Norway 'petroleum fund' tops $500bn

Image caption,
Norways public finances have benefited significantly from its access to North Sea oil

Norway's oil-fueled state pension fund has grown to a massive 3 trillion Norwegian kroner (£324bn; $513bn), the country's central bank has announced.

The size of the "petroleum fund" means that, unlike other developed countries, Norway has little to worry about when it comes to state pension provision.

The government can spend some 600,000 kroner ($103,000; £65,000) on pension costs for every Norwegian.

Norway started investing proceeds from its North Sea oil revenues in 1996.

Initially, 1.98bn kroner was invested, but rising equities and big rises in oil prices have seen the size of the fund grow.

"The fund has grown faster and bigger than most people expected since getting its first inflow of capital in May 1996," says Yngve Slyngstad, chief executive officer of Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which manages the fund.

"A surge in oil prices since 2002 increased the size of capital inflows.

"Increased equity investments, particularly in emerging markets, also helped the fund's growth."

The pension fund is the world's second-largest sovereign wealth funds.

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