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Norway's Wealth Fund Considers Reducing Russia Assets

Published: July 25, 2014 (Issue # 1821)



  • Norway has no obligation to comply with EU sanctions.
    Photo: Mroach / Flickr

Norway's colossal sovereign wealth fund is considering reducing its $7.6 billion portfolio of Russian investments as Russia stares down the barrel of tougher EU sanctions, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

EU ambassadors met on Thursday to discuss sanctions drawn up by the European Commission, chief among which were proposals to ban European investors from buying new debt or shares in banks majority-owned by the state, Reuters reported.

Not being an EU member, Norway has no obligation to comply with EU sanctions, but the country's sovereign wealth fund is nonetheless reviewing its Russian investments to limit potential damage.

With $890 billion in total assets, Norway's sovereign wealth fund is the biggest in the world. Its 65 Russian investments are worth $7.6 billion in stocks and bonds, both corporate and government, according to the fund's 2013 annual report

The largest is a 4.6 percent stake in state bank VTB worth $888 million, according to the report. The fund has investments in several other state companies, including energy major Gazprom, oil giant Rosneft and oil transport monopoly Transneft, as well as a stake in independent oil producer LUKoil.

"If the oil fund's investments become affected by economic sanctions against Russia that Norway supports [the fund] will need to make the necessary adjustments to accommodate the new situation," a Norwegian Finance Ministry spokesman told Bloomberg.

The fund has already taken a hit in Russia this year, losing 9.7 percent on its investments in Russian government bonds in the first quarter due to earlier sanctions meted out by the West over Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula and alleged support for separatists rebels in Ukraine's war-torn east.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Sunday, Dec. 21


The Zenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the club’s website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBA’s and Capital Legal Service’s event “Arctic Expedition” this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers’ ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



Wednesday, Dec. 24


The Anglican Church of St. Petersburg we will be holding a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. led by Rev Wm. Shepley Curtis of the Episcopal Church. The service will be held at the Swedish Church at 1/3 Malaya Konyushennaya Ulitsa.



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