IRELAND - The e11bn National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) has posted a return of 1.8% for the second quarter ended June 30, 2004 and a return of 4.5% for the first six months of the year.
Equities allocation of the fund rose by nearly 3% over the past six months to 74.2% as at end June 2004. NPRF said that over the quarter, equities provided mildly positive and bonds mildly negative returns.
With equities now comprising approximately 75% of total assets, NPRF’s commission chairman, Donal Geaney said that the fund’s start-up phase was substantially completed.
“The commission is now working on the next developmental stage of its mandate focusing on the expansion of the fund into new asset classes. Our objective here is to provide sources of additional return while diversifying risk.
“We have already this year awarded small-cap equity and corporate bond investment mandates and are working on market entry into the areas of property and private equity. The fund’s long-term investment horizon, strong cash flow and lack of a liquidity requirement puts us in a strong position to exploit the opportunities offered by these new asset classes,” said Geaney.
The fund said that after a positive start in April, both equity and bond markets reversed direction towards the end of the month amid concerns that the short-term outlook for inflation had worsened.
“A cautious tone persisted through May although strong employment numbers in the US encouraged equity markets there. Markets took on a decidedly better tone in June with further evidence of global recovery, an announcement from the US Federal Reserve that its interest rate response would be ‘measured’ and a lessening of geopolitical tensions all being contributory factors,” the fund said in a statement.
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