Category: Financial / Investment
Norway made the first deposit to its $1 trillion wealth fund in almost three years as climbing oil prices and a recovering economy again swell the coffers of western Europe’s biggest crude producer.
The Finance Ministry put 1.9 billion kroner ($230 million) into the fund in June, cutting withdrawals this year to 7.9 billion kroner, according to the Norwegian Government Agency for Financial Management. In its most recent budget released in May, the government had anticipated it would take out 21 billion kroner this year.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg in 2016 became the first Norwegian leader to dip into the massive piggy bank after the price of oil plunged, sending Norway’s oil industry into its worst crisis in a generation. Norway’s biggest industry and the economy are now on the mend after crude has recovered to above $70 per barrel from below $30 at the depth of the crisis.
The fund, which invests abroad to avoid stoking domestic inflation, has been tapped for about 150 billion kroner since early 2016 to plug budget deficits. With cash-flow of more than 200 billion kroner a year from bonds, stocks and real estate, it has had little problem in handling the withdrawals but it was forced to look over its strategy after its previous large inflows halted. The fund has surged in size during the past years, hitting more than $1 trillion last year amid rallying global stock markets.