- Relatively large fluctuations in certain industries pulled in different directions in November. However, the underlying picture is that growth in the mainland economy continued, says Pål Sletten, head of section for national accounts.
New figures from the National Accounts show that GDP Mainland-Norway grew from October to November. An increase in wholesale and retail trade was the main contributors to the growth.
- Retail trade excluding motor vehicles grew a little in November but a spike in car purchases caused a significant increase in wholesale and retail trade in total, says Sletten.
The imports of motor vehicles sometimes come in large batches. The purchases may have taken place a while ago. But they are registered in the national accounts only when the shipments arrive in Norway.
- The large increase in car purchases we see in October and November is due to production constraints and delays earlier in the year, as well as an increase in car taxes from January 2023, says Sletten.
The fishing and electricity industries also contributed to the mainland growth. Activity in these industries fluctuates a lot from month to month and can have a large impact on the monthly national accounts. At the same time, mainland growth was dampened by a sharp decline in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, partly due to shutdowns in some production units.
Because of the regular fluctuations in national accounts monthly figures, it is beneficial to also consider the development over three-month periods. From June-August to September-November, GDP Mainland-Norway increased 1.0 percent.
Several large variations in November were due to industries that fluctuate a lot from month to month. Looking at the rolling three-month growth in GDP of Mainland -Norway, some of this variance is smoothed out, and we see that the economy has grown steadily in the last few months, says Sletten.
The price of natural gas fell in October. In November the price rose sharply so that overall GDP grew by 7.4 percent, measured in current prices. Although the level was lower than earlier in the year. In the three-month period September-November, the value of the overall GDP was 7.6 percent lower than June-August.
The value added in the service industries, including housing services, increased by 0.4 percent from October to November. The growth in wholesale and retail trade contributed the most due to an increase in car purchases. Excluding retail trade, growth in the service industries was close to zero.
Manufacturing and mining decreased by 1.1 percent in November. Production of chemical and pharmaceutical products contributed the most to the decline, partly due to shutdowns in some units and partly due to some units having unusually high activity in October.
Production of other goods, which includes primary industries, electricity production and construction increased by 1.0 percent. Fishing contributed the most to the increase, after a decline the previous month. Activity also increased in the electricity industry. The contributions of the latter two industries to GDP Mainland-Norway amounted to 0.1 percentage point in total.
The value-added in the general government fell by 0.2 percent. Central government activity remained flat, while activity in local government administration decreased by 0.4 percent due to decreasing of activity in human health services.
Measured in volume, oil and natural gas extraction decreased by 0.3 percent. At the same time, the gas price increased sharply in November, and the gross product in the extraction industry grew by 23.8 percent, measured in current prices. This must be seen in relation to the price of oil and gas falling in October to the lowest monthly level so far this year. Compared to the peak in August, however, the value of the gross product in the extraction industry was reduced by 34.7 percent in November.
Total household consumption increased by 1.2 percent from October to November, as a result of a strong increase in purchases of vehicles. Excluding car purchases, consumption only increased by 0.2 percent.
Consumption of goods increased by 2.6 percent overall, and 0.3 percent excluding car purchases. Consumption of services increased by 0.2 percent, mainly driven by an increase in consumption of hotel and restaurant services. Norwegian consumption abroad increased by 1.5 percent in November, while foreign consumption in Norway increased by 7.7 percent.
Export and import
Seasonally adjusted total exports measured in constant prices remained unchangeg from October to November. Exports of crude oil and natural gas decreased, while both traditional goods exports and service exports increased. Goods exports were particularly pulled up by workshop products, while service exports were increased by financial and insurance services.
Measured in current prices, exports grew by 16.8 percent in November. The increase was mainly due to the sharp rise in the price of natural gas. However, the level was 20 percent lower than the peak in August.
Total imports grew by 1.0 percent in November, measured in constant prices. It was due to a surge in vehicle-imports, but also a rise in imports of refined petroleum products. The overall prices on imported goods diminished slightly.
Gross fixed capital formation had a nearly flat trajectory with a decrease of 0.1 percent in November. The rolling three-month growth rate shows a decrease of 2.9 percent for the period September-November. Measured in fixed prices, investments in dwelling services fell by 1 percent in November and by 0.6 percent in the three-month period September-November.
For gross fixed capital formation, there is low availability of monthly information. For petroleum investments, investments in manufacturing, mining and power supply, information on planned investments is used as reported by the companies.
In connection with new monthly and quarterly figures, retroactive revisions might occur. The statistics used will not normally change backwards, but seasonally adjusted series can still be affected. This is because the basis for the seasonal adjustment changes when new periods are added.
However, the revisions in previous figures are larger than usual in November. This is due to a technical error in the previous month's national accounts publication on December 13th, which has now been corrected. The correction causes revisions in GDP measured in both fixed and current prices for the entirety of 2022, but especially for the three-month period July-September. The revisions in Mainland GDP are minor. Compared to the previous publication, the growth rate in constant prices is down by 0.1 percentage points in September, and increased by the same amount in October.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, from March 2020 to March 2022, new figures were treated as extreme values, and were not included in the basis for the calculation of the seasonal pattern. The many changes in national accounts figures since February 2020 means that new periods that are now added in the seasonal adjustment, from and including April 2022, can produce larger revisions than normal in the seasonal pattern.