Norway has its lowest trade surplus in 17 years

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Norway’s trade surplus fell 36.3% last year compared with the previous year. It was at its lowest level since 1999. The explanation lies in the petroleum industry.

Exports of goods totaled 747 billion last year, a decrease of 10.6% from 2015, according to Statistics Norway (SSB).

The reduction is largely due to lower oil and gas prices. Export of natural gas amounted to 160.2 billion in 2016, and was thus 27.4% down by comparison to 2015.

The decline is due to a fall in prices. For natural gas in gaseous form, the annual average was 27.5% lower, whereas the amount of gas exported was virtually unchanged.

Oil export value also plunged down

The export value of crude oil decreased by 5.8% from 2015, and amounted to 185.8 billion in 2016. Here too, the reduction was due to lower prices, despite an increase seen during the year.

The annual average price ended at 363 per barrel, making it 12.4% lower than in 2015. The amount of exported oil rose for the third consecutive year, and 512 million barrels, represented an increase of 7.5 percent.

Weakened mainland exports pulled the trade balance down. Revenues from mainland exports fell 4.3% from 2015, totaling 387 billion in 2016.

Much of the reduction is due to a fall in exports of industrial machinery. A large proportion of these go to oil and gas related activities abroad. A reduction of exports of refined petroleum products also contributed to the drop.

On a somewhat brighter note, fish exports went in the opposite direction. Once again, prices played a major part, so a strong increase in prices led to record high export values in 2016.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today