Insurers' investments in government bonds increased

Statistical News Release
Date 12 September 2012

The first half of 2012 saw direct investments by Dutch insurers in government bonds grow to almost EUR 120 billion according to figures from De Nederlandsche Bank. The increase is mainly due to purchases for an amount of EUR 5 billion. In addition, the portfolio appreciated by around EUR 1 billion as a result of price gains.

For several quarters now, approximately 95% of the insurers’ portfolio of government bonds has consisted of debt paper issued by governments in the euro area. But the geographical composition of this portfolio has changed over the first six months. The proportion of German government bonds, for instance, increased following sizeable purchases of EUR 4 billion, which were partly funded by the sale of Dutch government paper (EUR 1 billion). For the first time, the value of the investments in Dutch and German government paper was on a par at EUR 40 billion. Holdings of French (EUR 16 billion) and of other euro area (EUR 18 billion) government paper remained broadly stable. Investments from other euro area countries largely consist of government bonds from Austria (EUR 8.5 billion) and Finland (EUR 3.2 billion). Investments in government bonds from GIIPS countries — Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain — decreased to approximately EUR 2.5 billion, following sales of EUR 1 billion.

As a result of these developments, the importance of government bonds in the total investment portfolio of insurers increased further over the past half year. At the end of the second quarter, they made up some 26.2% of investments, compared to 25.7% six months earlier.

Composition of insurers' government bond portfolio