It’s hard to wrap your head around what one trillion dollars worth of stock market investment actually looks like. To put it into perspective: Norway, with just ~0.07% of the world’s population, owns a staggering 1.5% of the global stock market through investments in more than 9,000 listed companies across 70 countries.
The Oslo portfolio
Because of its size, Norway’s fund looks a lot like a diversified market index, with considerable slices of every major sector. After a record $164 billion loss last year, as inflation and geopolitical tensions shook the wider market, Norway’s tech holdings, helped the fund return 10% in the first part of this year, with AI-driven rebounds for companies like Meta and Microsoft propelling the pot’s $143 billion bounce-back.
Interestingly, just ~4% of the fund is tied up in energy stocks — a modest underweighting compared to many global markets, perhaps because the country is already substantially exposed to the oil sector.
Indeed, Norway’s fund is increasingly setting investment policies that encourage companies to reduce, or at least disclose more transparently, their carbon emissions. The irony (or hypocrisy) of an oil-backed fund setting the pace on corporate environmental policy is not lost on many, even as Norway continues to lead the world on green initiatives, like electric vehicle adoption.
Oil exports have played a huge role in developing Norway’s robust welfare state, as well as evening out inequality and generally improving the standard of state institutions. Indeed, according to the NBIM, the Pension Fund accounts for 20% of the Norwegian government’s budget, and is worth $250k+ for each Norwegian citizen at the time of writing — helping Norway to become one of the most prosperous nations on the planet.