Norway’s trade balance surplus fell by 53 percent from 2022 to 2023, and the level in the fourth quarter was 118 billion lower than the quarter the previous year. The surplus’s remains elevated compared to historical levels. The main reason for the large surplus was large export income from petroleum.

  • Current account balance was reduced by 18 percent compared to the first quarter of last year.
  • The trade balance weakened by 34 percent in the same period.
  • Norway’s net foreign assets increased with 14 per cent, or about NOK 2 000 billion in the first quarter of 2024
  • Gains in the global stock markets and a weaker Norwegian krone are main contributions to the increase

Lower trade balance surplus

The balance of trade in goods and services, also known as the trade balance, showed a surplus of NOK 163 billion in the first quarter of 2024, down from the NOK 248 billion observed in the first quarter of last year.

In total, Norway exported goods and services worth NOK 558 billion in the first quarter of 2024. This is a reduction of NOK 86 billion compared to the same period the previous year. Goods exports decreased by 18 per cent¹, while service exports increased by 6 per cent.

Norway imported goods and services worth NOK 395 billion in the first quarter of 2024. Basically, unchanged from the same quarter of the previous year. Imports of goods fell by 4 per cent, while imports of services increased by 8 per cent compared to the same period the previous year. The rise in service imports was largely due to increased international travel activity.

For information on volume and price developments in exports and imports as well as seasonally adjusted figures, see quarterly national accounts.

Figure 1. The Current Account. NOK billion

Higher surplus on the balance of income and current transfers

The interest and current transfers balance showed a surplus of NOK 86 billion in the first quarter of 2024, 29 billion NOK stronger than in the first quarter of 2024.

Interest payments show strong growth on both the expenditure and income side. Dividends etc. contributed on the income side by NOK 32 billion.

Financial accounts

In the first quarter of 2024, Norway’s net foreign assets, or net International Investment Positions (IIP), amounted to about NOK 17 400 billion. This was an increase from end of 2023 of 14 per cent. The biggest contributions to the increase were growth in the global stock markets and a weakening of the Norwegian krone.

Continued increase in Norway’s net foreign assets

Investments in global stock markets by the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) and a weaker Norwegian krone, ensured a continuation of Norway’s record high net foreign assets. Apart from investments made by the GPFG, Norway’s assets abroad are in general increased at a higher rate than the foreign assets in Norway.

As figure 2 shows, the main reasons for the increase of Norway’s net foreign assets were due to other changes.

Figure 2. Development in Norway's net foreign assets. NOK billion

Other changes

Over 90 per cent of the increase of Norway’s net foreign assets, was due to other changes, while the rest of the increase was due to financial transactions. Other changes consist of changes in market prices and exchange rates. Most of the changes in the first quarter of 2024 were due to market price changes, while about a third of it were due to exchange rates changes.

Financial transactions

Net financial transactions, or net lending, amounted to NOK 173 billion. A majority of which came from GPFG’s increased investments abroad.

Current account

In this publication, the period 1st quarter 2022 to 4rthquarter 2023 has been revised.


Financial account

From 1st quarter 2022 onwards, significant changes have been made on Other accounts receivable /payable under Other investments, both for Foreign assets and Liabilities. The numbers are revised down for all the quarters and affects both positions and transactions.

Revision of the national accounts time series

Like many European countries, Norway will complete a revision of the national accounts in 2024. Balance of Payments statistics is an integral part of the national accounts and will be revised in line with the core national accounts. The aim of the revision is to incorporate new information, improve methods and correct errors in back data. According to the schedule, revised time series will be released in early December 2024.


¹ Corrected from 4 per cent to 18 per cent, 5 June 2024, at 09.30 a.m.