Low balance of goods and services
External economy;National accounts and business cycles
ur, Balance of payments, current balance, direct investments, operational and capital accounts, financial accounts, investment abroad, foreign investment, transactions, stocks, financial assets, liabilities, portofolio investment, financial investments, revaluations, current account balance, balance of income and current transfers, reinvested earnings, net assets, imports, exportsBalance of payments, National accounts , National accounts and business cycles, External economy

Balance of paymentsQ1 2016



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Low balance of goods and services

For the first time since 1987, the surplus on Norway’s balance of goods and services is lower than the balance of income and transfers with the rest of the world. This situation appears to be the result of lower prices on oil and natural gas as opposed to higher dividends on investments abroad.

Balance of payments. NOK million
1st quarter 20152nd quarter 20153rd quarter 20154th quarter 20151st quarter 2016
Current account balance85 69372 09162 07552 85754 018
Balance of goods and services54 97441 20936 52842 26322 323
Balance of income and current transfers30 71930 88225 54710 59431 695
Capital transfers to abroad, net719122245739
Net lending, current account84 96271 96962 05152 85253 267
Direct investment28 33438 43826 04261 24919 725
Portofolio investment3 092143 687111 22143 328-82 407
Other investments-6 276-143 636-28 792-5 90634 810
Reserve assets (IMF breakdown)17 995-5 526-24 023-34 05041 610
Net lending, financial account43 14532 96384 44864 62113 738
Net errors and omissions41 81739 006-22 397-11 76939 529
Figure 1. The current account

Oil and gas prices remain low

Exports in the 1st quarter of 2016 were estimated at NOK 259 billon, which is lower than previous quarters in 2015. It is particularly the price of oil and gas that is contributing to this. The volumes of these products are increasing slightly. For more information about exports and imports, including price and volume considerations and seasonal adjustments, please see the quarterly national accounts. These accounts showed an export value for oil and gas that was NOK 20 billion lower than in the 4th quarter of 2015. 

Imports in the 1st quarter of 2016 are preliminarily estimated at NOK 236 billion, which is about NOK 15 billion less than in the 4th quarter, and also less than the other quarters in 2015. It is mainly the goods that are causing the decrease, while the services are estimated at the same levels as the previous quarter. 

The balance of goods and services is estimated at NOK 22 billion in the 1st quarter of 2016, which is NOK 20 billion less than the previous quarter. The balance of goods and services is at its lowest since before 2000. 

Balance of income and current transfers dominate

The balance of income and current transfers ended at NOK 32 billion in the 1st quarter of 2016, which is over NOK 9 billion more than the balance of goods and services. This is the first time that the income and current transfers have been higher than the balance of goods and services since 1987. This time it is due to the combination of low oil and gas prices and high dividends on investment abroad, partly as a result of a low-priced NOK. 

Increased deposits and reduced loans abroad from Norwegian banks

In the 1st quarter of 2016, total net purchases of financial assets amounted to NOK 203 billion. Norwegian banks invested large amounts in deposits abroad, while banks’ loans to non-residents were considerably reduced during the first quarter. The increase in foreign direct investment was driven by intra-group loans, while reduced investment in debt securities dominated the decline in portfolio investment abroad. 

The liability side saw a steady rise in direct investment, portfolio investment and other investment in Norway. Total net purchases were NOK 189 billion. 

RevisionsOpen and readClose

The current account balance has been revised by almost NOK 10 billion for 2015 as a result of new information.