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Economy in Brief

Huge Role for Oil & Equipment in Norway Trade
by Carol Stone May 18, 2005

Perhaps it goes without saying that energy production is a major part of the Norwegian economy. But balance of trade data, which were reported today for April, underscore that fact dramatically. The total balance of trade is seen to be a surplus of NKr27.6 billion in April, up from March's NKr25.9 billion and a monthly average of NKr20.1 billion. The petroleum sector more than accounts for the surplus, as apart from it, the trade accounts run deficits, the latest at NKr7.3 billion. The energy sector exports were NKr22.0 billion in April, a little more than 61% of total exports.

"Energy sector" is a term we apply to the Central Statistics Bureau's listing of "crude oil, natural gas, ships and oil platforms". Norway is unusual among oil exporting nations in also constructing the transportation equipment and the water-borne drilling rigs. In April, these exports were a mere NKr28 million, but when even a single rig or ship is delivered, these exports can spike to NKr2 or 3 billion.

The price of energy, of course, also plays a major role in the reported amount of energy-related exports and thence the overall trade surplus. In the second chart, the close comparison is readily apparent. There, we used the balance of trade converted to US$, plotted with the price of Brent crude. The correlation is a very tight 91%. The correlation with the balance expressed in Kroner is still 84%.

Data for Norway are included in Haver's "NORDIC" and "G10" databases. Conversions to US dollars and some seasonal adjustment is performed in the series contained in G10/Norway.

Monthly Averages
Millions NKr
Apr 2005 Mar 2005 Apr 2004
2004 2003 2002
Trade Balance 27,605 25,943 20,326 20,133 16,639 16,377
  ex Energy Sector* -7,264 -6,632 -6,771 -7,876 -6,314 -5,751
Exports 57,081 54,166 44,956 47,298 40,245 39,413
  ex Energy Sector* 22,045 21,433 17,816 18,809 16,800 16,663
Kroner/US$ 6.3199 6.1972 6.9242 6.7412 7.0800 7.9839
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