Norway is investing part of its enormous oil wealth on the Hong Kong stock market. The SAR is one of four Asian markets selected for long-term investment by the Government Petroleum Fund (GPF). Established two years ago, the GPF intends to build a national fortune abroad from Norway's surplus oil revenue, which ranges from US$6 billion to US$8 billion a year. 'It's like a national pension fund for the future, something to fall back on when the oil dries up in about 50 years,' the Norwegian Consul-General, Rolf Willy Hansen, said. By last year, the fund had grown to US$15 billion - part of which has just been earmarked for the SAR, Tokyo, Singapore and Sydney. But the GPF is being careful not to rock markets with sudden swoops. 'The investments are very low-profile, so they don't affect markets,' Mr Hansen said. 'The fund is limited to buying a maximum of one per cent of any company, so it's not going to acquire half of HSBC, or anything like that.' However, the fund was avoiding investments in 'high risk' companies. A spokesman at the GPF said: 'One of the challenges is to ensure a diversified, worldwide investment strategy, combining moderate risk with sufficient and stable gains on a long-term basis.' Only the interest from the fund would eventually be funnelled back into the Norwegian economy, he said. Norway is the world's second largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and wealth from the 'black gold' discovered 25 years ago off the coast is the backbone of the national economy, accounting for more than half of all foreign earnings. This huge annual revenue has helped keep inflation down to two per cent and unemployment down to a manageable four per cent - with GDP growth ticking along comfortably for the fifth consecutive year at 3.5 per cent. Norges Bank, the central bank, is predicting the positive trend will continue into the new millennium. 'We are definitely among the more fortunate countries,' Mr Hansen said. 'We really can't complain about the economy these days - and it's all very much due to oil.' Only one cloud appears to lurk on the economic horizon. A recent national survey found 40 per cent of companies reporting recruitment problems as a result of tumbling unemployment - a syndrome experienced by Hong Kong in the early 1990s. Kjell Storvik, the central bank governor, warned the diminishing labour pool would push up wages by five to six per cent in the next two years and could jeopardise national prosperity.