 trillion USD mark for the first time in September 2017. I have only a vague idea of the number of zeros in that figure. A figure with fewer zeros is 190,000 USD, which is the sum for each and every citizen in Norway.

The perils involve major political discussions pitting the left and right political parties against each other. The low number of people living in Norway (around 5.2 million) is the main cause for why the Fund has become a hot politial issue. There are three ongoing major debates about the Fund's operations:

  • Use of the Fund in the state budget, as opposed to saving for the future. The main concern is to what extent increased government spending will drive inflation.
  • Whether the high diversification (including a high level of exposure) is financially safe and contributes to increased risk, and whether the state, because of this, is losing considerable amounts of money.
  • Whether the investment policy is ethical (see the Wikipedia article, which lists firms that are excluded and for what reason).

Postscript

On 10 September 2018, 11:39 am CET, the Fund's market value was 8,577 000 000 000 NOK, corresponding to 1,013,420,000,000 USD (see image).

Notes
(1) Image credit: Norway's Sovereign Wealth Fund (n.d.).
(2) This article was published 23 June 2018. It updated 10 September 2018.

Sources
Government Pension Fund of Norway (Wikipedia). URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_Pension_Fund_of_Norway.*
Norway's Sovereign Wealth Fund. n.d. URL: https://www.nbim.no.
Reuters. 2017. "Norway wealth fund hits record USD 1 trillion ahead of revamp." URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-norway-swf/norway-wealth-fund-hits-record-1-trillion-ahead-of-revamp-idUSKCN1BN17G

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