Japan's government pension fund posts fifth straight quarterly gain

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Japan's government pension fund posts fifth straight quarterly gain

- Japan's Government Pension Fund posted a fifth consecutive quarterly gain in its investments as returns from domestic assets helped make up for losses on overseas equities.

The biggest pension fund gained 2.7% for the quarter ended in June, and funded assets under management by 4.98 trillion yen to a record 191.6 trillion yen announced on Friday. Domestic shares were its best-performing investment, returning 8.6%, while overseas shares lost 0.3%. Japanese bonds gained 1.9% and foreign bonds added 0.5%.

Overseas stocks have been the GPIF's top-performing asset since April of last year, when the fund began in front of Japanese government bonds to focus on equities and foreign debt. The GPIF posted a record-breaking return for the fiscal year ended March last month.

The gains announced Friday took the cumulative returns since the fund began managing the nation's pension reserves in 2001 past 100 trillion yen, including interest and dividend income.

'The April-June quarter saw global equity rally on the back of projections for Covid - 19 vaccine rollout and economic reopening, as well as ongoing easy monetary policy by key countries, said GPIF President Masataka Miyazono in a statement. Domestically, Japanese equities slipped due to fears over resurgence of infections.

The MSCI World Index of global stocks rose 7.3% last quarter, while Japanese's Topix slipped 0.5%. Yields on 10-year-tennis treasuries fell 27 basis points to 1.468%, while those of Japanese government debt decreased little at 0.05%. The dollar stood against the yen and strengthened 0.4% during the quarter. Since the end of June, the Topix is down 0.7%.

'The GPIF could have room to buy Japanese equities in the coming quarter as the indices have fallen a bit, said Naoki Fujiwara, chief fund manager of Shinkin Asset Management Co. 'Fundamentals for Japanese stocks aren't bad either.