International equity markets performed strongly in the first quarter. Emerging equity markets and European markets in particular performed well. The return on the international equity portfolios managed by NBIM was approximately 7 per cent. Higher international interest rates resulted in a decline in bond prices.
The return on the Government Pension Fund - Global in the first quarter of 2006 was 2.2 per cent measured in terms of the currency basket that corresponds to the composition of the Fund's benchmark portfolio. The actual return was 0.20 percentage point higher than the return on the benchmark portfolio defined by the Ministry of Finance.
The return on Norges Bank's foreign exchange reserves' investment portfolio in the first quarter 2006 was 1.6 per cent. The equity share was somewhat lower here than in the Government Pension Fund - Global. The market value at 31 March was NOK 213 billion. The return on the Government Petroleum Insurance Fund was negative 0.7 per cent. This fund is only invested in fixed-income securities. The market value at 31 March was NOK 14 billion.