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Finance minister confident of market rebound

By Giff Johnson MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Marianas Variety, Sept. 12, 2011) – The Marshall Islands national trust fund lost about 10 percent of its value last month, but Marshall Islands Finance Minister Jack Ading is confident of the investments rebounding.

Earlier last week, the Marshall Islands government invested an additional $1.1 million into the trust fund.

"We put in $100,000 earlier in the year, so this will bring the contribution to $1.2 million," he said Thursday. "Despite budget challenges, we are putting money away for the future."

Marshall Islands leaders and agencies such as the International Monetary Fund have expressed concern that the trust fund needs additional investments to bring it up to a level that can replace United States provided grant funding that ends after 2023.

These fears were heightened by last month’s decline of the U.S. and European stock markets on fears of deepening economic problems. Ading said the trust fund was hammered with losses on the stock market a month ago when investors throughout the world lost on investments.

At the end of June, the trust fund was at about $140 million. Ading said the fund lost $14 million. "But we expect it to bounce back," he said.

The U.S. contributes to the trust fund annually in increasing amounts. Last October, the U.S. injected $11,722,850 to the trust fund. The FY2012 contribution that will be made next month will be $12,474,000, according to U.S. to the Marshall Islands Ambassador Martha Campbell.

Ading said the trust fund is for the welfare of future generations of Marshallese and the government is committed to putting more money away.

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