Norway sees PPI pulled higher by energy prices

Prices for oil and gas improved 6.6 percent from December, the government reported.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Feb. 9, 2018 at 7:21 AM
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Feb. 9 (UPI) -- The government of Norway, one of the world's leading oil and gas producers, said its Producer Price Index was pulled higher by energy prices.

Statistics Norway, the government's record-keeping agency reported the Producer Price Index increased 3.1 percent from December to January. By comparison, U.S. data show PPI in slightly negative territory in December, the last full month for which data are available.

Norway said the increase from December was led primarily by higher prices for oil and natural gas.

"Prices on crude oil and natural gas combined rose by 6.6 percent from December to January, which continued the price growth on Norway's most important exported products," the agency reported. "Crude oil and natural gas prices have both been rising since mid-2017."

PPI measures selling prices for domestic producers. Norway is the top oil and natural gas supplier for the European economy, aside from Russia, putting nearly all of its offshore production on the export market. Total production last year, including preliminary figures from December, was 37.7 million barrels of oil equivalent higher than 2016.

Energy prices entered the year in rally mode, with the price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, settling at historic highs above $70 per barrel last month. Commodity prices have cooled off considerably in February as broader stock markets slide on inflationary fears.

The price for Brent has already given up its gains for the year, trading near $64 per barrel early Friday. Most market analysts are describing the backsliding as a correction, however, and not a sign of looming economic woes.

In late January, Norge Bank, the Norwegian central bank, said balance of risks was relatively even.

Statistics Norway reported that prices for mining support servicing, including those related to extraction, grew 9.2 percent from December.

"However, prices on these types of services tend to fluctuate from one month to the next," its report read.

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