Monthly Archives: September 2015
Norway. Natural gas vs crude oil 1:0
It has happened! According to the analytic data this year (probbly first time in history) will see Norway profiting more from the export of natural gas than crude oil. It is common knowledge that this is a side effect of unstable low prices of crude oil in the world which have prevailed since the beginning of 2015.
As estimates show, the total sale of natural gas in 2015 will reach the worth of EUR 25.2 billion as compared to EUR 23.4 worth of crude oil.
Economy of Norway runs on crude oil and this why it has slowed down in the first three months of 2015. And it is no wonder, over a year ago oil cost more than $100 a barrel (159 liter) whereas now half the price.
The unemployment rate - lowest over the past 11 years - is an evident result of the disturbances in Norwegian economy. It will most likely exceed 4.5 per cent at the end of the year. According to Norwegian statistical data there were 93,000 unemployed registered in August. Nearly 22,000 people lost their job in the oil industry or were transferred to so-called 'permittering', that is a rest period during which an employee is entitled to the unemployment allowance even though they are formally employed and are considered to resume their positions if there is enough workplace or new assignments turn up.
Economic slowdown will also be suffered by those receiving their wages in Norwegian krones. A Norewgian currency systematically weakens against a dollar, euro, Polish zloty or Swedish krone. The last time when a Norwegian krone was so weak in comparison to a Swedish one was 15 years ago.
It is worthwhile to follow the news regarding Norwegian economy, especially if we are related by business with this country. All the more so because almost all analysts agree that economic slowdown will affect the Norwegian national budget and this may mean budget cuts next year.
Scandinavia almost with no corruption
This is undoubtedly yet another reason why one should start business with Scandinavian countries. They were ranked highest on the Transparency International report as the least corrupt countries. Strong and deep-rooted ethics values need to be certainly taken into consideration when running business negotiations with Scandinavian partners.
The analysis was conducted on 175 states all over the world in a very simple way. Each country based on the opinion regarding the public sector issued by the world experts was awarded a number of points ranging from 0 (extremely corrupt)) to 100 (no corruption).
Among the top countries (the least corrupt) were Denmark (92 points), New Zealand (91), Finland (89), Sweden (87), Norway and Switzerland (84). Singapore, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Canada were ranked in the first ten, too.
Afghanistan (12 points), Sudan (11), North Korea and Somalia, which got barely 8 points came last.
Transparency International emphasized the fact that none of the 175 countries scored the total of 100 points. What i smore, nearly 2/3 of the countries in question scored less than 50 points. This data is rather alarming and worth considering. The message is - clear there is not a single country in the whole world totally free of corruption in the public sector.
And what about Poland? Our country was awarded 61 points and was ranked 35 in the list. In comparison to previous years, it is evident that the corruption rate has decreased recently: in 2012 it was 58 points whereas a year later 60.
Sweden and Poland – common business, common security
Development of ferry connections between Poland and Scandinavia in the 1990's brought the Baltic adjoining countries closer and initiated a dynamic growth in trade exchange. Projects including Motorways of the Sea or Baltic-Adriatic Transport Cooperation (which evolves slowly but consistently) make Sweden and Poland key players among these potential countries which link the economic bloodstream along the north-south axis. However, is trade cooperation the only field where interests of our countries are shared?
Few will remember that the 2008 EU project of so-called Eastern Partnership (EaP) which aims at tightening cooperation between the European Union and Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova and final extension of the EU to the east was initiated by the diplomacy of Poland and Sweden. It is obvious that the strategic objective of this project is to push the safety buffer further to the east.
Recent research shows that 41 per cent of the Swedish population want to see Sweden among the NATO members, which is unprecedented. Until now, Sweden formally outside the NATO structures was rather sceptical - only 20 pre cent of Swedes supported NATO accession. This basic change is the result of the Ukrainian crisis and a general sense of impending doom from the east. It seems that Swedes want to play a more active part in building security and safety structures in Europe, and once more Poland and Sweden share the same interest. Especially that nothing is more favourable to business than permanent security.