Øystein Olsen: Economic perspectives

Annual address by Mr Øystein Olsen, Governor of Norges Bank (Central Bank of Norway), to the Supervisory Council of Norges Bank and invited guests, Oslo, 13 February 2020.

Central bank speech  | 
17 February 2020
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From oil and gas to financial capital

"We are now moving into the final phase of a period where domestic raw materials and energy sources have provided an essential basis for economic expansion. Hereafter, growth must increasingly rely on the production of finished goods in areas where we do not have a natural advantage."

The same could be said about the challenges facing the Norwegian economy today. But this quote is from 50 years ago - from the annual address by central bank governor Erik Brofoss on 16 February 1970.

The 50th anniversary of the first oil discovery on the Ekofisk field was commemorated in October last year. Aptly enough, this took place on the same day as the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) topped NOK 10 000 billion.

In the governor's address on the economic situation, there was no mention of what was to become Norway's main revenue source over the next half-century.

In hindsight, it can be said that what was to be his last annual address may not have been the most prescient. To be sure, it was still highly uncertain at that time how much oil and gas were actually hidden under the ocean floor 320 kilometres southwest of Stavanger. Not to mention, the value of that natural resource was much lower than today.