Norway's foreign exchange reserves have been built up to meet adverse developments in the balance of payments without the necessity of a retreat from the liberalization of imports. Until the oil boom of the late 1970s, imports regularly exceeded exports, but large deficits on current account were more than offset by the capital account surplus, giving a net increase in foreign exchange reserves. As of 2003 Norway was the world's third-largest exporter of oil, behind only Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Norway's economy is less open to trade than the Western European average, with total exports and imports of goods and services equal to 46.3% and 29.2% of GDP, respectively, in 2001.
As of 2003, the economy was technically in a recession, but GDP growth was forecast to rise to 2% in 2004. Although the current account was forecast to remain in surplus, the surplus was projected to narrow as the trade surplus declined.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2002 the purchasing power parity of Norway's exports was $68.2 billion while imports totaled $37.3 billion resulting in a trade surplus of $30.9 billion.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports that in 2001 Norway had exports of goods totaling $59.7 billion and imports totaling $33.7 billion. The services credit totaled $18 billion and debit $15.4 billion. The following table summarizes Norway's balance of payments as reported by the IMF for 2001 in millions of US dollars.
|Balance on goods||26,018|
|Balance on services||2,566|
|Balance on income||-940|
|Direct investment abroad||-1,086|
|Direct investment in Norway||2,166|
|Portfolio investment assets||-29,420|
|Portfolio investment liabilities||2,756|
|Other investment assets||-2,261|
|Other investment liabilities||2,935|
|Net Errors and Omissions||-4,104|
|Reserves and Related Items||2,114|