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Norway Manufacturing Shrinks in October as Production Falls

Norwegian manufacturing contracted for a fifth straight month in October amid a drop in production as companies prepare for weaker export demand from the debt-laden Europe.

A seasonally adjusted index based on responses from purchasing managers fell to 48.7 from a revised 49.1 in September, Oslo-based Fokus Bank said today. The median estimate of four economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for an index of 49.5. A reading below 50 signals a contraction.

PMI sub-index measuring orders rose to 49.6 from 47.3 in September. The employment index dropped to 49.1 from 50.7 and the production measure decreased to 48.4 from 49.2. Inventories fell to 44.1 from 46.5.

Norway’s central bank held its benchmark rate unchanged at 1.5 percent yesterday and pushed back plans to tighten monetary policy. Governor Oeystein Olsen said he probably won’t start raising interest rates until March at the earliest, citing low interest rates abroad, a strong krone and below target inflation.

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