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Norway SWF on Path to $1 Trillion in Assets

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Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) revealed its second quarter 2017 figures. The wealth fund had surpassed US$ 954 billion in assets at the end of June, on its path toward US$ 1 trillion. For the second quarter of 2017, the fund returned 2.6%, or 202 billion NOK. The listed equity allocation for the fund reached 65.1% and returned 3.4% for the quarter. Norway’s GPFG has permission to go up to 70% in listed equities. In regard to public equities, Norway’s GPFG benefited from its allocation to healthcare stocks which delivered a second quarter return of 5.7%, with industrials at 4.9%. In addition, the wealth fund’s holding of Amazon stock made it to be the eighth largest equity holding for the fund, some 29.705 billion NOK (US$ 3.5 billion).

Norway’s GPFG is also looking into whether private equity would be a meaningful and appropriate asset class for the sovereign fund. Would expanding into additional asset classes make a difference in returns for a sovereign fund that is approaching US$ 1 trillion in assets? The sheer size of the fund could undermine efforts for Norway’s GPFG to diversify into infrastructure and private equity. Norway’s GPFG has experimented with a 5% target allocation toward institutional real estate. It has taken the fund years to build out a portfolio that still dwarfs in size the total fund portfolio value.

Saudi Arabia Sends Second Installment of Aid to Pakistan

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On December 14, 2018, Pakistan received its second installment of the US$ 3 billion in aid promised from Saudi Arabia on October 23, 2018. The US$ 1 billion given on December 14th boosted the foreign reserves of the State Bank of Pakistan, which went from US$ 7.2 billion to US$ 8.2 billion. The first installment was given on November 23, 2018. The last installment is expected to occur in January 2019.

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White House Nominates Heath Tarbert for CFTC Chairman

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The White House announced Heath P. Tarbert will be nominated to serve as Commissioner and Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Tarbert currently serves as Assistant Secretary for International Markets at the U.S. Treasury Department. Before joining the U.S. Treasury, Tarbert was a Partner at law firm Allen & Overy. Tarbert was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for his current Treasury post at 87 (yes) to 8 (no).

Upon Senate confirmation, Tarbert’s CFTC term would start on April 14, 2019 and last for five years. Tarbert is taking over from J. Christopher Giancarlo whose term ends in April 2019. Tarbert will need a U.S. Senate confirmation to take the head CFTC post.

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KIA Could Sell Stake in North Sea Energy Business

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The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), through its unit Wren House Investment Management, is nearing a deal to sell a 40% stake in its North Sea energy business to JPMorgan Asset Management. In July 2018, KIA closed on a deal to acquire oil and gas pipeline firm North Sea Midstream Partners from ArcLight Capital.

More details to follow –

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