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Low oil? Norwegian economy 'rock solid': FinMin

Norway FinMin: Oil fund will finance growth

Norway is "rock solid", the country's finance minister told CNBC on Friday, stressing that while the oil-producing nation is affected by the drop in oil prices, it is still seeing growth elsewhere in the economy.

"Of course we are affected by the fact that the oil price has dropped as much as it has," Siv Jensen said.

Since the summer of 2014, the Norwegian economy has been experiencing a clear downturn, the country's statistics agency Statistics Norway said in a report published on Thursday

Oil prices started on their sharp downward trajectory at that point and the country's oil investments suffered. Mainland Norway's gross domestic product (GDP) increased in 2015 by 1.0 percent, the agency said, the weakest growth since the financial crisis in 2009.

Jensen said a mix of fiscal and monetary policy tools was "vital" to support the economy, adding that structural reforms need to be imposed. The country's parliament was currently negotiating tax reform - the minority government needs backing from other parties in parliament - and Jensen said Norway is also hoping to grow its economy further through renewable energy.

Statistics Norway expects the economic downturn to last until the end of 2016.

Norway FinMin: EU relationship has served us well

To help support the economy, Norway's $819 billion sovereign wealth fund transferred $781 million to the government in January – the first such transfer since the fund was set up in 1996, according to the country's Ministry of Finance.

The country's rainy-day pot of cash is the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world and is bolstered by revenue from sales of oil.

Jensen insisted the fund was still growing through its investments.

"But of course since the price of oil is lower, what we add to the fund very year now is lower than expected," she said.

She added that the fund invested with a very long-term perspective and that withdrawals had been planned since the fund mechanisms were established. "We will spend money from the return so that we can invest in important issues in Norway to continue growth," Jensen said.

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