TRENTON – New Jersey’s pension funds lost $10 billion in value in nine months, a reflection of the downturn in the investment markets since last summer.

The pension funds were valued at $91.5 billion as of May 31, according to a report made to the State Investment Council by the Treasury Department at a Wednesday meeting. They had peaked at $101.5 billion at the end of last August.

“The fact of the matter is that the markets across the board are having a hard time, and that has been the case throughout most of this year,” said Shoaib Khan, director and chief investment office in the state Division of Investment.

“Both calendar year and fiscal year performance are clearly negative in a meaningful way across several markets,” he said. “Unfortunately, there are very few hiding spots in these current market conditions, I would say.”

Despite a record $6.9 billion state contribution to the pensions last July, the funds ended May with their lowest value since April 2021.

The data shows the funds were down 6.3% in the first five months of 2022, which was slightly better than the -6.5% benchmark. May was the second-best month of the year so far, even though the funds’ value was down by $770 million, but that followed a steep loss of almost $3.9 billion in April.

“We didn’t add color to this page,” Khan said to the council in making the presentation. “If we had converted all the negative numbers to red, I think we would have a page that would show a number of – it would be a sea of red.”

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Since the end of May, markets are down further, including 2.4% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and 2.6% for the S&P 500 Index as of the close of markets Wednesday. The Nasdaq has been doing a bit better, down 0.4% since May 31.

Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com

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