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Norwegian January Retail Sales Rise More Than Estimated

Norwegian retail sales rose more than estimated in January as western Europe’s biggest oil producer showed resilience to Europe’s debt crisis.

Retail sales, excluding motor vehicles and petrol stations, gained 1.2 percent in the month and 2.7 percent in the year, the Oslo-based statistics office said in a statement today. Sales were estimated to rise 0.4 percent in the month, according to a Bloomberg survey of six economists.

The economy of the world’s fourth-richest nation per capita has so far been shielded from the fallout of the euro area debt crisis. Record investments in the oil and gas industry have fuelled demand for labor, pushing up wages.

Central bank policy makers in December kept their benchmark deposit rate unchanged at 1.5 percent and signaled they may increase rates as soon as next month to cool a surging property market and record private debt burdens.

Norges Bank will publish its next rate decision on March 14.

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