Oslo: Norway’s $900-billion (Dh3.31 trillion) sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, returned a profit in the fourth quarter due to strong equity markets, it said on Tuesday.

The fund earned a return of 2.17 per cent in the quarter. In the third quarter the fund booked a return of 4 per cent.

The government withdrew 101 billion crowns (Dh44.3 billion) during 2016 to pay for public expenses at a time of declining oil and gas revenues, the first year it does so.

“The return in 2016 was characterised by falling international interest rates in the first half of the year, and strong equity markets in the second half,” the fund’s CEO, Yngve Slyngstad, said in a statement.

The fund cut its share of fixed income investments in the third quarter to 34.3 per cent of its portfolio from 36.3 per cent three months earlier while equity investments rose to 62.5 per cent from 60.6 per cent.

Real estate holdings were 3.2 per cent against 3.1 per cent in the previous quarter.