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Economy in Brief

Energy Output Lifts Norwegian Industrial Production
by Carol Stone March 5, 2004

Industrial production in Norway rose 1.5% in January, making a 0.5% cumulative gain since January 2003. However, most traditional sectors of Norwegian industry experienced declines. Total manufacturing, for example, was off 2.8% in January from a year ago, encompassing a 10.5% drop in capital goods output.

There is clearly an offsetting factor and for Norway, that is energy production. Statistics Norway informs that the energy sector constitutes more than half of the nation's industry, 54.9% of value added in 2003. It can thus counter moves in most any other segment of the economy. So the weakness in capital goods, and in a traditional Norwegian stronghold, wood and wood products, is balanced by expansion in the energy sector.

Such domination by one sector obviously works both ways, and declines in energy output worsened economic performance in 1998 and again in 2002. However, a strong gain in 2001 prevented Norway from experiencing contraction then, even as many other major economies were in the doldrums.

12-Month % Changes, Selected Sectors 2003 Weights Jan 2004 Dec 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998
Total 1000.0  +0.5 -1.0 -5.4 +1.0 -0.2 +5.4 -4.6
Energy Goods 548.7  +3.9 -0.3 -10.4 +7.9 +1.4 +10.2 -8.1
Capital Goods 138.0  -10.5 -6.9 -0.2 -2.3 -0.4 -11.6 +7.6
Manufacturing  451.1  -2.8 -0.1 -3.1 -3.1 -4.4 -1.1 -0.2
Food 72.4  -0.3 +1.9 -3.7 -1.8 -8.1 +6.6 -4.8
Wood 16.0  -10.7 -2.7 -3.3 -10.0 -1.7 +15.8 -17.5
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