Trade surplus hits new high

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Norway’s trade surplus was higher than ever before during the first half of this year, even though the price of oil and the amount of oil exported fell. One local economist noted that the growth shows what a “privileged” economic position Norway is in, at least for now.

Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that the trade surplus (the difference between the value of Norwegian exports and the import of goods and services) climbed by nearly 25 percent from the first half of 2011 to the first half of 2012, to almost NOK 242 billion. Exports rose by 8.9 percent, while imports rose by 4.9 percent.

Much of the increase was tied to the volume and price of natural gas exports. Their value jumped from NOK 12.2 billion to NOK 18.7 billion, while export volume rose from 47.2- to 56.2 billion standard cubic meters, according to DN, citing state statistics bureau SSB.

Karen Helene Ulltveit-Moe, a professor in social economy at the University of Oslo, said the trade surplus puts Norway in “a special class,” but she nonetheless warns that economic problems in Europe will affect Norwegian industry and exports over time.

“I’m pessimistic about Norwegian industry, because our biggest trading partner is the rest of Europe, and things aren’t going well there,” Ulltveit-Moe told DN.

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