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Economic Overview

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Norway's Covid-19-led economic downturn remained limited compared to most European countries, with GDP growing an estimated 3.6% in 2022 (from 3.9% one year earlier – IMF). Though still strong, private consumption (which accounts for 45% of GDP) decelerated in 2022 due to inflation pressures and declining consumer confidence. In the same year, Norway benefited from higher oil and gas prices (the country’s main exports) and increased exports to Europe following the EU sanctions against Russia (Norway’s exports almost doubled in the first eleven months of 2022). High inflation and policy tightening will weigh on domestic demand in 2023, as the worsening economic situation of the main trading partners will also contribute to a deceleration in the growth rate, forecasted at 2.6% this year and 2.2% in 2024 by the IMF (0.7% and 1.3%, respectively, according to OECD).

Norway’s public finances are sound. Norway's government gross debt did not expand substantially in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis unlike in the rest of Europe, despite public monetary support and a comprehensive loan programme to the banks. In 2022, the debt-to-GDP ratio was estimated at 40.3%, down from 43.4% one year earlier (IMF). The ratio is expected to follow a downward trend over the forecast horizon, at around 39%. The government budget deficit also decreased: it was estimated at 8.6% of GDP in 2022 compared to 10.1% one year earlier, thanks to direct transfers from the oil industry and withdrawals from the sovereign wealth fund. The household electricity support scheme will be extended into 2023 at a cost of around 1.2% of mainland GDP. Overall, the IMF forecasts a deficit of 8.1% this year and 8.2% in 2024. Moreover, the 2023 budget envisages a 9.4% reduction in the spending from the Government Pension Fund Global, to NOK 316,8 billion (official government figures). Such contractionary fiscal policy should help reduce inflation, which reached its highest levels in decades in 2022 (4.7%). In the same direction, the Norges Bank increased the policy rate further in November by 0.25 percentage points to 2.5%. Inflation is expected to decelerate gradually to 3.8% in 2023 and 2.7% the following year.

Norway is a rich country, with one of the highest GDP per capita in the world (estimated at USD 78,128 PPP in 2022 by the IMF). The nation also scores at the top of the United Nations’ Human Development Index ranking. Unemployment stood at 3.9% in 2022 and the labour market remained tight. The government expects employers to continue to experience problems in recruiting within several professions in the short term, with unemployment projected at 3.8% in 2023 (IMF).

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 579.42546.77567.74571.22575.77
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 105,82699,266102,459102,473102,672
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -7.0-7.4-8.0-8.1-8.1
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 37.137.436.336.235.9
Inflation Rate (%) n/a5.
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force)
Current Account (billions USD) 174.74143.30144.09130.58115.23
Current Account (in % of GDP)

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , October 2021

Country Risk

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Main Sectors of Industry

Agriculture accounts for 1.6% of GDP and employs 2% of the workforce (World bank, latest data available). Fishing is an important activity as Norway is the world's second-biggest seafood exporter after China. Agricultural subsidies are very significant. The country counts 38,076 agricultural holdings (of which 1,954 are certified organic farming holdings - Statistics Norway) and is more than self-sufficient in animal products, livestock being one of the major agricultural subsectors. However, Norway remains dependent on imports for cereal crops (soybeans, wheat, rapeseed and bananas). About 33.4% of Norway’s total land area is covered by forests, 12.6 million ha in total.

Industry employs 19% of the workforce and represents 35.5% of GDP. Norway’s economy depends on its natural resources and energy sources (oil, gas, hydraulic energy, forests and minerals). Oil rents, which have once dominated the GDP, now provide less than 4% of GDP, well below its peak level in 2000. Nevertheless, the oil and gas sector is Norway's largest measured in terms of value-added, government revenues, investments and export value. The government’s total net cash flow from the petroleum industry was estimated to be NOK 1,316 billion in 2022, marking a consistent increase due to higher estimates for oil and in particular gas prices amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Manufacturing accounts for 5% of GDP. Shipbuilding, metals, wood pulp and paper, the chemical industry, machinery and electrical equipment make up Norway’s main manufacturing industries. Norway also has one of the largest and most modern fleets in the world.

The Norwegian service sector is highly developed; it employs over three-quarters of the population (79%) and accounts for 52.5% of GDP. According to Statistics Norway, tourism consumption stood at NOK 129,750 million in 2020 (latest data available), accounting for 6.8% of total employment. The Norwegian banking sector is comprised of 136 banks of which 118 are local banks and 18 are branches of foreign banks. The market share of the subsidiaries and branches of foreign banks were 24% and 37% in the retail and domestic corporate markets, respectively (European Banking Federation, latest data available).

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 2.3 19.2 78.5
Value Added (in % of GDP) 1.6 48.7 42.1
Value Added (Annual % Change) 2.0 0.3 5.5

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Norwegian Krone (NOK) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 8.408.278.138.809.42

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.



