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Council / Value of council investments dip as coronavirus affects markets

‘Don’t panic’, however, is the message from councillors and officials

Lerwick Town Hall.

THE VALUE of Shetland Islands Council’s investments dropped by around £16 million over the month of February as the global markets took a hit from the effects of coronavirus.

The council’s pension fund investment also suffered to the tune of around £66 million over the same period.

Finance manager Jamie Manson told a meeting of the full council on Wednesday that the value of SIC reserves at the end of January was £368 million – but by the end of February it had slipped to £352 million.

The value also fell further at the start of March.

The SIC’s pension fund investment has also suffered from market turbulence, with the value falling in value by roughly £66 million .

The value sat at around £538 million at end of January, but by the end of February it fell to around £472 million.

Manson said he expects both sets of investments to experience further slides in value in the short-term before recovering when markets stabilise.

The issue of the SIC’s investments was also raised at the policy and resources committee earlier on Wednesday.

Councillor Robbie McGregor asked Manson if it was correct to think “don’t panic – this is a long-term strategy”.

The finance chief said that was “absolutely” the case.