Uncertain times for mainland exports
External economy
muh, External trade in goods, import, export, balance of trade (export minus import), mainland exports, imports excluding ships and oil platforms, trade ( between countries, continents and trade regions), international product groups (for example hs, sitc and bec), product groups (for example food, crude oil and metals)External trade , External economy

External trade in goodsNovember 2011



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Uncertain times for mainland exports

The trade surplus for November amounted to NOK 35.5 billion, up 9.6 per cent from the same month last year. Imports were strong, with an increase of 6.9 per cent, totalling NOK 43.7 billion. Despite higher values for mainland exports; up 3.1 per cent, most commodity groups showed declining values compared to last year.

Tables for November were published at 10.40 am, 15 December 2011.

Total commodity exports in November came to NOK 79.2 billion. Higher values for crude oil and natural gas were once again decisive in determining the 8.1 per cent increase. Mainland exports amounted to NOK 32.1 billion. Despite being higher than both November 2010 and October this year, a large increase in petroleum products disguised declines for almost all commodity groups. For imports, all commodity groups grew.

High oil prices continue

We exported crude oil for NOK 26.3 billion in November; almost 11 per cent more than in the same month in 2010. The number of barrels exported was however a good deal lower, with just under 41 million barrels in November this year compared to 46 million last year, which corresponds to a decline of 13 per cent. Nevertheless, export levels were not unusual in light of previous months this year, although it was the continued high oil prices that kept values high. Oil prices for November 2011 were at NOK 646 per barrel compared to NOK 517 per barrel last year. The price also rose by NOK 15 per barrel from October.

Natural gas values on the rise

The value of the November exports of natural gas, both in gaseous state and liquefied, went up by 13.8 per cent compared with the same period last year. In total this month, export values came to NOK 20.4 billion. The quantity of natural gas was still slightly lower than last November, with 9 billion standard cubic metres exported in 2011 compared to 9.3 billion last year. Similarly to oil, gas prices were at a higher level than they were in November 2010.

External trade in goods, excl. ships and oil platforms. NOK million
  January-November Change in per cent November Change in per cent
  2010 2011 2010 2011
1 Imports  409 912        450 257 9,8        40 853        43 690 6,9
2 Exports  709 072  800 997 13.0 73 194 79 146 8.1
Of which            
Crude oil  248 908  294 960 18.5 23 746 26 314 10.8
Natural gas  148 696  168 750 13.5 17 920 20 385 13.8
Condensates 5 913 7 628 29.0  429  389 -9.4
3 Exports excl. crude oil, natural gas and condensates  305 555  329 659 7.9 31 099 32 058 3.1
4 Trade balance (2-1)  299 160  350 740 17.2 32 341 35 456 9.6
5 Trade balance excl. oil, natural gas and condensates (3-1) -104 357 -120 598 . -9 753 -11 632 .

Exposed export industry

Exports, excluding ships, oil platforms, crude oil, natural gas and condensates, came to NOK 32.1 billion; around 3 per cent higher than last year.

The total growth this month was almost exclusively due to a large increase of NOK 3 billion for petroleum products. The group came to NOK 4.7 billion in total, following both an upward rise in average prices and volume. A few other sub-groups also went up, including liquid propane and butane plus machines for special industries.

However, most commodity groups declined in November. The groups machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, and food and live animals fell the most. The value of the sub-group general industrial machinery was halved compared to last year, coming to NOK 1.1 billion for this November. There may, however, naturally be some variation from year to year for this specific group. The more steady group metals other than iron and steel fell by nearly 20 per cent to a total of NOK 3.3 billion for November. This was also about 7 per cent lower than October values. Otherwise, in the food group, fish exports continued to fall, down 8.1 per cent from last year to a total of NOK 5 billion in November 2011. Lower salmon exports constituted most of the NOK 440 million decrease.

Reduced exports to the US

The current financial worries were partially visible in the trade data in terms of lower export values to certain countries. While exports to the EU as a whole so far this year have remained strong, up 12.6 per cent when comparing the time period January to November 2010 to 2011, some countries stand out in a more negative direction. When looking at the countries in crisis, exports to Greece so far were down 32 per cent, while exports to Italy decreased by 6 per cent. Trade with Portugal has also declined by 3 per cent, while Spanish exports are 5 per cent lower. However, none of these constitute a large share of Norwegian export values. More worrying could be the fact that so far this year compared to last year, exports to the USA have been reduced by 5 per cent, since this represents 8.5 per cent of Norwegian export values. Several major industrial commodity groups fell, while the largest single decline was for fish exports. Exports to Asia were also 9 per cent lower during the same period, mainly driven by decreases in machinery exports to South Korea and Singapore. Exports to China in the period January-November 2010 to 2011 have, on the other hand, increased by 15 per cent.

Strong November imports

We imported goods, excluding ships and oil platforms, amounting to NOK43.7 billion in November. This was almost 7 per cent higher than the same period in 2010.

Imports of all commodity groups showed increases compared with November last year. The largest absolute upturns were in the groups machinery and transport equipment, non-edible raw materials plus food and live animals, which rose by roughly 5, 28 and 19 per cent respectively. A generally higher level of investment in 2011 compared with last year may partially be the cause of the rise for machines. Of the individual commodities, petroleum products increased the most, coming in at a total value of NOK 2.6 billion for the group, which was 43 per cent higher than November 2010. Imports of the group metalliferious ores and metal scrap reached NOK 1.9 billion; 31.9 per cent more than last year. Finally, in the run up to Christmas, imports of all food groups increased, especially grain and grain products.

There were few declines on the sub-group level for November. Nevertheless, metals other than iron and steel stood out, as the values were halved from NOK 1.4 billion in November last year to NOK 672 million this year.