Caisse de depot posts negative 2.3 per cent return in first six months of 2020

MONTREAL — The Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec says the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in posting a negative return of 2.3 per cent during the first six months of 2020.

The pension fund manager's net assets stood at $333 billion as of June 30, down from $340.1 billion as of Dec. 31.

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Despite the recent pullback, the Caisse says its annualized return has been 6.3 per cent over five years and 8.7 per cent over a decade.

Although the global economy has experienced "an unprecedented crisis," CEO Charles Emond says the financial institution is not experiencing a crisis like it did during the 2008 recession.

The Caisse's major real estate investments in shopping centres hurt results with its buildings and infrastructure portfolios declining 7.3 per cent since the start of the year while equities were negative five per cent due to its "limited presence of technology stocks."

Emond announced a plan for the Caisse to regain its growth by accelerating digital acquisitions and making changes in the investments of its real estate arm, Ivanhoe Cambridge.

"Exceptional central bank monetary policies coupled with historic government assistance programs have prevented the recession from becoming a depression, but there is a growing dichotomy between the real economy and financial markets," he said in a news release.

"With the pandemic having sharply accelerated trends, especially in technology and retail, our significant exposure to shopping centres and our underweight position in certain big tech stocks in equity markets impacted the portfolio's performance in the first half of the year."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 7, 2020.

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