Norway’s Economy Grew Faster Than Estimated in Second Quarter

Norway’s economy grew faster-than-estimated in the second quarter, easing pressure on the central bank to lower interest rates again.

Mainland gross domestic product, which excludes oil, gas and shipping, expanded 0.4 percent in the three-month period through June, beating the 0.3 percent estimate in a survey of economists. GDP as a whole was unchanged, Statistics Norway said on Wednesday.

The government is using its massive sovereign wealth fund to drive the biggest fiscal stimulus push since 2009 to protect the oil export-dependent economy from the ravages of the plunge in crude prices. Unemployment has jumped to the highest in at least a decade and the weakening krone has driven inflation to above 4 percent, hurting consumers’ purchasing power.

The central bank has cut interest rates to a record low of 0.5 percent and signaled it’s prepared to ease further.

Consumer spending rose 0.4 percent, driven by housing investments, and public spending climbed 0.6 percent in the period. Exports fell 0.3 percent in the quarter and imports slid 1.7 percent, while petroleum and shipping industry output decreased 1.4 percent, the agency said.

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