NOK 147 billion surplus
General government surplus over the last four quarters is estimated at NOK 147 billion, which is an increase of NOK 28 billion from the corresponding period last year.
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The increased surplus, as shown by updated figures from general government revenue and expenditure can be attributed to rising petroleum prices, increased employment and a moderate increase in government expenditure.
The price of crude oil has risen markedly since the summer of 2017. Gas prices have also remained at higher levels than in the corresponding period last year. This yields more revenue to general government through improved operational surplus in the State’s Direct Financial Interest (SDFI) and dividends from Equinor (previously Statoil). Furthermore, the rising oil prices generate increased tax revenue from companies operating in the petroleum sector.
Moderate expenditure growth
Total general government expenditure has increased by nearly 4 per cent in the last four quarters. Low growth in social benefits helped moderate the total expenditure growth. The social benefits item includes cash transfers to individuals, including retirement pensions, disability benefits, unemployment benefits, work assessment allowance, sickness and parental benefits, education benefits, social assistance benefits, and housing allowances. In the last four quarters, these benefits have grown by 2 per cent. This low growth can be attributed in particular to reduced unemployment benefit expenditure owing to employment growth.