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Norway wealth fund should not add new equity markets to index amid review - ministry

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OSLO (Reuters) – Norway’s sovereign wealth fund should not add new markets to its benchmark equity index until a review of its composition has been concluded, the finance ministry said in a letter to the central bank, which manages the fund.

The fund, which invests proceeds of Norway’s oil and gas industry in foreign stocks, bonds and properties, has the power to deviate from its benchmark, but tends to increase investments in countries and regions once they are included in the index.

Tuesday’s letter from the ministry gave the central bank until June 2019 to evaluate how its current benchmark affects geographical distribution of investments, emerging market risks and other issues.

While the review lasts, the $995-billion fund should assign a zero index weight to any new markets included in the FTSE Global All-Cap Index from Jan. 1, 2019, the ministry said.

It was not immediately clear how the review would affect investments.

On Oct. 26, the fund said it planned to more than double its investments in Saudi Arabia after the Middle Eastern country’s inclusion in the index, expected in 2019.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Camilla Knudsen and Clarence Fernandez)

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