Norwegian trade surplus grows despite oil strike

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12:36 CEST+02:00
Norway's June trade surplus jumped 15.1 percent year-on-year, to 29.5 billion kroner ($4.82 billion), despite a fall in oil exports, the national statistics agency said on Monday.

Last month, Norwegian exports rose 8.9 percent to 72.2 billion kroner, while imports swelled 4.9 percent, to 42.6 billion, Statistics Norway said in a statement.

The export rise came despite an 8.8-percent drop in oil sales -- the main driver of the Norwegian economy -- amid falling barrel prices and export volumes.

"The decrease in the exported volume of crude oil may be linked to maintenance activity during the summer months and the strike that hit the Norwegian shelf at the end of June," Statistics Norway said.

The strike over a pension dispute started on June 24th and was brought to a dramatic end on July 10th when Norway's government intervened just minutes ahead of a threatened lockout at all the country's oil production sites.

The work stoppage entailed total losses of about 3.1 billion kroner, according to the employers' organisation, although most of the impact should be seen in July trade figures.

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Excluding oil and gas, Norway had a trade deficit of 11 billion kroner in June, compared to a 10.5-billion kroner deficit during the same month a year earlier, Statistics Norway said.

Including oil and gas, Norway saw its trade surplus grow 24.8 percent, to 242.5 billion kroner, during the first half of 2012, while its trade deficit excluding its offshore riches shrank to 59.9 billion kroner from 65 billion during the first half of 2011.

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