Lower oil prices gave less surplus

Current account surplus accounted for NOK 83 billion in the third quarter; 28 percent less than the corresponding quarter in 2008. The main reason for this is a decline in oil prices.

Since the third quarter of 2008, there has been a 30 percent decline in the price of crude oil and natural gas, together with a 4 percent increase in the export volume. The changes have resulted in a fall in export value of crude oil and natural gas from NOK 150 to NOK 109 billion, and this is the main cause of the decline in the current account surplus.

Weaker decline in exports and imports

The surplus of foreign trade in goods and services accounted for NOK 77 billion; about a third of the value of the third quarter in 2008. The value of total exports and imports went down by 19 and 12 per cent respectively; a decline largely to be attributed to trade in goods.

Trade in goods make up the majority of the balance of goods and services. Overall, the value of the Norwegian merchandise exports fell by 23 percent to NOK 181.2 billion. The total import value of goods is estimated at NOK 106.3 billion; a decline of 17 percent.

The estimations show a slight decline in trade in services. Exports went down by 1.9 percent to NOK 63.7 billion, while imports declined by 1.3 per cent to NOK 61.2 billion. Overall, this gives a surplus on the service balance of NOK 1.8 billion; a decrease of 0.5 billion.

Increased surplus in balance of income and current transfers

The surplus of the balance of income and current transfers increased by NOK 1.3 billion from the third quarter of 2008, to NOK 6.3 billion.

Due to the low Norwegian and international interest rates, interest rate transfers to abroad decreased by 60 percent, while interest income from abroad decreased by 45 percent.

Since the previous publication, all quarters from the first quarter of 2007 have been revised.

2007 and 2008 audits have largely been adjusted downwards compared to previously published figures. The current account surplus was revised down 12.4 percent in 2007 and 4.8 percent in 2008, with the largest audits being made on the balance of income and current transfers. The 2007 figures were revised down NOK 26.9 billion, while 2008 was reduced by NOK 17.8 billion. Major audits were made on dividends and reinvested earnings.

The new estimate for reinvested earnings is the largest revisions for the first and second quarter of 2009. Other revisions are made to, among others, travel and petroleum services.

Direct investment abroad still at a high level

Norwegian direct investment abroad amounted to NOK 62 billon in the third quarter of 2009 and to NOK 143 billion in the first through third quarter of 2009. Foreign direct investment in Norway made up only a fraction of these amounts in the same periods.

With regard to portfolio investment, non-residents’ purchases of Norwegian government bonds and bills amounted to NOK 55 billion in the third quarter of 2009. In the same period, the banks reduced their deposits abroad by NOK 59 billion and by NOK 111 billion so far in 2009.

The large reduction in loans abroad through 2009 is to a large extent caused by reduced repo loans in the portfolio of the Government Pension Fund – Global.

Revaluations in the third quarter of 2009 amounted to NOK 109 billion. This means that the heavy revaluation losses in the first quarter were regained by the end of the third quarter.

Source: Statistics Norway

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