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Norway Unemployment Fell to 3.2% in January as Krone Gained

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March 21 (Bloomberg) -- Norway’s unemployment rate fell in the January quarter as the strengthening krone weighed on exporters.

The country’s jobless rate fell to 3.2 percent from 3.3 percent in the December quarter, Oslo-based Statistics Norway said today. The median forecast of nine economists in a survey was for 3.3 percent.

Norway, Europe’s second-largest gas exporter, has withstood the region’s debt crisis as higher petroleum prices spur record investments this year in offshore oil and gas fields.

The central bank cut its benchmark interest rate for a second consecutive meeting last week to 1.5 percent in an effort to check gains in the krone that are hurting exporters. The krone jumped to a nine-year high against the euro this month.

Companies such as Renewable Energy Corp. ASA, a maker of solar energy components, have announced job cuts as the strong currency hurts competitiveness and demand wanes from debt-burdened Europe.

To contact the reporter on this story: Josiane Kremer in Oslo at jkremer4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonas Bergman at jbergman@bloomberg.net

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