Norway awaits oil impact on employment

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Analysts at Nordea and Handelsbanken suggest that there could be a delayed reaction to Norway’s unemployment figures from the most recent collapse in global oil prices.

Figures published on 23 December suggest the rising unemployment trend seen since June has continued in Norway, albeit only contributing fractions of a percentage point to the latest official rate of 3.8% in October – itself still suggesting a significantly tighter labour market than elsewhere in Europe.

However, Ingvild Borgen Gjerde, economist at Handelsbanken in Norway, noted that oil workers “who were well paid and probably had good severance packages, have probably not registered at the labour office (NAV), and this explains why we do not see an increase in the registered unemployment figures.”

“Norges Bank pays more attention to the registered unemployment rate, but takes notice of the weak trend in employment growth. This underlines and maybe strengthens the view that capacity utilisation in the Norwegian economy has weakened.”

According to figures published by the Oslo Børs, the biggest listed company by market capitalisation, Statoil, has seen its share price fall by over 13.5% in the month to 23 December.

The Oslo OAX10 Energy index of companies involved in providing oil rigs and other energy related services is down 14% over the past month, and down by some 32% over the past 12 months.

Data from FE suggests that funds exposed to the Norwegian energy sector are similarly suffering.

The Norway domiciled DNB Miljoinvest and DNB Navigator are down some 21% and 25% respectively over three months. However, over the past year, the Navigator is down 28% while Miljoinvest is up over 6%.

The difference may be down to the different mandates: Miljoinvest is focused on renewables, while Navigator invests in shipping and offshore oil services – with the latter being hard hit by the ongoing fall in global oil prices.

 

 

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