OSLO Norway's $915-billion (734.33 billion pounds) sovereign wealth fund, the world's biggest, earned 298 billion Norwegian crowns ($34.6 billion)from its investments in the first quarter as stock markets surged, it said on Friday.
"Measured in Norwegian crowns, this was the third best quarter in the history of the fund, driven by strong returns on the equity investments. In the last month, the total return exceeded the total inflow of the fund," fund CEO Yngve Slyngstad said in a statement.
The fund earned a return of 3.8 percent in the quarter, beating its benchmark index by 0.1 percentage point. In the fourth quarter the fund booked a return of 2.17 percent.
The government withdrew 23 billion Norwegian crowns during the first quarter to pay for public expenses at a time of declining oil and gas revenues, after pulling out a total of 101 billion crowns during 2016.
(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, editing by Terje Solsvik)