Siol nan Gaidheal
Norway and Scotland : A ComparisonPreamble
The Norwegian Government is extraordinarily Open and frank with it's national Statistics which are available on the website at http://www.ssb.no/english/about_ssb/ and the latest statistics go up to the 31st December 1999, whereas the U.K. Statistics are incomplete at 5th April 1998.
Fact 1. Norway is the largest oil exporter in the world after Saudi Arabia; there are also sizeable gas exports. Exports of crude oil and natural gas was 292 billion Kroner. With the Pound = 12.85 Kroner that is equal to £22,700,000,000.00p or £22.7 Billions.
Fact 2. In the year 2000 the Norwegian exports of goods came to 504 billion kroner of which crude oil and natural gas was 292 billion. With imports of 280 billion, the trade surplus ended up being 224 billion kroner. (£17.43 Billion Surplus of Exports over Imports). In 1999 the surplus was 88 billion Kroner.
Fact 3. General government net borrowing for 2000 is expected to be a mere 1.7% of GDP. Government gross debt has been hovering around 44% since 1994. (The Maastricht convergence criteria are, of course, 3% and 60% respectively.)
Fact 4. Inflation in 2000 was 1.3%.
Fact 5. Since 1994 GNP has risen between 3.9% and 5.7% annually. Between 1992 and 1999 national output rose by 9.6%.
Fact 6. Unemployment has fallen to 3.9% and is expected to fall to 3.5% in the near future.
Fact 7. After the 1994 NO vote, trade did not suffer at all. The Norwegian Finance ministry projects a trade surplus for 1999 of 88.5 billion kroner (£6.89 billion pounds).
Fact 8. Despite being outside the EU, EU members take 80% of Norway's exports (energy, pulp and paper, and fish products). The biggest customer being the U.K. with 19.8%. Norway's exports and export volumes have risen by 30% since 1991. While Norway has opened up new markets in Russia and the Far East, Europe is expected to remain her most important export market.
Fact 9. Foreign investment has risen since the vote. Foreigners now hold a third of the shares in the Oslo stock market, reflecting the stability of the currency.
Fact 10. The populations of Norway and Scotland are roughly similar. Norway has a population of 4,442.000 whereas Scotland has 5,120,000.
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