- At the end of last year, there was a significant increase in car purchases because people wanted to avoid the tax on electric cars that was introduced at the turn of the year. In January, however, car purchases were historically low. That is the main reason why Mainland-Norway's GDP is now decreasing, says Head of National Accounts, Pål Sletten.
New figures from the National Accounts show the decline in wholesale and retail trade contributed 0.3 percentage points to the decline in Mainland-Norway's GDP. Apart from wholesale and retail trade, there was growth in the service industries. In addition, value added in manufacturing increased. The rolling three-month growth for Mainland-Norway’s GDP was 0.4 per cent from August-October to November-January.
- Since the end of 2022, car purchases have caused unusually large fluctuations in the monthly national account figures. However, the underlying developments in the mainland economy appear to be positive, but somewhat weak, says Sletten.
Natural gas and electricity prices continued to decline in January. This reduced the value of Norway's production and exports. Total GDP fell 2.7 per cent measured in current prices.
- Energy prices have affected the overall price increases in the economy, but since the peak in August last year, the prices of energy goods have fallen significantly. Energy prices still remain quite high, however, says Sletten.
The value added in the service industries, including housing services, declined 0.3 per cent from December to January. The decrease in the wholesale and retail trade made the most significant contribution due to the sharp decrease in car purchases. Excluding retail trade, the service industries grew.
Manufacturing and mining grew 0.8 per cent. Production of computers, electronics and optical products, and metal products contributed most to the growth. At the same time, the manufacture of food products, beverages and tobacco declined especially within processing and preservation of fish.
Production of other goods, which includes primary industries, electricity production and construction, fell 0,4 per cent. Activity in the construction sector increased; however, there was a decline in fishing and electricity, gas and steam.
The value added in the general government fell 0,2 per cent. The activity in the central government remained unchanged, while activity in local government fell 0,3 per cent. Education was the primary cause of the decline in local government. The total reduction was reduced by increased growth within arts, entertainment and recreation and activities in the municipalities.
Oil and natural gas extraction increased 0,2 per cent, measured in volume. Even so, declining gas prices in January resulted in a decline of 9,4 per cent for the gross product in the oil and natural gas industry measured in current prices.
Household consumption fell 11.5 per cent from December to January. The sharp fall was mainly due to the decline in car purchases. From December to January, transportation consumption fell 56.3 per cent. Excluding car purchases, household consumption rose 0.1 per cent from December to January.
As a result of the large decline in car purchases, seasonally adjusted consumption of goods fell 22.5 per cent. At the same time, the consumption of food and non-alcoholic beverages increased 3.1 per cent, which may be related to the announced increase in food prices in February.
Service consumption has increased steadily over the past year and rose 0.3 per cent from December to January. Restaurant and hotel services and cultural services increased.
The twelve-month growth in the price of household consumption was 7.2 per cent in January, measured by the national accounts' consumption deflator. In comparison, the twelve-month growth in the consumer price index (CPI) was 7.0 per cent. Despite electricity prices falling between December and January, electricity still increased the twelve-month growth. This is because the price of electricity fell between December and January a year ago. In addition, the prices of food and beverages rose.
Export and import
Measured in current prices, total exports fell 13.5 per cent in January, seasonally adjusted. Both prices and the volume of total exports fell, but most of the fall was due to falling prices for natural gas. The value of total imports fell 2.4 per cent. The trade balance was thus reduced in January.
Measured in constant 2020 prices, total exports fell 1.3 per cent. There was a decrease in volume in both goods and services exports, but lower exports of traditional goods decreased the most; especially refined petroleum products, but also chemical products and minerals. The export of services was particularly decreased by ocean transport, but also financial services.
The import volume fell 3 per cent in January. Imports of goods fell 4.7 per cent. The majority of the decline was due to car imports falling by more than 50 per cent from the high level in December.
Gross fixed capital formation decreased 2.2 per cent in January. The rolling three-month growth rate shows a decrease of -0.3 per cent from August-October to November-January. After an increase of 2.0 per cent in December, dwelling services fell 2.5 per cent in January. The rolling three-month decline was -0.1 per cent.
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.
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.
In some areas, new statistics for previous months have been incorporated and the growth in GDP Mainland Norway has been revised down from 0.4 to 0.3 per cent in December. The macro picture is nevertheless still the same as previously published.