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'Very worried': How foreigners in Norway are affected by the weak krone

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
'Very worried': How foreigners in Norway are affected by the weak krone
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The Norwegian krone is down considerably compared to other major currencies, which causes issues for foreigners paid in kroner who wish to visit home or pay off their student loans and mortgages abroad.

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Recently, Norway’s krone has reached a three-year-low against the euro, with the currency also struggling against the dollar and the pound.

A struggling krone has several effects, from higher inflation and interest rates to increasing property prices. This is in addition to getting less value for money when using the krone abroad.

For foreigners living and working in Norway, the weak krone is particularly bad news as it can mean more expensive payments for bills abroad and more costly visits back home to see friends and family.

In a recent survey by The Local, 57 percent of respondents said they were very worried about Norway’s ailing currency. A third of participants said they were fairly concerned about the krone. Five percent said they weren’t sure, while no one said there were any positives or that they weren’t bothered.

Furthermore, 75 percent felt the weak krone affected them quite a bit. Five percent said they weren’t affected, and the rest said the effects were only slightly felt.

One reader who wished to remain anonymous told The Local that the struggling krone had led them to consider moving away from Norway.

“Sending money back to parents if needed, or travelling abroad (has become more expensive). Lower salary expectations vs rest of Europe and thinking of moving out of Norway also has been popping up (are other effects),” the reader said when asked how the weak krone has impacted them.

Another, working in the oil industry in Norway while living in the UK, said that the exchange rate equated to a significant pay cut.

“(I’ve) had a big pay cut, exchange rate! I live in the UK and work in Norway on rotation,” the reader wrote.

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Gordon also worked in Norway while living in the UK and said a long-term dip in the krone had halved his salary.

“I work offshore on the NCS (Norwegian continental shelf) and live in the UK. I have lost over 50 percent in salary in 10 years due to the krone getting weaker and weaker. Norway will lose a lot of its workforce if it continues. They don’t have enough local people to fill these positions,” he said.

Meanwhile, a Dutch reader in western Norway has said that due to a mix of interest rate hikes and a strong euro, their mortgage costs had more than doubled in a year.

“I own a house abroad with a mortgage in euros, and my income is in kroner. The interest rate on the mortgage doubled compared to last year. Overall the monthly costs in Kroner for the mortgage went up by 60 percent compared to a year ago,” he said.

Aditya from India also said that his student loan repayments had also become more expensive.

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“(I) need to send money to my home country to pay for education loan. So I am getting less value for the kroner.

Darren, from Ireland, said that he was worried that a steadily falling krone would represent a decline in living standards in Norway in the longer term.

“The worst aspect is that Norges Bank does not seem to offer the public a helpful target that they hope to achieve (i.e. 10 or 12 kroner to a euro). The value of the kroner continues to sink steadily. I think a weak and weakening krone will only have a negative effect on the quality of life here. I’m tired of hearing how the weakening krone is ‘great’ for exports and the tourist industry. These companies need to purchase large quantities of materials from abroad, which will become more expensive to import," he said. 

"Also, if wages do not increase in accord with the weakening kroner (relative to the major currencies), that represents a fall in general living standards, and Norway thus becomes much less attractive to foreign workers who prop up these sectors,” he added. 

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