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Oil and gas boost Norway's surplus

Norway's current account surplus rose to a record high in 2000, eclipsing 1916 when Norwegian ship owners cashed in on high freight rates during World War One, Statistics Norway said on Tuesday. The surplus rocketed to NOK 196.0 billion ($21.83 billion) last year from NOK 46.9 billion in 1999, underscoring pressures on the Labour government to spend more of Norway's wealth ahead of general elections in September. The 2000 surplus, swollen by high oil and gas prices and output, represented a record 14 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and beat 10 percent in 1916 when Norway, neutral during World War One, benefited from high shipping rates.