The market and the economy in 2013
There will always be something to worry about. A recurring concern this year was the fear of weaker global growth, generally accompanied by references to higher property prices and speculative lending in China. When the IMF presented its usual autumn World Economic Outlook in October, the estimates for 2013 were adjusted downwards for the sixth time running – accompanied by warnings about the many things that could go wrong. The estimates for 2014 were also adjusted downwards, for the third time out of a total of three.
In the meantime, the MSCI World Index rose to new all-time highs. Measured in local currency, the index recorded a return of almost 30 per cent, its best performance since 1986.
Here in Norway concern about the growth of the Norwegian economy was increasing. Not only was it becoming increasingly more obvious that growth in the mainland economy would suffer as a consequence of weaker impulses from the petroleum sector; it was also very apparent that the wage costs shouldered by Norwegian business and industry had raced past the levels borne by our trading partners. Nor could any help be expected from housing investments, quite the contrary. During the course of the year, the forecasts for the Norwegian economy were adjusted downwards by a significant amount.
In the meantime, the Oslo Børs benchmark index hit an all-time high for the first time in over six years. Not unexpectedly, the new record – which lasted for exactly 24 hours – attracted much attention.
2013 in a nutshell
|S&P 500 return||+32.4%|
|MSCI World net (USD)||+26.7%|
|3-month NIBOR||from 1.83 to 1.69%|
|10 year Norwegian Treasury||from 2.04 to 3.04%|
|Share turnover Oslo Børs (value)||-16.4%|
|Brent Blend||from USD 111.11 to USD 110.80|
|USD/NOK||from 5.57 to 6.08|
|EUR/NOK||from 7.34 to 8.38|
|GDP growth global||3.3%|
|GDP growth Norway||1.0%|
|GDP growth Mainland Norway||2.3%|
Sources: Oslo Børs, S&P Dow Jones Indices, MSCI, Norges Bank, FactSet, IMF, SSB, Pareto. GDP growth is updated with revised estimates after the respective Pareto annual reports were published.