Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) -- the world’s largest pension fund -- reported its worst quarterly loss in the three months ending September, as a global stock market rout wiped off 7.9 trillion yen ($64.2 billion) of its investments. The loss was GPIF’s first since last October, when it decided to double its allocation of equities to cut down dependence on government bonds.
Of the four major asset classes the GPIF invests in, three -- domestic stocks, foreign stocks and foreign bonds -- posted negative returns in the quarter, according to a statement released Monday. The total loss was much higher than the 5.7 trillion yen ($46.3 billion) losses it suffered in the final quarter of 2008 -- the peak of the global financial crisis.
However, on its investment in Japanese government bonds, the fund made an unrealized profit of 300 billion yen ($2.4 billion).
At the end of September 2015, following a highly-anticipated portfolio reshuffle announced last October, GPIF had 38.95 percent of its portfolio in domestic bonds, 21.35 percent in domestic stocks, 21.64 percent in foreign stocks and 13.6 percent in foreign bonds.
“Short term market moves lead to gains and losses, but over the 14 years since we started investing, the overall trend is upwards,” Hiroyuki Mitsuishi, a councilor at GPIF, reportedly said at a press conference in Tokyo. “Don’t evaluate the results over the short term, as looking over the long term is important.”
The recent slowdown in China’s economy -- which triggered a selloff in global financial markets -- and a strong dollar buoyed by expectations of an imminent rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve, have, in recent months, hit pension and sovereign wealth funds across the world.
Recently, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund -- the world’s largest -- posted its biggest loss in four years, losing nearly $32 billion in the third quarter.