Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The Norwegian Household Debt Disaster

Almost three years ago I wrote an article about how one of the richest countries on earth had turned its citizens into debt slaves. This country was Norway. 

Since then, households have taken on substantially more debt than any income growth could ever "justify". The result is, according to data published today by Statistics Norway, that the debt to disposable income ratio for Norwegian households have increased to 232% as of Q4 2015 - the highest ever reported based on data since 2004 (and likely the highest ever) and almost twice as high as it was back then some eleven years ago. 

Could this indebtedness possibly have anything to do with Norges Bank's (the country's central bank) reckless monetary policies I wonder...

Banks, debtors and myopic politicians can only hope the debt fest continues, keeping the ultra-low interest rate environment in place with it. Meanwhile, savings account depositors see the value of their savings eroding every, single day. 

As the "economists" at Norges Bank should know only too well (I don't know this for certain...), policies rewarding the careless (debt-driven housing booms, spending sprees) and penalising the prudent (savers) can only ever end one way -  badly. A shame the central bank and current and previous governments will never be held accountable for the financial instability that will finally be revealed for all to see when the house of debt comes crumbling down. All will be blamed on the oil price, you see.

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