NORWAY - The Government Pension Fund-Norway, also known as the Oil Fund, increased its allocation to Russian equities when many investors were moving the other way.
Partner at Prosperity Thomas Olsson said the mandate was "a sizeable amount," but declined to giver further details. Spokeswoman at the fund Siv Meisingseth said the scheme does not comment on specific mandates.
Russia's stock market collapsed at the end of last year when the liquidity crisis forced investors to offload their holdings and lower oil prices placed additional pressure on the economy, said Olsson.
But Olsson said last year's outflows have tapered off and some investors are showing interest in the region again. The firm is in the process of finalizing a contract with a US-based endowment.
Olsson said investors' views are "turning because of a revised view on real assets." He said investors want the exposure to commodities like oil and natural gas that Russian companies- which are generally not highly geared and run fairly straightforward, easy to understand businesses- provide. Meanwhile, investors are also trying to avoid countries that that run the the risk of inflation quantitative easing could cause.
Olsson said: "Russia looks like a fairly safe market because it is backed by commodities."
The fund's 2008 annual report said the fund added 19 new emerging equity markets into its equity portfolio. Russia, along with India and China, are largest emerging markets and represent some 0.8% each of the fund' total equity portfolio.
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