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Norway’s government in deficit for the first time in 25 years

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Norway’s quarterly public spending exceeded the government’s overall income for the first time in 25 years during the three months from April to June, Statistics Norway (SSB) said on Wednesday.

The unusual deficit, amounting to 83 billion Norwegian crowns ($9.5 billion), came as the COVID-19 pandemic caused a sharp fall in tax revenue and in the price of crude oil, Norway’s top export, while spending rose to protect the economy.

“Dividends from the sovereign wealth fund and state-owned enterprises (also) fell, and in addition the government’s income from ownership stakes in the petroleum industry sharply declined,” SSB said in a statement.

“The public sector has shielded the private sector from much of the decline in income,” the agency wrote.

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