Denmark's GDP soars thanks to growing pharma sector

Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark.
Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
By James Thomas
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Denmark's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 2% in the fourth quarter of 2023, largely bolstered by the country's expanding pharmaceutical sector.


The country's statistical office said on Tuesday that the stellar growth in Q4 meant that GDP growth for the entire year stood at 1.8%, and that it had revised GDP growth in the third quarter to an increase of 0.4%, shooting up from a previously estimated 0.7% fall.

The pharmaceutical industry is the "driving force" behind the growth, Danmarks Statistik said, as Danish companies such as Novo Nordisk continue to go from strength to strength.

With a market capitalisation of more than €500 billion, Novo Nordisk stands as Europe's most valuable company, outperforming the luxury empire of LVMH. 

It attributes the bulk of its recent success to its flagship anti-obesity drugs - Wegovy and Ozempic - which have allowed the company to secure net sales of DKK 232.3 million (€31.2 billion) in 2023, up 31% from the year before and 65% from 2021.

Danmarks Statistik said on Tuesday that the pharmaceutical industry's gross value added (GVA) increased by more than 50% in 2023, and that its contribution to Denmark's GDP grew by 1.8% compared to the year before.

"Without the pharmaceutical industry's contribution, GDP would have fallen by 0.1 per cent," the statistical office said.

It also attributed some of its GDP growth to household consumption which, it said, grew by 1.7% in the final quarter of 2023, capping off a year of increase.

Growth in the fourth quarter was particularly marked by the private purchase of vehicles, which went up by 21.4%, according to Danmarks Statistik. Household consumption of other goods grew by 2.5%, it said.

The country also benefited from increases in foreign trade in the final quarter of 2023, with imports rising by 1.1% and exports by 5.7%. Imports were driven by a 3.1% rise in goods, while the import of services fell by 1.6%, the statistical office said.

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