October 6, 2015

World's Largest Sovereign Wealth Fund Is Forced To Begin Liquidating Assets

Populist rhetoric aside, the SWF will have no choice but to sell: "capital coming into to the fund has already started to dwindle. Inflows were just 17 billion kroner in the first half of this year, compared with a quarterly average of 60 billion kroner over the past 10 years. Central bank Governor Oeystein Olsen, who oversees the fund as head of the bank’s board, said in February that oil around $60 would mean transfers to the fund "may come to a halt."
Oil is now nearly 20% lower, and as goes the price oil, so go the inflows into the fund. Which means that any month now, if not already, Norway will shift from net buyer of global financial assets to a net seller, in the process joining the Emerging Markets and, of course, China in soaking up even more liquidity, mostly USD-denominated, out of the market, in the process removing much of the liquidity injected by the Fed and its peer central banks.
This situation will only deteriorate that much further, and force the wealth fund to sell even more assets should the Fed hike rates, pushing the dollar even higher, and sending the price of oil crashing below. In fact, the coordinated selling of US-denominated assets will be precisely the catalyst that sends the global stock market tumbling, and ultimately serve as the catalyst for NIRP and/or QE4.
The only question is whether Yellen has finally figured this out and will proceed straight to the NIRP/QE4 part or whether she will subject the market to 6-9 months of gut-wrenching volatility as the world's largest sovereign wealth fund realizes what it means to try to sell billions of assets into an illiquid, bidless, market.

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