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Centre for Applied Macroeconomics and Commodity Prices (CAMP)

CAMP is established to bring together economists working on applied macroeconomic issues, with special emphasis on energy economics.

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The FNI was last updated 31 March.

Updated with news from March, the FNI index for the Norwegian economy shows that the business cycle is still falling sharply. Since the last update - a week ago - the index has fallen by almost 0.5 percentage points, from approximately -1 to -1.5. This update indicates a clear recession.

The FNI index indicated that we were entering an economic recession already in the update we did by the end of February. Due to the Corona crisis, we have updated the index several times in March. In the latest update that we are now publishing, the historical figures for the end of February and the beginning of March are revised up somewhat, while the development of the last weeks shows a sharp decline. The historical revisions are model technical, and partly a result of large variations in the data contained in the model. The index level at the end of March is around -1.5. This is a decline of nearly 0.5 since the last update a week ago.

The figure below compares the current development in the FNI index with its development at the beginning of the financial crisis and oil crisis. The figures are normalized to 0 by the assumed starting point for each crisis, and shows the development in the FNI index 30 days before the starting point, and up to 90 days after.

The figure clearly shows that the Norwegian economy is already in a very serious situation. In contrast to the historical figures for the financial crisis and oil crisis, we have few sound economic figures that tells us about the current situation in the economy. Still, the FNI index indicates that the fall in the business cycle is as steep and negative as during the financial crisis. We expect (unfortunately) that this picture will get worse as more sound economic figures and news ae published.

In the time that follows, we will monitor the business cycle closely, and we will probably publish updated FNI numbers more often than the regular monthly updates.


The figure graphs the Financial News Index (FNI) with 68 percent confidence bands. The blue solid line demeaned quarterly GDP growth Mainland Norway, sourced from Statistics Norway (SSB). Please use the citation "FNI - Retriever/CAMP_BI" when using the index. 

For previous FNI updates, please visit our blog.

For more information, contact Professor Hilde C. Bjørnland, BI Norwegian Business School, +47 464 10 767, or Associate Professor  Leif A. Thorsrud, BI Norwegian Business School, +47 988 37 976,



The Financial News index (FNI) is designed to track Norwegian GDP growth and the business cycle at high frequency. Its underlying indicators, and novelty, are daily time series representing how much the media writes about various topics.

The central idea behind the index is simple: To the extent that newspapers provide a relevant description of the economy, the more intensive a given topic is represented in the newspaper at a given point in time, the more likely it is that this topic represents something of importance for the economy's current and future needs and developments.
Thus, the FNI captures the continuously evolving narrative about economic conditions, and relates this to actual GDP growth and the business cycle.

The average value of the FNI is zero. Progressively bigger positive values indicate progressively better-than-average business cycle conditions. Conversely, progressively more negative values indicate progressively worse-than-average conditions.

The FNI is produced by Retriever and Centre for Applied Macroeconomics and Commodity Prices at BI Norwegian Business School (CAMP). Please use the citation “FNI - Retriever/CAMP(BI)” when using the index.  

Disclaimer: All opinions and estimates of the FNI are, regardless of source, given in good faith. The user assumes the entire risk related to the use of this information. The authors are providing this information "as is," and the authors disclaim any and all warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. In no event will the authors be liable for any damages or lost profit resulting from any use or misuse of this information.


Decision makers and forecasters need to assess the state of the economy in real time to devise appropriate policy responses and condition on an updated information set. However, in real time, our main measure of economic activity, GDP growth, is not observed as it is compiled on a quarterly frequency and published with a considerable lag, usually up to at least one quarter.

Internationally, many high frequency business cycle indicators have been constructed to mediate these caveats. For the Norwegian economy, no such high frequency indicators exist. The FNI aims to fill this hole. However, unlike other (international) indexes with the same purpose, it has one distinctive property: The information set used to derive the index consists of daily newspaper topics.

The FNI published here utilizes a large newspaper corpus from many different news sources. In short, this combined corpus is first decomposed into distinct daily news topics. In turn, these news topics are used together with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to derive the daily index. The construction of the FNI is based on the framework developed in Leif Anders Thorsrud (2018), "Words are the new numbers: A newsy coincident index of business cycles", Journal of Business & Economic Statistics. In this research article it is shown that the derived index has very good classification properties for the Norwegian business cycle. That is, it captures expansions and recessions well. We refer to this article for an in-debt description of how the index is constructed.

This is the start of an ongoing research cooperation to enhance knowledge on macroeconomic developments.

Related Research

The construction of the FNI is part of a larger research agenda where unstructured textual data is used to understand and explain (macro) economic fluctuations. The interested reader can find related literature here:

  • Thorsrud, Leif Anders (2018), "Words are the new numbers: A newsy coincident index of the business cycle", Journal of Business & Economic Statistics.

  • Larsen, Vegard H. and Thorsrud, Leif Anders (2019), "The value of news for economic developments", Journal of Econometrics


Here we present Centre for Applied Macro- and Petroleum Economics (CAMP) forecasts for key Norwegian macroeconomic variables.

The purpose of this project is to improve human knowledge on macroeconomic models and their forecasts.

Forecasts produced in 2018

December 2018 (.pdf)

Forecasts produced in 2017

December 2017 (.pdf)

Forecasts produced in 2015

December 2015 (.pdf)

Forecasts produced in 2013

December 2013 (.pdf)
April 2013 (.pdf)

Forecasts produced in 2012

December 2012 (.pdf)