General government surplus halved in Norway
This just over half of the 2015 surplus, and is mainly due to a decline in petroleum revenues.
The decline in general government surplus is mainly due to a decrease in government revenues from petroleum extraction.
In 2016, the petroleum revenues were NOK 125 billion, which is NOK 60 billion less than in 2015. Petroleum revenues have been on a sharp decline since 2013, and the level of revenues in 2016 is estimated to be the lowest since 1999.
The central government’s surplus is estimated at NOK 110 billion in 2016, down from NOK 200 billion in 2015. It is estimated that local government had a deficit of NOK 13 billion, which is at the same level as last year.
General government revenue is estimated at NOK 1662 billion in 2016. Revenues excluding petroleum totalled NOK 1 537 billion; an increase of NOK 38 billion from the previous year.
The largest increase was in property income, which was NOK 16 billion higher than in 2015. Property income includes interest and dividends from the Government Pension Fund and government owned corporations, as well as transfers from the central bank.
General government expenditure in 2106 is estimated at NOK 1565 billion. This is NOK 67 billion, or 5 percent, higher than in 2015. In 2016, general government expenditure exceeded 50 percent of GDP, which is the first time this has happened in 20 years.
The increase in general government spending’s share of GDP is explained by a slight decline in GDP in the last few years, as well as an increase in public expenditure, measured in current prices.
Wages and intermediate consumption in public services is estimated at NOK 669 billion in 2016; an increase of NOK 27 billion from the previous year. Out of total wages, about 30 percent were in the health sector, while 20 percent were in the educational sector.
Transfers to households, which consist of pensions and a range of other benefits, amounted to NOK 552 billion. This is an increase of NOK 22 billion from 2015.
General government investments in fixed assets is estimated at NOK 163 billion 2016, which is NOK 14 billion higher than in 2015.
The central and local government spent NOK 96 billion and NOK 67 billion respectively. In the past few years, investments in fixed assets have increased more than other expenditure in general government.
The largest investments are within road building, which is also the investment area with the strongest growth in recent years. ■