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Norway Resists Slump; Australia Too?

  • September 7th, 2008
  • Posted by Grace Tobin

Ambassador Wensell

Norway is predicted to have “the world’s smallest economic downturn” next year amid a global recession — according to its own official statistics.

Grace Tobin spoke to the Norwegian Ambassador in Australia, Lars A. Wensell (picture), and concluded that with similar comments coming from Canberra, it’s been a tale two “lucky countries.”


Lars Wensell is confident about Norway’s financial future in an unsteady world, despite the loss of three million homes in the United States, by their owner-occupiers, and an economic slow-down in the Euro-zone.

He said this week the country might experience a slowdown in growth and slightly higher unemployment rates in the time to come, but its economic fundamentals would remain very strong.

“The strong activity in the economy has allowed unemployment to fall to 2.5%,” he said.

“Norway’s economic growth has been favourable for many years; our economy is therefore strong, and the Norwegian per capital income is among the highest in the world.”
But Dorte Drange, High Executive Officer at Norway’s Ministry of Finance added a qualifier, telling EUAustralia in an email interview there could be some dampening of growth in the non-oil economy.

“Being a small, open economy Norway is of course affected by the global slowdown,” he said.

“We do not, however, foresee a dramatic setback for the Norwegian economy – fundamentals seem to point to a soft landing of our economy.”

Norway had been “less hard hit”, than many other countries, by the upsurge in international inflation spurred by increasing oil and food prices.

The Ambassador compared Norway’s financial success to Australia’s strong economy.

“Norway – like Australia – has been blessed with rich natural resources, such as oil and gas, hydropower and fish,” Mr Wensell said.

Both countries rely on natural resources as a foundation of their economies.


Those assured remarks from Scandinavian quarters had a “lucky country” ring to them, echoed by assessments being made at the other end of the world.

The Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan said (31.08.08) Australia was better placed to handle conditions in the slowing global economy than other countries, and the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, was saying on radio (29.08.08) he believed the economic situation would improve by next year.

“We believe that into the period of 2009 you’ll start to see economic growth picking up,” the Prime Minister said.

That did not mean the country was immune to world economic trends.

“Australia is not an island, we are going through difficult economic times,” he said.

A slowdown in global growth has been linked directly to weak economic data from the United States and Europe.

“Lean times, but not in Norway”, Aftenposten, Oslo, 29.8.09;, (12.9.08)

ABC, “PM backs Budget surplus to fight slowing economy”, 28.8.08.; (12.9.08)

Ambassador Lars A. Wensell,