Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Norway Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said the Nordic country won’t contribute to any euro area aid package, adding that leaders from the debt-stricken region haven’t sought the Nordic country’s help.
“Norway will not participate in any aid package,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Oslo today. “That is not our task. I believe it’s wrong that Norway should take part in such support measures.”
Norway, which has built a $551 billion sovereign-wealth fund from its oil income, had been touted as a possible source of support for the euro area together with China as Europe’s leaders try to stretch the resources at their disposable to solve the debt crisis. Euro area leaders are looking into creating a special purpose vehicle to attract investors outside the region. The Government Pension Fund Global, as Norway’s oil fund is called, in February said it is “positive” on bonds sold by the European Financial Stability Facility, thanks to the securities’ AAA grade.
“It’s up to the pension fund to decide, and they are already invested” in EFSF bonds, Stoltenberg said. “They can continue to do so, according to their guidelines.”
Norway would back an agreement to expand the International Monetary Fund’s role in supporting Europe, he said.
The country’s oil fund gets its investment guidelines from the government and is managed by Norges Bank Investment Management, a unit of the central bank.
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said Norway’s oil fund and China have the necessary resources to help ease Europe’s debt crisis, Norwegian media reported this week.
“It is a fact of life that Norway,” which isn’t a member of the European Union, “has huge assets,” Finance Minister Sigbjoern Johnsen said in an Oct. 24 interview. “These assets that are materializing in the oil fund already are being heavily invested in Europe and as a matter of fact we are overweight when you look at the distribution of the different markets in Europe.”
While Johnsen said he is unlikely to allow a change of strategy at the fund, he added that “of course NBIM has very ample room to maneuver within the overall guidelines.”
The Government Pension Fund Global, Europe’s largest equity investor, in August reported its smallest quarterly gain in a year, returning 0.3 percent as its stocks fell 0.7 percent in the second quarter.
The fund is built from taxes on oil and gas, ownership of petroleum fields and dividends from its stake in Statoil ASA. It got its first capital infusion in 1996. The fund is limited to investing in listed stocks and fixed-income securities and also added real estate this year. It’s not allowed to invest in private equity.
--Editors: Tasneem Brogger, Jonas Bergman.
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