Insurers buy bonds and sell shares

Statistical News Release
Date 17 December 2012

Insurers continued the reshuffle of their investment portfolios in the third quarter of 2012. Figures released by De Nederlandsche Bank show that they sold EUR 1.4 billion in shares and investment funds and switched to bonds for EUR 1 billion.  

The insurers' securities portfolio increased by EUR 9.5 billion to EUR 281 billion as at the end of September, mainly on the back of the recovery of the equity and bond market in the third quarter of 2012. The composition also changed, as a result of equity and bond transactions. Shares worth nearly EUR 1 billion were sold, mainly in companies, half of which are located in the Netherlands. The sales were counterbalanced by net bond purchases.

Insurers buy bonds and sell shares

But this portfolio also witnessed a shift. Bonds issued by mainly German, UK and Spanish banks were sold (EUR 0.6 billion). Bonds issued by the French government were also sold. Following the recovery of the interest in French government paper in the previous quarter, net sales worth EUR 1 billion were once again made this quarter. The proceeds were invested mainly in German government paper (EUR 1.6 billion), while bonds issued by the Netherlands, the European Union, the EFSF and by North American governments were also purchased.

On balance, long-term government bonds worth more than EUR 2 billion were purchased, creating an expansion of the portfolio to EUR 124 billion (compared to EUR 118 billion at the end of June). German and Dutch bonds each account for more than EUR 40 billion of that sum, while the exposure to France saw a marked drop to EUR 15 billion.