The combination of economic recovery and strength in equity markets drove a record gain in the assets held by central banks, sovereign wealth funds and public pension funds last year, according to Global Public Investor published annually by London, U.K. and Singapore-based think tank OMFIF.
Assets held by these institutions rose by US$2.5 to $US36.2 trillion in 2017. The 7.3% gain is the largest on record since OMFIF began tracking these assets.
The largest percentage increase in assets was among European public investors. with assets growing by 12%, led by the region’s central banks. The Swiss National Bank was the biggest gainer, with assets rising by 20% year over year, driven by large gains in its foreign equity holdings.
Along with the market gains, central banks benefited from the rise in the price of gold, the report said. Central banks also added more than 371 tonnes of gold to their holdings in 2017, bringing their total holdings to almost 31,800 tonnes, the highest level since the 1990s.
Public institutions are increasingly investing in sustainable assets, the report said. Thirty-six per cent of institutions plan to increase their green bond investments over the next 12-24 months, while 18% plan to add green equities.