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Country Report Norway October 2017

Country Report Norway October 2017

  • October 2017
  • ID: 359725
  • Format: PDF
  • By The Economist Intelligence Unit

Summary

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Outlook for 2018-22



  • The September 2017 general election delivered a majority of seats for the centre-right parties. However, the Christian Democrats (KrF) have chosen to go into opposition. The KrF is needed for a parliamentary majority.
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit expects another centre-right minority government to take office. This government will be one of the weakest in years, as it will be reliant on support from parties outside of the coalition.
  • Although Norway has a history of coalition governments and cross-party consensus that typically delivers a high level of political stability, we expect policymaking to become slightly more difficult.
  • Norges Bank (the central bank) has left its main policy interest rate on hold at a record-low 0.5% since March 2016. We expect no change in the policy rate this year, but forecast an increase in mid-2018.
  • We estimate real GDP growth in 2017 of 1.8% and expect growth to accelerate to 2.5% in 2018, before moderating to 1.6% by 2022. The main drivers of economic activity are likely to be private consumption and investment.
  • Investment in the oil sector has been declining since 2014. We believe that this decline bottomed out in 2016, at -17.4%. Petroleum-related investment is likely to stabilise this year and to pick up from 2018.
  • We expect average oil prices to increase by 18.8% this year, to US$52.3/barrel, from US$44/b in 2016. Prices should remain fairly flat in 2018-20, before picking up more decisively in 2021-22, to an average of US$57/b.


Review



  • The four centre-right parties met on September 21st to start government-formation talks. However, at their second meeting, on September 27th, the KrF withdrew from negotiations.
  • On September 21st Norges Bank kept its key policy rate unchanged. However, in a more hawkish tone, it announced that there would be an earlier increase in interest rates-in mid-2018, compared with end-2018 previously-and that subsequent rises would occur at a faster pace.
  • In September the price of Brent Crude jumped to an average of US$55.2/b, the highest reading since February. The rise in oil prices in recent months continues to support the krone's appreciation.
  • Norges Bank's September Regional Network report showed that an aggregate of the interviewees expect slightly weaker output growth over the next six months.
  • In August annual headline inflation stood at 1.3%, according to Statistics Norway. Core inflation was 0.9%, its lowest level since March 2013.


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