Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest fund, doubled its investment at the capital market of Bangladesh in 2017 compared with that in the previous year, according to data available on its web site.
The government pension fund of Norway invested $244.41 million in the Bangladesh equity market in 2017 compared with $112 million invested in the previous year.
The fund made the investment in shares of 20 companies that are listed with the Dhaka Stock Exchange.
The Norway’s wealth fund has been increasing its stake in the Bangladesh stock market every year since its start of investment in the country in 2015 with around $19 million.
The equity market was vibrant with significant footprints of the foreigners over the year compared to the other years as there was not any major political and financial uncertainty, market operators said.
The foreign investors are looking for a stable and predictable business environment to get the highest possible returns, they said.
DSEX, the key index of the DSE, added 24 per cent, or 1,208 points, over the year to close at 6,244.52 points on December 28, 2017, the last trading session of the year.
Besides, the average turnover at the DSE advanced by 82 per cent to Tk 874.83 crore in 2017 compared with that of Tk 494.43 crore in the previous year.
The market maintained its bullish trend in the year 2017 on the surge of bank shares. The Norway’s fund also invested mostly in equities of eight listed banks.
The SWF invested most in Grameenphone — $48.72 million, followed by Square Pharmaceuticals $35.54 million, BRAC Bank $33.26 million and Mutual Trust Bank $19.84 million.
It also invested in shares of City Bank, Eastern Bank, ONE Bank, Mercantile Bank, Southeast Bank and Prime Bank.
The Norway’s sovereign wealth fund yielded returns of $131 billion in 2017.The fund is invested globally in international equities, fixed income and real estate.
As on December 31, 2017, the fund’s asset allocation was 66.6 per cent in equities, 30.8 per cent fixed income and 2.6 per cent in unlisted real estate.
Besides, the Norway’s fund invested in shares of IDLC Finance, LankaBangla Finance, ACME Laboratories, Bangladesh Submarine Cable, Berger Paints Bangladesh, Beximco Pharmaceuticals, IFAD Autos, MJLBD, Olympic Industries and Singer BD.
Apart from the Norwegian fund, several global investment banks such as Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs as well as asset management firms such as BlackRock have presence in the capital market of Bangladesh.
However, foreign investment, also known as portfolio investment, accounts for only 1 per cent of the premier bourse’s total market capitalisation.
The net foreign investment was Tk 1,704.94 crore in 2017, up from Tk 1,340.70 crore in the previous year.
According to the DSE data, the net overseas investment at the DSE was Tk 1,942.89 crore in 2013, Tk 2,619.78 crore in 2014 and Tk 185.50 crore in 2015.
However, the political uncertainty arose in the country surrounding the issues of verdict against Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia in a graft case from the beginning of the year 2018, that the party claimed politically motivated.