Debt adds to the oil dependency threat

NEWS ANALYSIS: Norway’s dependency on its oil and gas industry isn’t the only thing threatening the economy. After a week of falling oil prices, state financial regulators are also sounding alarms over Norwegians’ record high household debt at a time when interest rates are due to rise. “The household debt burden, measured in terms of […]

Economists relieved as rates stay low

Economists had warned against any increase in Norwegian interest rates right now, and the country’s central bank may well have taken note. Its governor and board decided on Thursday to keep Norges Bank’s policy rate unchanged at just 0.75 percent, opting to delay an increase until the spring. “Our current assessment of the outlook and […]

Finance minister warns lenders

“Too much consumer loan debt can become a problem,” warned Finance Minister Siv Jensen after calling in lenders offering unsecured loans at high interest rates. Jensen told them that if they don’t restrict activity themselves, new regulations will. Jensen was joined by Justice Minister Tor Mikkel Wara and the minister in charge of consumer issues, […]

Government acts to curb consumer debt

Norway’s conservative government coalition, alarmed by the growth of consumer debt in the country, followed through this week on plans to curb it. Three ministries acted together to present stricter regulations, establishment of a debt register and monthly billings that clearly show a customers’ total debt. Finance Minister Siv Jensen is especially cracking down on what she […]

Finance minister tackles high debt

Worried about both rising debt levels and sky-high housing prices, Finance Minister Siv Jensen has rolled out a package of measures to make it harder to qualify for mortgages, especially in the Oslo area. She’s especially cracking down on investors and speculators in the housing market who are accused of driving up prices. “High debt makes […]

Debt levels soar as shoppers roared

Norwegian shoppers literally roared their way into the annual Christmas shopping season (julehandel) at “Black Friday” sales heading into the weekend, just as more reports emerged of high household debt levels. That’s not a good combination, economists warned, but sales were expected to climb once again. Noisy crowds gathered around the entrances of several shopping centers in Norway in the […]

Warnings issued over interest rates

High debt levels in Norway combined with a sudden spike in interest rates could quickly hit the country’s economy harder than cutbacks in the oil industry have. Bankers, economists and financial planners warn Norwegians against being blind to the prospect, even though the central bank’s board is expected to keep rates stable at its next meeting on […]

Household debt hits new historic high

Despite economic uncertainty, Norwegians continue to take on more household debt to finance high housing prices. Overall debt is now rising faster than income, and the combination of mortgage obligations and record high prices has spurred new warnings of a real estate crash. The warnings came this week in a new financial outlook published by […]

Norwegians worst at following a household budget

Only 26 percent of Norwegians regularly set up a household budget and follow it, according to a new survey conducted by research firm Respons Analyse for the country’s bigget bank, DNB. That compares to 61 percent of Europeans on average. The relative lack of private financial discipline is linked to Norwegians’ high standard of living and […]

Strict new lending rules unwelcome

Real estate brokers, bankers and borrowers alike are not laying out the welcome mat for strict new residential lending rules proposed by Norwegian finance regulators. The new rules are aimed at lowering Norway’s record-high housing prices and warding off a debt crisis, but critics are far from convinced they’ll have the desired effect. Protests started pouring in to Finance Minister Siv Jensen as […]