Norwegian Economy

Norway has a thriving economy, with state ownership of various businesses in key areas of the economy. Norway’s economy is heavily invested in the petroleum business, at a solid 36% crude oil export, and 26% petroleum gases export, however, it has a sizable amount of machinery, raw metals, fish, and chemical exports. Unfortunately, much of the machinery produced is machinery for petroleum based ventures.

Before the industrial revolution, and the discovery of oil, Norway’s economy was largely based on agriculture, timber, and fishing. Most of Norway is not fertile ground, except in areas of Hedemarken and Østfold, so crops were limited to hardy grains and hardy livestock, such as sheep, goats, cattle, and pigs. Fishing was also a important source of food. Potatoes were introduced to Norway in the 18th century, which provided relief to the Norwegians.

Norway exports about $146 billion annually, and is in the top 25% of export countries. A full 26.5% of Norway’s exports go to the UK, followed by The Netherlands and Germany, each at about 12%.

The Norwegian State owns a large interest in several key industrial sectors, such as Statoil, the largest petroleum producer, Statkraft, the State owned electric company, Norsk Hydro, an aluminum and renewable energy company, DNB, Norway’s largest financial service group, and Telenor, a telecommunications company. All in all, the State controls around 30% of all publicly traded companies.

The oil industry is showing signs of beginning to slow, and this is worrysome for Norway’s longterm financial health, however, Norway has a robust Sovereign Wealth Fund, currently holding $860 billion. The oil industry isn’t on the verge of collapse, so the slowdown, while probably permanent, is not in any danger of immediately reducing, so as long as the Norwegian government begins to shift the economy to focus on other things in the next 10-30 years, then the Norwegian economy should continue to thrive.

Sources:

Interactive export chart
Interactive import chart

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