Norway is one of the richest countries in the
world and has an extensive welfare system and generally
high living standards among the population. The backbone
of the economy is a lucrative oil and natural gas
extraction combined with fishing, shipping and tourism.
Since the 1990s, the Norwegian state has saved huge sums
of oil money in a fund for future needs. The money has
also been used to avoid Norway being too negatively
affected by the downturn in the world economy.
Norway is a high-tech industrialized country with a
business sector dominated by oil and gas production.
Other important industries are hydroelectric power
generation, ore mining, wood and paper industry as well
as an extensive service sector, characterized by
tourism, shipping and other trade. Although the
importance of shipping operations to the economy has
declined significantly since the 1970s, Norway is still
one of the world's largest rednational nations.
Major imports by Norway, covering a full list of top products imported by the country and trade value for each product category.
The oil and natural gas are extracted on offshore
platforms and contribute about a quarter of the gross
domestic product (GDP). The mainland economy accounts
for the remaining three quarters. During periods of high
oil prices, Norway has invested a lot of money in
developing the oil and gas industry, and when several
large gas fields have been expanded at the same time,
the economy has been threatened by overheating. But the
strong Norwegian currency, the krone, has counteracted
that rising wage and energy costs have pushed inflation
too high. The state has also made money from taxes, fees
and royalties from the oil industry.
A small domestic market, a large import demand and a
dependence on oil and gas income make the Norwegian
economy vulnerable. When oil prices fall, the generally
large surplus in the trade and current account can
quickly be turned into deficit. In 2015, the bourgeois
government had to make an extra withdrawal from the oil
fund to cover the 2016 budget after oil prices on the
world market fell sharply from autumn 2014.
The Oil Fund was established in 1990 and was then
called the Government Petroleum Fund. The fund, which is
now called the Government Pension Fund - Global, will
serve as a reserve when oil prices fall sharply and
guarantee pension payments when the oil and gas fall.
Since 1995, most of the state's oil revenues are
allocated, while the budget is to be financed by the
mainland economy. After hard pressure to use more oil
money for welfare, the parliament decided in 2001 that
an annual return from the oil fund of 4 percent may be
used in the state budget. However, this proportion has
been exceeded for several years.
Abbreviationfinder.org: Check this abbreviation website to find three letter ISO codes for all countries in the world, including NOR which represents the country of Norway.
Thanks to the oil money, Norway has paid off the
external debt and the government debt is low. The funded
money also made the country perform well during the
international financial crisis 2008-2009.
Fast growing oil fund
The value of the fund has risen very sharply since
the 1990s. This means that the government can transfer
more oil money to the state budget and still utilize a
smaller share of the fund's return than before. Today,
the Norwegian Oil Fund is the world's largest government
investment fund and has served as a model for several
other countries that have found oil and whose income to
the Treasury has increased rapidly.
Compared to other Nordic countries, the state and
political influence over the Norwegian economy has long
been strong. In 1998, the telecommunications market was
opened to competition and in 2001 the state-owned oil
company Statoil was launched. Governments led by the
Labor Party have carried out the most privatizations,
while the central parties have often been hesitant. The
opposition to the sale of state property has mainly come
from Venstre and the Nationalist Progress Party.
Surplus in the trade balance
Since Norway has a small domestic market, foreign
trade is essential for the economy. The country exports
around half of the goods and services produced. Since
1990, Norway has had a surplus in the trade balance with
foreign countries, ie exports have been greater than
The oil and natural gas industry accounts for just
over two-thirds of the value of goods exports. Other
important export goods are seafood and metals.
Four-fifths of Norway's exports go to the EU. Most oil
and gas are sold to the UK. Germany, the Netherlands and
France are also major exporting countries.
Most of the import goods also come from the EU. The
largest importing countries are Sweden, Germany, China
and the United Kingdom. Of Sweden, Norway mainly buys
cars, machines, wood and paper. Private border trade in
cheaper food and spirits in Sweden is extensive.
Norway also has a significant trade in services, with
international shipping providing the largest revenue.
FACTS - FINANCE
GDP per person
US $ 81,807 (2018)
US $ 434,751 M (2018)
1.4 percent (2018)
Agriculture's share of GDP
1.8 percent (2018)
Manufacturing industry's share of GDP
5.7 percent (2018)
The service sector's share of GDP
55.6 percent (2018)
2.3 percent (2019)
Government debt's share of GDP
40.0 percent (2018)
Right largest party
H°yre's voter support increased significantly during
the year. In a poll, the Conservative Party gets the
biggest with 28 percent of the vote, compared to 26
percent for the Labor Party.
Controversial election of Nobel laureates
The Norwegian Nobel Committee's decision to award the
Peace Prize to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo
has led to harsh reactions from the Chinese authorities,
which halt Norwegian official visits and postpone a
trade agreement with Norway.
Strong EU resistance
An opinion poll shows a historically strong
opposition to Norwegian membership in the EU. Almost 57
per cent of Norwegians are against Norway joining the EU,
while just over 30 percent are in favor. The right is
the only party with a majority of EU-positive