Norway: Attractive Investment Destination

Among the Nordic countries, Norway’s economy is strong and is well positioned for an economic recovery. In fact, Norway is one of the favorite investment destinations among European countries.

The Norwegian economy was able withstand the current economic crisis better than most other European countries since Norway’s financial institutions did not invest in risky sub-prime mortgage derivatives and other instruments. The country is blessed with oil resources which has become a boon during the past few years when oil prices soared. As a result of this Norway’s sovereign wealth fund is one of the largest in the world with assets of about £380B. As the fund has tremendous amount of cash reserves, the fund was able to pick high quality equities at dead cheap prices during the market crashes in the past few months.

In addition Norway has many advantages relative to other economies of the world. Some of the key points are:

  • Norway is a surplus country with NOK 76 billion in current account surplus as of 1Q,2009
  • GDP Growth rate for 1Q,2009 was the lowest at -0.4% seasonally adjusted when compared with other Scandinavian countries, UK, Europe and US
  • Gross national Savings remain high in Norway at NOK 757 B at the end of 2008
  • Households decreased their borrowing and increased savings in Q1,2009
  • Government wealth stood at 144% of GDP at the end of 2007, the highest among Nordic countries
  • In 2008, due to record high crude oil prices the trade surplus was the highest ever with a total of NOK 460.5 billion

Source: Statistics Norway
Note: 1 Norwegian Kroner = 0.15659 US Dollar

For US investors, there is not a single-country ETF for Norway. However there are a few stocks that trade in the US markets.

In the oil and gas sectors, there are four Norway ADRs:
Acergy – ACGY
Petroleum Geo-Services – OTC: PGSVY
StatoilHydro – STO
Teekay Petrojarl – OTC: TKPOY

Two other large Norwegian companies that trade in the OTC market are:
Telenor – OTC: TELNY (Mobile Telecom)
Yara International : OTC: YARIY (Chemicals)

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