Economy - overview: The Norwegian economy is a prosperous bastion of welfare capitalism, featuring a combination of free market activity and government intervention. The government controls key areas such as the vital petroleum sector (through large-scale state enterprises). The country is richly endowed with natural resources - petroleum, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals - and is highly dependent on its oil production and international oil prices, with oil and gas accounting for one-third of exports. Only Saudi Arabia and Russia export more oil than Norway. Norway opted to stay out of the EU during a referendum in November 1994; nonetheless, it contributes sizably to the EU budget. The government has moved ahead with privatization. Although Norwegian oil production peaked in 2000, natural gas production is still rising. Norwegians realize that once their gas production peaks they will eventually face declining oil and gas revenues; accordingly, Norway has been saving its oil-and-gas-boosted budget surpluses in a Government Petroleum Fund, which is invested abroad and now is valued at more than $250 billion. After lackluster growth of 1% in 2002 and 0.5% in 2003, GDP growth picked up to 3.3% in 2004 and to 3.7% in 2005.
Definition: This entry briefly describes the type of economy, including the degree of market orientation, the level of economic development, the most important natural resources, and the unique areas of specialization. It also characterizes major economic events and policy changes in the most recent 12 months and may include a statement about one or two key future macroeconomic trends.
Source: CIA World Factbook - Unless otherwise noted, information in this page is accurate as of April 17, 2006
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