7 May 2009

Super Fund returns show 'vast' improvement

7:25 pm on 7 May 2009

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund's investment returns are on the way up even as the Government's books are going deeper into the red.

The fund has told Parliament's commerce select committee on Thursday it has made $1.75 billion on its investments since the middle of March.

Poor investment returns have played a significant part in driving the public finances into deficit and losses by the Superannuation Fund have contributed to that.

But there are early signs that might be changing, just three weeks ahead of the National-led Government delivering its first Budget on 28 May.

Mr Orr said the markets have been volatile, but unaudited returns for the past few weeks show a vast improvement in the fund's performance.

For the year to April, the fund has lost $3.8 billion, but that is a smaller annual loss than it was recording just a month or two ago.

Mr Orr cautioned against getting out of equity markets because of their recent poor performance. He says asset prices are now relatively cheap.

Finance Minister Bill English says the result will make no difference to the Government in deciding whether to suspend its contributions to the fund.