As we slowly, steadily and inevitably creep one step closer to global central banks eventually owning all of each others’ country’s equities (and other financial assets), the nation of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund could wind up being the next big bid for U.S. stock markets. According to Reuters, the country could shift “billions in investments” out of European stock markets and instead invest the money in the U.S. and other North American markets, the fund’s manager recommended on Tuesday.
The trillion dollar fund has typically given more of a weighting to European stocks and has focused on countries that Norway trades with. But the Norwegian central bank has said that this is no longer necessary, and has said that it wants the fund’s portfolio to better reflect the “available pool of investments”.
The central bank said:
“The Bank’s advice is that the geographical distribution should be adjusted further towards float-adjusted market weights by increasing the weight of equities in North America and reducing the weight of equities in European developed markets.”
From here, it is up to the finance ministry and parliament to decide whether or not to heed the advice of the central bank. If they move forward from here, it could mean billions in new investments shifting from Europe to the U.S. and other North American markets.
For now, Norway’s fund, which invests the proceeds of the country’s oil and gas production, owns more European stocks than the size of each respective market’s weight would dictate. The fund eased its policy of directing investment to Norway’s most important trading partners in 2012, the last time it reviewed its international weighting.
Since then, the fund has reduced its exposure to European shares from 50% of total holdings to about 34% of total holdings at the end of 2018. 43% of the country’s holdings were in North America and 17% were in Asia.
The finance ministry said it would make a determination next spring.
“Implementation of any changes in the benchmark index will be gradually over time,” the finance ministry said.