Strong increase in imports
In March, the export of goods reached NOK 70.5 billion, while imports came to NOK 41.5 billion. The trade surplus amounted to NOK 29 billion, down 7.5 per cent from March last year and 10.4 per cent from February this year.
The import value increased by NOK 5.1 billion compared with March last year, while exports increased by NOK 2.8 billion. The March 2010 import value was the highest since October 2008. An increase in the import value of road vehicles had a large bearing on the high import value compared with March last year. The increase in the export value was a result of a strong increase in the export value of crude oil, combined with a significant decline in the export of natural gas.
Rising price of crude oil
The export value of crude oil exceeded NOK 24.3 billion in March. This was an increase of NOK 6.1 billion compared with March last year, despite a decline in the number of barrels exported from 56 million in March last year to 51 million this year. The rise in export value was due to a significant rise in oil prices over the last year. The average price per barrel of crude oil reached NOK 473 million in March 2010, while the average price in March 2009 came to NOK 324 per barrel; an increase of NOK 149 per barrel.
Natural gas – increased volume, but lower export value
In March, the export value of natural gas came to NOK 15.4 billion, down 7.4 billion from March last year. In this context it should be considered that the first quarter of 2009 was the strongest quarter in the history of the Norwegian natural gas export due to the high price level at the turn of the year 2008-2009. Compared with February this year, the export of natural gas in gaseous form has increased by NOK 1 billion.
The export volume for natural gas in gaseous state came to 9.7 billion cubic metres in March this year, up 766 million cubic metres from the same month last year and up 699 million cubic metres from February this year.
Increased exports of refined mineral products, metals and fish
In March, we exported goods, excluding crude oil, natural gas, condensates, ships and oil platforms worth NOK 30.4 billion. An increase of NOK 4 billion compared with the same period last year.
Exports of refined mineral products had the largest increase, up by NOK 1.8 billion compared with March last year. In addition, exports of non-ferrous metals increased by NOK 1.3 billion, and amounted to NOK 3.6 billion. The export of fish, crustaceans and molluscs came to NOK 4.5 billion, up NOK 1 billion from March 2009. Volume and price increases with regard to the export of salmon are of great importance for the rise in the export value of this group.
The largest decrease in export value was in trade with machinery and transport equipment compared with March last year. In March 2010, the export value came to NOK 6.8 billion, a decrease of NOK 804 million from March 2009. Machinery specialised for particular industries had the largest decline within this group.
High imports of cars
The import value of goods excluding ships and oil platforms reached NOK 41.5 billion in March. This is an increase of 14.1 per cent compared with March last year.
With an increase of NOK 1.7 billion, the group road vehicles had the highest increase compared with the same month last year. In March 2010 we imported road vehicles to an amount of NOK 4.4 billion, the highest import value since April 2008.
In addition, the import of metal ores and metal scrap came to 2.5 billion in March; an increase of 1.5 billion, which significantly contributes to the increase in import value compared with March 2009.
Source: Statistics Norway