The thrust of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) January 2007 "Economic Survey of Norway, 2007," is that one of the country's main "problems" is how to maintain prosperity and stability in the coming years.
Norway's success as a market economy is not simply due to the fact that the country has the commodities the global economy needs-principally oil. Says the OECD, "Natural endowment is not the only reason for this fine outcome."
Norway's economy is efficiently organized and the government is well managed. Norway has the second highest Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) per capita in the world (a distant second to Luxembourg, and just ahead of the United States). As one of the major players in the global economy, Norway can look forward to prosperity for the foreseeable future.
"A tradition of trade openness (except for agriculture), a good policy framework and sound macroeconomic management have also meant that Norway adjusted its product specialization to the challenges of globalization early on," said the OECD.
Consumer spending in Norway is robust. A March 1, 2007 report by Statistics Norway shows that car sales-a major indicator of strong consumption-are on the rise. "Purchase of new vehicles by households grew strongly in January, as it did in December," said the statistics office. "The consumption of cars and fuels rose by 12.3 per cent."
A separate Statistics Norway report on retail sales, also issued on March 1, 2007 said, "The seasonally adjusted volume index of retail sales rose by 1.1 percent from December 2006 to January 2007." The report added, "Compared to January last year, the volume index not adjusted increased by 8.6 per cent in January this year. In the same period the value index rose by 7.8 per cent."
Overall, according to a general review of the 2004 household survey by Statistics Norway, "Household consumption in Norway has almost tripled since 1958 measured in total consumption expenditure."
One final vivid statistic: Household food expenditures decreased by a factor of four between 1958 and 2004.
NORWAY NEEDS TO...