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Calculating the real return of the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global by alternative measures of the deflator

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    According to the present guidelines for fiscal policy, the use of oil revenues in the Norwegian economy should over time equal the expected real return on the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG). An important question is therefore how to measure the real return, taking into account that the aim of the investment strategy of the GPFG is to maximise the purchasing power with respect to future Norwegian imports. In this paper, we present estimates of average annual real return of the GPFG over the sample period running from 1998 to 2012 based on alternative measures of the deflator. We find that the choices of international price measure, weighting scheme and method of aggregation generally are of major importance for the measure of the deflator, and thereby for the estimate of the real return. Two major factors providing low estimates of inflation and, thus, high real return, are GPFG weights dominated by western, low inflation countries, and export prices growing relatively slow, possibly due to strong international competition. Applying a method of aggregation tailored to also capture the deflationary effects of Norwegian imports increasingly originating from low cost countries (known as the China effect), reduces the estimate of inflation by close to one percentage point. We present estimates of average annual real return of the GPFG ranging from 2.3 to 3.3 per cent, and up to 4.5 per cent including the China effect. The present practice of calculating the deflator, based on CPI inflation in the countries the GPFG invests in, delivers an estimate of average annual real return of 3.1 per cent, which is close to the middle of this range.

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    Paper provided by Statistics Norway, Research Department in its series Discussion Papers with number 775.

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    Date of creation: Apr 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:775
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    1. Charles P. Thomas & Jaime Marquez, 2009. "Measurement matters for modelling US import prices This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the U.S.A," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(2), pages 120-138.
    2. Wheeler, Tracy, 2008. "Has trade with China affected UK inflation?," Discussion Papers 22, Monetary Policy Committee Unit, Bank of England.
    3. Trivedi, P K, 1981. "Some Discrete Approximations to Divisia Integral Indices," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(1), pages 71-77, February.
    4. Kenneth Rogoff, 1996. "The Purchasing Power Parity Puzzle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 647-668, June.
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    7. Alan M. Taylor & Mark Taylor, 2004. "The Purchasing Power Parity Debate," Working Papers 46, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    8. Diewert, W Erwin, 1978. "Superlative Index Numbers and Consistency in Aggregation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(4), pages 883-900, July.
    9. Ryan Macdonald, 2010. "Real Gross Domestic Income, Relative Prices, And Economic Performance Across The Oecd," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 56(3), pages 498-518, 09.
    10. Mick Silver, 2010. "The Wrongs And Rights Of Unit Value Indices," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 56(s1), pages S206-S223, 06.
    11. Hulten, Charles R, 1973. "Divisia Index Numbers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(6), pages 1017-25, November.
    12. Andreas Benedictow & Pål Boug, 2013. "Trade liberalisation and exchange rate pass-through: the case of textiles and wearing apparels," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 757-788, October.
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