Still a surplus in the balance of goods and services
The surplus in the balance of goods and services amounted to NOK 2 billion in the third quarter, as a result of a positive balance of goods of NOK 26 billion and a negative balance of services of NOK 24 billion.
The balance of goods for the first three quarters this year amounts to NOK 105 billion, which is almost twice as much compared to the same period last year, according to new figures from the statistics Balance of payments. During the same period, the balance of services has been negative for the last two years, amounting to NOK 59 billion in 2017 and NOK 62 billion in 2017. In fact the imports of services have exceeded the exports of services every year since 2009.
Export and imports
Preliminary figures show that total exports of goods and services in the third quarter of 2017 ended at NOK 273 billion. This is NOK 7 billion less compared to the previous quarter, but NOK 20 billion more compared to the same quarter last year. In 2012, the export of crude oil and natural gas accounted for half the value of total exports. Since then, the export share of crude oil and natural gas has declined gradually, and amounted to only one third of the total exports this quarter. The decline in the export of crude oil and natural gas explains most of the decline in the total exports this quarter.
The total import value of goods and services in the third quarter ended at NOK 271 billion. This is approximately the same as last quarter, but NOK 7 billion more compared to the same quarter last year. The preliminary figures of exports and imports in the third quarter are more reliable for goods than for services. For more information about exports and imports, including price and volume considerations and seasonal adjustments, please see the quarterly national accounts.
The balance of income and current transfers
The balance of income and current transfers ended at NOK 16 billion in the third quarter, compared to NOK 46 billion in the previous quarter. The high balance of income and current transfers in the second quarter was mostly due to high dividends received from abroad, while the dividends received in the third quarter were more at a normal level. The balance of income and current transfers in the first three quarters this year was NOK 7 billion higher compared to the same period last year.
The current account balance, which is the sum of the balance of goods and services and the balance of income and current transfers, ended at NOK 18 billion this quarter. This is NOK 37 billion less compared to the previous quarter.
Increased financial investments
The financial account shows increased financial transactions on both the asset and liability side in the third quarter of 2017. The asset side saw a rise of NOK 12.5 billion, while the liability side increased by NOK 37.5 billion, which gave a reduction in net lending of NOK 25 billion.1
Other investments increased by NOK 47 billion on the asset side, mainly driven by Norwegian banks’ increased deposits abroad and the Government Pension Fund Global’s (GPFG) loans abroad. The GPFG was also central to the change in portfolio investments abroad, with a substantial rise in equity abroad coupled with a smaller reduction in debt securities. The total increase in portfolio investments amounted to NOK 18 billion. Foreign direct investments abroad were reduced by NOK 46 billion. All in all, this gave a moderate increase on the asset side.
On the liability side, direct investments, portfolio investments and other investments all saw a uniform rise.
1 The figures were corrected 6 December at 9.30 am.