Weaker current account balance
The current account balance in 2nd quarter of 2019 showed a surplus of NOK 31 billion. This is almost half of what it was in the same quarter of 2018. The main explanation of the weak current account balance is lower export of oil and natural gas.
After a period of growing export values of oil and gas up to a top point towards the end of 2018, we now face a fall in production and export value in 2019, according to updated figures from balance of payments. This affects the balance of goods and services and causes a fall of NOK 25 billion in 2nd quarter compared to the same quarter in 2018, and NOK 38 billion compared to the previous quarter. Balance of income and current transfers is also weakened in 2nd quarter leading to a total decline in current account balance of almost NOK 29 billion lower than in 2nd quarter of 2018 and nearly NOK 42 billion compared to previous quarter.
Export and import
Export value of goods and services is preliminary calculated at NOK 320 billion. This is lower than both previous quarter and the same quarter in 2018. The main reason for this is lower exports of oil and natural gas.
The import is calculated at NOK 310 billion. This is, unlike the export, higher than the previous quarter and higher than the same quarter in 2018.
The preliminary figures of exports and imports in the 2nd quarter are more reliable for goods than for services. For more information about export and import, including price and volume considerations and seasonal adjustments, please see the quarterly national accounts.
Income and current transfers
Both income and current transfers to abroad and from abroad was high in the 2nd quarter of 2019 compared to the quarters of the latest years. However, income from abroad was higher and generated a surplus of more than NOK 20 billion in the preliminary figures. The current account balance ended at almost NOK 31 billion in 2nd quarter of 2019.
Increased financial investments abroad
During the second quarter of the year, Norwegians invested NOK 139 billion abroad. At the same time, Norwegians incurred liabilities of NOK 19 billion, resulting in a net lending of NOK 120 billion.
Portfolio investments increased substantially on the asset side, with a rise in equity abroad of NOK 65 billion. The Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) was the main contributor. The rise by NOK 20 billion in debt securities was also highly driven by the GPFG.
Other investments abroad amounted to NOK 33 billion, mainly driven by Norwegian banks’ large deposits abroad, although their lending abroad was reduced.
The liability side showed reduced foreign direct investments from abroad. Return on equity resulted in a reduction of shares owned from abroad. At the same time, Norwegian companies reduced their intercompany debt to foreign direct investors.
Portfolio investments in Norway were driven by non-financial corporations’ incurrence of liabilities in debt securities, while increased bank deposits from abroad gave rise to other investments in Norway.