Norwegian Retail Sales Advance as Consumers Show Resilience

Norwegian retail sales rose more than estimated last month as the economy of western Europe’s largest oil exporter showed resilience.

Sales, excluding motor vehicles and petrol stations, rose 0.2 percent in the month and fell 1.6 percent in the year, the Oslo-based statistics office said in a statement today. Sales were expected to rise 0.1 percent in the month, according to a Bloomberg survey of six economists.

The central bank last month kept its benchmark deposit rate unchanged at 1.5 percent and stuck to plans for a rate increase as early as March as it tries to damp a run-away housing market and record high private debt burdens. Norway’s economic strength and higher rates than elsewhere have stoked demand for the krone, which rose to a record on an import-weighted basis this year.

In a separate release, the statistics agency said credit growth slowed to 6.5 percent in December from 7.1 in November. Household credit growth was unchanged at 7.2 percent while business loan growth slowed to 5 percent from 6.4 percent.

Unemployment in western Europe’s largest oil exporter unexpectedly rose to 3.5 percent in November from 3.3 percent the previous month, the agency said yesterday. Exports dropped an annual 9.7 percent in December, official data showed.

The krone weakened 0.2 percent against the euro to 7.4430 as of 10:08 a.m. in Oslo. Versus the dollar, the krone was 0.2 percent weaker at 5.4888.

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