Feb 3, 2023
World’s Top Pension Fund GPIF Posts Longest Loss in Two Decades
(Bloomberg) -- Japan’s state pension fund, the world’s largest, posted a fourth straight quarterly loss in its longest losing streak in two decades.
The Government Pension Investment Fund lost 1% during the quarter ended December, or 1.85 trillion yen ($14 billion), reducing its total assets to 189.9 trillion yen, the fund said in Tokyo Friday. Its Japanese stocks holdings rose 3.2% during the period and domestic debt lost 1.7%. The foreign equities portfolio was down 0.05%, while overseas bonds fell 5.3%.
Once a reliable source of support for the GPIF’s performance, the dollar had its biggest quarterly drop against the yen since 2008, dragging down the value of foreign assets that make up about half of the fund’s portfolio. Meanwhile, holdings of Japanese debt capped a fifth straight quarterly loss after the Bank of Japan abruptly revised its yield-curve-control policy in December.
“Its investments were hit by a rise in interest rates as well as a stronger yen, but it will have no choice but to stick to its base portfolio,” said Hidenori Suezawa, an analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities. The GPIF likely sold both foreign and domestic stocks and bought bonds during the last quarter for rebalancing, he said.
The MSCI All-Country World Index of global stocks and the S&P 500 Index both gained at least 7% during the October-December period, while the Topix index advanced 3%. Yields on 10-year US Treasuries added almost 5 basis points in the period as rates on benchmark Japanese government bonds climbed 17 basis points in the biggest jump since 2019.
Despite the BOJ’s impact on domestic bonds, the fund saw no need to change its portfolio allocation, GPIF President Masataka Miyazono said last month, adding that moves in Japanese yields have been in line with simulations. Japanese bonds had their biggest quarterly loss since 2003 at the end of December, according to the Nomura BPI Index.
The latest string of losses is the longest since the fund posted four consecutive quarters of decline during the fiscal year ended March 2003. The GPIF’s assets are evenly allocated into four categories consisting of bonds and stocks in Japan and abroad.
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