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Norway’s wealth fund hits record $1 trillion

The value of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, hit $1 trillion for the first time on Tuesday as booming global stock markets and a rising euro lifted its assets.

Established in 1998 to save oil and gas revenues for future generations, the wealth fund is now worth about 2.5 times Norway’s annual gross domestic product, against original projections it would peak at 1.3 times of GDP in the 2020s.

At 1034 GMT, a live update on the fund’s website showed its value at 7.851 trillion Norwegian crowns ($1.00 trillion).

Run by a unit of the central bank, the fund invests all its money in foreign stocks, bonds and real estate, with holdings spread among 77 countries.

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Almost two thirds of assets were held in equities at the end of the second quarter, with stakes in about 9,000 companies, giving it control over 1.3 percent of all globally listed stocks.

By contrast, Norway’s population of 5.3 million people corresponds to less than 0.1 percent of the world’s population. The fund’s rapid rise has made more money available for public spending under parliament’s budget framework.

Under a recently revised fiscal rule, governments can spend 3 percent of the fund’s value per year, corresponding to 235 billion crowns of the current size. The 2017 budget earmarks 221 billion for spending, or 2.8 percent of the value.

(Reuters)

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