Foreign Trade

Norway has a very open economy, with trade representing 71% of GDP (World Bank, latest data available). Traditionally, the country exports energy-intensive products and imports high-technology items. Norway is among the top 20 exporters of oil and the second-largest natural gas and seafood exporter in the world. Petroleum oils and gases represent more than 60% of total exports. Seafood is also among the most exported products (4.9%). Imports are led by motor cars (8.5%), petroleum, and nickel (data Comtrade).

The country's main trade partners are generally member states of the European Union. In 2021, however, the United Kingdom was the top destination of Norwegian exports (20.5%), followed by Germany (19.1%), the Netherlands (9.9%), Sweden (7.8%) and France (7.2%). China was the main supplier of goods and services in Norway (13.2%), followed by Sweden (11.3%), Germany (11.1%), the United States (6.3%) and the UK (4.6% - data Comtrade).

Norway’s trade surplus is considerable. However, it is closely linked to global oil and gas prices. In 2021, total exports almost doubled, reaching USD 160.1 billion, with imports increasing at a slower pace (USD 97.7 billion, +21.5%). Services exports stood at USD 40.3 billion, against USD 41.3 billion of imports (+13.8% and +12.2%, respectively – WTO). After it had turned negative for the first time in the last thirty years (due to low energy prices), the overall trade balance was positive by 12.3% of GDP in 2021 (World Bank). According to preliminary data from Statistics Norway, in the first eleven months of 2022 goods exports totalled NOK 2.3 million (+96.4% y-o-y – thanks to higher energy prices and lower supplies to Europe from Russia), whereas imports stood at NOK 934 million (+20.9% y-o-y). Furthermore, The Norwegian Seafood Council reported that Norway exported 2.9 million tonnes of seafood, equivalent to a value of around EUR 14 billion in 2022, an all-time high.

Foreign Trade Values 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 86,60085,31980,44797,764105,545
Exports of Goods (million USD) 121,791102,79984,459160,106249,805
Imports of Services (million USD) 52,19652,62539,52742,05353,446
Exports of Services (million USD) 43,44542,90534,11341,27450,617

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 70.070.965.470.583.0
Trade Balance (million USD) 33,81615,7892,06563,675166,982
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 25,0656,069-3,34862,897164,152
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 1.45.3-
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -1.52.1-
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 31.834.333.128.827.3
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 38.236.632.241.755.7

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change)
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change)

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

International Economic Cooperation
Norway is a member of the following international economic organisations:  IMF, European Union, ICC, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), WTO, OECD, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Norway click here. International organisation membership of Norway is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Norway can be consulted here.

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
Germany 28.0%
United Kingdom 21.4%
France 9.4%
Belgium 7.6%
Netherlands 6.4%
See More Countries 27.2%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
Sweden 12.6%
China 12.3%
Germany 11.4%
United States 6.3%
Denmark 4.6%
See More Countries 52.8%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data



Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
King: Harald V (since 17 January 1991) - hereditary
Prime Minister: Jonas Gahr STORE (since 14 October 2021) – Labour Party
Next Election Dates
Parliamentary: 30 September 2025
Current Political Context
The Labour Party led by Jonas Gahr Støre managed to form a minority coalition government with the Centre Party following the 2021 parliamentary election. The third potential government partner – the Socialist Left Party – decided not to join the coalition over disagreements related to environmental policy (as oil and gas exploration should continue at both old and new oil fields); however, it supports Støre’s government on a case-by-case basis. Government stability is further guaranteed by the Norwegian constitution, which does not allow the dissolution of the parliament and early elections.
In 2022, Norway held the presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers, focusing on the three priority areas of a green, competitive, and socially sustainable Nordic Region.
Although it is not part of the European Union, Norway decided to incorporate the sanctions against Russia into Norwegian law, and also decided to increase its defence budget by almost 10% (to around USD 7.2 billion).
Main Political Parties
Coalition governments comprising several parties are typical in Norway. Currently, nine parties are represented in the parliament. The Labour Party and the Conservative Party are the most represented.

- Norwegian Labour Party (DNA): centre-left
- Conservative Party (Høyre): centre-right
- Centre Party (SP): centrist
- Progress Party (FrP): right-wing party
- Socialist Left Party (SV): left-wing
- Red Party (Rødt): left to far-left, Marxist
- Liberal Party (Venstre): centre-right, conservative-liberal
- Green Party: centre-left green political party
- Christian Democratic Party (KrF): centre
Executive Power
The constitution grants executive powers to the King (the head of state), but these are exercised by the cabinet. The King serves a ceremonial role with some reserve powers. After elections, the majority leader is usually appointed Prime Minister (the head of the cabinet) by the monarch with the approval of the parliament.
Legislative Power
The Storting is the legislative body of Norway. The parliament is unicameral and consists of 169 representatives. Members are elected for four-year terms according to a system of proportional representation. The Storting cannot be dissolved before serving its full four-year term.


COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
A general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted by different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
The information on the economicand fiscal measures put in place by the Norwegian government to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the KPMG's website.
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 outbreak (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) undertaken by the Norwegian government, please consult the section dedicated to Norway in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.