Norway: Economic growth wanes in Q4
The Norwegian economy lost momentum in Q4 2022; GDP growth waned to 0.2% in seasonally adjusted quarter-on-quarter terms. This came in below the prior quarter’s 1.3% increase. Conversely, the mainland economy—which excludes petroleum activities and related ocean transport—grew 0.8% s.a. qoq basis in Q4, up from 0.6% in Q3.
The slowdown was largely driven by the external sector, as domestic activity was surprisingly resilient. Public spending growth came in at 0.9%, having been flat in Q3. Moreover, fixed investment growth accelerated to 2.1% in Q4 (Q3: +0.5% s.a. qoq). Lastly, and defying all expectations, private spending growth soared to 5.6% (Q3: +0.6% s.a. qoq), the strongest expansion since Q3 2021. Consumption was resilient to intense price pressures and higher borrowing costs; a 0.4% increase in employment levels and stronger nominal wage growth shielded consumers somewhat. Car purchases spearheaded growth, but this was likely due in large part to an increase in car taxes in January 2023.
On the external front, exports of goods and services declined 0.8% on a seasonally adjusted quarter-on-quarter basis in Q4, contrasting the 4.7% expansion posted in Q3. This was largely due to the performance of crude oil and gas exports. Imports of goods and services growth cooled to 2.6% (Q3: +3.4% s.a. qoq). Consequently, the external sector detracted 1.2 percentage points from overall growth, compared with the prior quarter’s 0.4 percentage point contribution.
On an annual basis, total economic activity growth softened to 1.3% in Q4, down from the prior quarter’s 2.4% increase. Similarly, mainland economic growth eased to 1.6% year on year, down from the previous quarter’s 2.8%. This brought overall GDP growth for 2022 to 3.3%, only slightly below 2021’s 3.9% rebound.