Norway oil fund poised to spend big

Norway oil fund poised to spend big
Oil fund manager Yngve Slyngstad
Norway’s 3-trillion-kroner ($521 billion) sovereign oil fund — or Government Pension Fund Global — aims to buy bigger than the one-percent of listed stocks worldwide that it already owns.

A recent purchase of rent-rich real estate in Regent’s Park and Paris offered the first sign that Yngve Slyngstad,  managing director of Norges Bank Investment Management, was acting on the funds vow to buy property.

Now Slyngstad says the world's biggest fund is aiming to splurge 100 billion kroner in the stock market during the remainder of autumn 2011.

Losing hundreds of millions in value during recent, worldwide market retreats has not deterred Slyngstad. The Oil Fund, as Norwegians call it, has historically made money by buying low in the stock market.

This time, NBIM managers will target fewer but larger investments that can be better-researched. Slyngstad told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv that investment of the type that secured 7.5 percent of UK fund manager Blackrock was ideal.

The fund has been criticised by some for not spending enough in Norway and by others for not spending enough on fixed capital. The promise to spend in the stock market is sure to rankle Slyngstad’s critics.

The Oil Fund is unable to buy key US real estate such as ports due to local rules on foreign sovereign-fund ownership but is likely to help top up the European Financial Stability Facility as Europe battles to stabilize national finances.

Norway’s Oil Fund this year topped the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority to become the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. Saudi Arabia’s SAMA Foreign Holdings is the third-largest sovereign fund.

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