THE Church Commissioners lost an estimated £250 million on Monday, when the Stock Market responded to the expected economic effects of the coronavirus.
The Commissioners give details of their portfolio only once a year, in their annual report, but they hold roughly 40 per cent of their £8.3 billion investment in equities, which lost between seven and eight per cent of their value in Monday’s trading worldwide. This would put their losses for the day at about £250 million.
A spokesperson for the Church Commissioners on Wednesday emphasised the long-term stability of the Church’s investments. “While the coronavirus will undoubtedly have a significant impact on economic activity and investment markets in the short term, it is too early to tell the longer-term effects.”
The Commissioners’ historic land-holdings means that they are less exposed to the vagaries of the market than many other funds. “This means we are less impacted than some in environments like these,” the spokesman said, “although clearly not immune from the large market falls we have seen over the past few days.”
The spokesman maintained that, thanks to the fund’s diversification, the Commissioners had no plans to alter their pledge to provide the C of E with up to £155 million between now and 2022.
In his Budget announcement on Wednesday, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced a package worth £30 billion, to help the economy to cope with the coronavirus outbreak. The package included an additional £5 billion for the NHS and other public services.
Mr Sunak said that anyone who had to self-isolate would be entitled to statutory sick pay. “We are doing everything we can to keep this country and our people healthy and financially secure,” he said.