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Norway – Important Facts

Norway is a country in Northern Europe occupying the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula as well as the volcanic island Jan Mayen and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. Norway borders the North Sea, the North Atlantic Ocean, Finland, Sweden, and Russia. The geography of Norway is rugged with steep fjords and mountains. The government system is a constitutional monarchy; the chief of state is the king, and the head of government is the prime minister. Norway has a mixed economic system with a combination of free market activity and government intervention. Norway is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

The country is richly endowed with natural resources in addition to oil and gas, including hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals. The government manages the country’s petroleum resources through extensive regulation. The petroleum sector provides about 9% of jobs, 15% of GDP, and 39% of exports, according to official national estimates. Norway is one of the world’s leading petroleum exporters, though oil production in 2015 was close to 50% below its peak in 2000; annual gas production, conversely, more than doubled over the same time period.

In anticipation of eventual declines in oil and gas production, Norway saves state revenue from petroleum sector activities in the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, valued at over $800 billion as of early 2016. The government allows itself to use up to 4% of the fund’s value, its annual expected real rate of return, to help balance the federal budget each year. After solid GDP growth in 2004-07, the economy slowed in 2008, and contracted in 2009, before returning to modest, positive growth from 2010 to 2015. Lower oil prices in 2015 caused growth to slow, increased unemployment, and weakened the Norwegian krone. The latter trend has mitigated the negative impact of lower oil and gas prices by making Norwegian exports cheaper for foreign buyers. The government has expressed willingness to increase public spending from the sovereign wealth fund to help prevent a recession.

Important Details

  • Country ISO3 : NOR
  • Country Code : 578
  • Income Group : High income
  • Lending Category : NA
  • Region : Europe & Central Asia
  • Currency Unit: Norwegian krone
  • WTO Member : Yes
  • Trade organisations : OECD, WTO, European Economic Area and others
  • world rank : 32
  • Regional Ranking : 16th in Europe