Oil fund makes all Norwegians millionaires

Oil fund makes all Norwegians millionaires
Øystein Olsen presenting the oil fund 2014 annual report. Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB scanpixe
Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the biggest in the world, has nearly doubled in three years, the central bank said Friday, which would make all 5.2 million Norwegians millionaires -- at least on paper.
The fund comprised of stock, bonds and property from around the world returned 7.6 percent in 2014, ending the year at 6.431 billion kroner (745.1 billion euros, $788 billion). At the end of 2011, the fund was worth 3.312
billion kroner.
The fund's increase of 544 billion kroner from 2013 was attributed in particular to earnings in last year's bullish stock markets as more than 60 percent of the fund's portfolio is in stocks.
To pay for future expenses Norway traditionally puts aside all of the huge revenue from its public oil company and is authorised to use only up to 4 percent to balance the country's budget.
"We must be ready for earnings that are not as high in the future," said Øystein Olsen, governor of the Bank of Norway which manages the fund.
Oil-rich Norway expects its record-high energy investments in 2014 to drop by 15 percent this year after crude prices more than halved since June.
The fund's investments are regulated by acts of parliament which have banned investing in groups accused of human rights violations, weapons manufacturers and tobacco producers.
Invested in nearly 9,200 businesses, Norway's fund controls the equivalent of 1.3 percent of the world's stocks capitalisation, and 2.4 percent of the European markets.