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The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund overcame sluggish markets at the start of last year to deliver a return of 6.9 per cent in 2016.

Norway’s $905bn oil fund was boosted by strong stock markets in the second half of the year with equity investments returning 8.7 per cent. Fixed income returned 4.3 per cent in 2016.

Yngve Slyngstad, chief executive of Norges Bank Investment Management, the manager of the fund, said:

“The return in 2016 was characterised by falling international interest rates in the first half of the year and strong equity markets in the second half. The year began with a downturn in the markets, and uncertainty regarding developments in China.”

The fund had 62.5 per cent of assets invested in equities at the end of the year but is expected this spring to be given permission to increase that to 70 per cent. Fixed income assets accounted for 34.3 per cent and real estate 3.2 per cent.

The biggest contributors to the return in equities were Royal Dutch Shell, Glenmore and Apple with the worst performers being Novo Nordisk, Credit Suisse and Lloyds Banking Group.

The worst performance among its big government bond holdings was for UK gilts, which lost 5.1 per cent. Measured in local currency, however, UK gilts returned 11 per cent.

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