External economy
The statistics show the yearly Norwegian current account balance with a geographical breakdown.

Balance of payments, geographical breakdown2015

As from 6 December 2017 the statistics "Balance of payments, geographical breakdown" will be published with "Balance of payments".


About the statistics


Name and topic

Name: Balance of payments, geographical breakdown
Topic: External economy

Responsible division

Division for National Accounts

Definitions of the main concepts and variables

As with the National Accounts, the balance of payments accounts are built around three basic concepts: statistical units, economic values and transactions. Briefly, the accounting systems describe transactions between statistical units in which economic values are provided or received in exchange for other economic values. Statistical units are institutional units that make economic decisions on an independent basis and can present complete accounts for their activities. The institutional unit normally coincides with a body corporate, e.g. a limited liability company or legal person. Economic items can either be real resources, i.e. goods and services, or financial items representing various claims and liabilities.

The basic criterion for entering a transaction in the balance of payments is that it involves an exchange between a domestic entity (resident) and a foreign entity (non-resident). Residents are institutional units that engage and intend to continue to engage in economic activities and transactions within a country's territory, with one year or more serving as the conventional guideline.

The Norwegian territory includes mainland Norway together with the Norwegian part of the Continental Shelf, Svalbard and Jan Mayen with Bjørnøya.

In the balance of payments, a transaction should in principle be allocated to the period in which there is a change of ownership of the economic value. Conventionally, it is often said that a change of ownership has taken place when the parties of the transaction register it in their books or accounts. In the case of exports and imports of goods, it is when the goods cross the border, as registered through customs declarations, that determines the time of recording the transaction in practice.

All transactions shall be valued at market prices. Market prices are defined as amounts of money that willing buyers pay to acquire something from willing sellers; the exchanges are made between independent parties and on the basis of commercial considerations only. Total exports and total imports shall be recorded at FOB prices 1 . On a detailed commodity level, CIF prices (cost-insurance-freight) are used for imports, i.e. including transport and insurance costs up to the border of the importing country. The exchange rate on the transaction date or the average rate for the shortest period applicable shall be used for converting transactions in foreign currencies into the national currency. Stocks of assets and liabilities are to be valued at prices or rates in effect at the time to which the balance sheet relates.

Income and expenditure are defined in the National Accounts and balance of payments excluding gains and losses, irrespective of whether they are realised or unrealised. Such items, however, help to explain total balance sheet changes that take place in the course of a period and are registered on the account for revaluation.

Balance of payments accounts are based on the rules for double entry bookkeeping. All transactions are represented by two entries, a credit and debit entry. Most transactions are those in which economic items are provided or received in exchange for other economic items, entailing that offsetting credit and debit entries will normally be registered. For example, exports of a good will be registered in the external trade statistics and recorded as a credit entry in the balance of payments accounts, whereas the accompanying increase in foreign assets, e.g. in the form of higher foreign exchange reserves, is registered in sources covering the financial account items and recorded as a transaction on the debit side of the balance of payments accounts. In other cases, when items are given away rather than exchanged, or a recording is one-sided for other reasons, there is only one recording in the data sources. In these cases a counter entry is constructed, in this example in the form of a transfer so that the double entry requirement is satisfied.


See also Concepts and definitions in national accounts

1 FOB = free on board, i.e. the value when passing the border of the country of exports.

2 Certain types of debt forgiveness and a change in a statistical unit's sectoral classification are examples of balance sheet changes that are not based on transactions.


Standard classifications

In addition to the classifications and categories described in the international BoP and National Accounts manuals, it should be noted that both the Norwegian BoP and National Accounts make use of the EU product classification CPA (Classification of Products by Activity).

Administrative information

Regional level

The rest of the World is divided into country and country groups.

Frequency and timeliness

Annual publication.

International reporting

The balance of payments, geographical breakdown, is reported to IMF and Eurostat.


No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on ssb.no at 08.00 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given in the Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.


Background and purpose

The geographical breakdown of the balance of payments data gives an overview of the significance of different regions and countries to Norwegian trade. The geographical breakdown of the balance of payments figures was first distributed for the year 1999.

Users and applications

The most important users of the balance of payments figures include the Norwegian Central Bank, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Trade and Industry and participants in the financial and currency markets.

Equal treatment of users

Not relevant

Coherence with other statistics

External trade in goods


External trade in services for non-financial enterprices


Arrivals of vessels at Norwegian and foreign ports


Travel survey


Hotel statistics

Legal authority

The balance of payments statistics are based on several independent statistics.

EEA reference

Regulation (EC) No. 555/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on Community statistics concerning balance of payments, international trade in services and foreign direct investment.



All of the main items in the current account are published with a geographical breakdown. Which countries that are shown in the tables will vary over time.

Data sources and sampling

Information about country distribution is largely obtained from the same sources used to set up balance of payments in general. The main sources are the external trade statistics on goods, sample survey of export and import services of non-financial companies, call statistics for shipping, financial statistics, travel surveys and accommodation statistics.


For most types of services the country distribution is obtained through the corporate reporting of exports and imports. For sea transport, it is of particular importance that the country distribution is obtained through call statistics and not information about the contractual partner's home country. For travel, different statistics on visitors from abroad and Norwegians' foreign holiday destinations are used. Because of the lack of coverage of these statistics it has also been necessary to use a degree of discretion.

Collection of data, editing and estimations

The balance of payments has no independent collection of data; it is based on several different statistics compiled by Statistics Norway.

The balance of payments data are subject to control and evaluation for each publication. Of vital importance is the integration with National Accounts allowing for consistency checks against total flows and positions for the various items.


Seasonal adjustment

Not relevant


Which countries to be presented in the tables are assesset based on rules for confidentiality.

Comparability over time and space

The Norwegian balance of payments is presented in accordance with the latest internationally approved guidelines. These are specified in "The Balance of Payments Manual, 5th edition" (BPM5), published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The underlying principles and definitions presented there are in full accordance with corresponding international rules for the National Accounts, as laid down in the manual "System of National Accounts 1993" (SNA 1993), which is published by a number of international organisations jointly, including the United Nations and the IMF.

EU has prepared its own edition of the National Accounts manual, "European System of Accounts 1995" (ESA 1995), which provides for special conditions in member countries. Pursuant to the European Economic Area Agreement, Norway is obligated to adhere to this system.

Accuracy and reliability

Sources of error and uncertainty

Adding country as an extra dimension to the balance of payments increases the uncertainty in the figures. Caution should therefore be exercised when using the numbers, and they should be interpreted as an indication of the distribution and magnitude as opposed to absolute levels. Due to change of methodology the figures for 2011 and 2012 can not be directly compared to the previously published figures of 2010 and earlier.


Not relevant