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Norway s trade surplus grew 5.9% in 2010

OSLO, Jan 17, 2011 – Norway\’s trade surplus swelled 5.9 percent last year compared to 2009, boosted partly by exports and higher oil prices, the national statistics agency said Monday.

The Scandinavian country, which is one of the world\’s largest exporters of oil and gas, saw its 2010 trade surplus grow to 341.5 billion kroner (43.8 billion euros, $58.2 billion) from 322.5 billion a year earlier, Statistics Norway said.

Just in December, the surplus ballooned 17.4 percent to 35.6 billion kroner, marking its best monthly performance since November 2008.

"The trade surplus last year is a result of increased mainland exports (excluding oil and gas), up nine percent … together with a five percent growth in imports," Statistics Norway said in a statement.

"Crude oil exports also went up in 2010, despite of a reduction in volume. Exports of natural gas went the other way; increased volume but lower value," it added.

Between 2009 and 2010, the average price of oil jumped from 379 to 489 kroner per barrel, eclipsing the average drop in volumes exported from 642 million barrels in 2009 to 578 million barrels last year.

Gas exports meanwhile grew by 763 million cubic metres to a total of 97.3 billion cubic metres, but since prices slipped the value of those exports were down 14 percent year-on-year to 161.7 billion kroner, Statistics Norway said.

Not counting oil and gas, Norway posted a trade deficit of 113.4 billion kroner, a slight improvement over the 2009 trade deficit of 119.2 billion.

In December, the country\’s trade deficit, not counting oil and gas, meanwhile grew year-on-year to 11 billion kroner from 8.0 billion in 2009.

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