De tre store ratingbyråene, Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s og Fitch har alle Norge oppe på en AAA rating. Moody’s opprettholdt denne ratingen og gav denne forklaringen i en pressemelding i juli:
Norway’s Aaa sovereign rating reflects the government’s prudent policies and the robustness of its balance sheet, says Moody’s Investors Service in its new sovereign credit report for the country. This strength is underpinned by substantial hydrocarbon reserves and the world’s second-largest sovereign wealth fund. However, high levels of household indebtedness could be a source of risk going forward. The outlook on the rating is stable.
The currently high oil prices have a positive effect on Norway’s economy and government finances given that the country is one of the world’s largest exporters of oil and gas. Economic growth has rebounded and Moody’s expects it to be well above trend in 2011-12, due in part to a resurgence in investment activity directly related to higher oil prices. Robust economic activity has also led to higher-than-expected revenue growth, which means that the government will almost certainly outperform the country’s fiscal rule in 2011. This rule states that only 4% of real returns from Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the Government Pension Fund–Global (GPF-G), should be incorporated into the government’s annual budget.
In the report, Moody’s notes that Norway’s rich hydrocarbons reserves and its large sovereign wealth fund are important sources of strength. The GPF-G makes the Norwegian economy and fiscal position more resilient, as it can be used to cushion the effect of a cyclical downturn on the real economy. It also gives the government increased scope to absorb the future costs of an ageing population.
Moody’s believes that one area of concern for the Norwegian sovereign is the high level of household indebtedness. However, this issue should be kept in perspective as the banking sector is relatively small in comparison to the overall economy and the banks are well capitalised. Nevertheless, this is a source of risk because: (i) the proportion of highly indebted households is significant; (ii) 90% of mortgages are on variable rates; and (iii) economic growth could be adversely affected if an unexpectedly large rise in interest rates were to significantly increase the cost of servicing mortgage debt.
Vi har AAA i stor grad på grunn av olje, og det eneste av bekymring, alvorlig bekymring i følge Moody’s, er den private gjelden. Et viktig poeng er at 90% av lånetakere har flytende rente på lånet sitt og hvis renten øker uvanlig, blir rentebyrden dramatisk. Heldigvis for oss, så tvinger dårlige økonomiske utsikter i resten av verden lave renter i Norge.