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POLL-Norway to hike rates 25 basis points this week, faster pace ahead

By Reuters_News

10:30, 20 June 2022

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A file photo of a general view of the Norwegian central bank, where Norway's sovereign wealth fund is situated, in Oslo, Norway, March 6, 2018.
A file photo of a general view of the Norwegian central bank, where Norway's sovereign wealth fund is situated, in Oslo, Norway, March 6, 2018.

- Norway's central bank is expected to raise its benchmark interest rate again this week and signal a faster increase in the cost of borrowing during the third quarter of the year as inflation soars, a Reuters poll showed on Monday.

Of the 20 economists surveyed, 14 predicted Norges Bank will hike by 25 basis points on June 23 to a rate of 1.00%, in line with the central bank's own forecast, while six said a 50 point increase to 1.25% was the most likely outcome.

Statistics Norway last week also said Norges Bank should hike by 50 basis points this month, which would be the largest single increase since 2002.

Central banks globally are struggling to contain price growth in the wake of the pandemic and the Ukraine war, leading to 75 basis point U.S. Federal Reserve rate rise last week, as well as a surprise increase by the Swiss National Bank and new policy tools at the ECB.

Norway's May consumer prices rose 5.7% year-on-year even though the government has partly capped soaring electricity bills. Core inflation, which excludes energy, meanwhile stood at 3.4%, exceeding the central bank's goal of 2.0%.

A majority of participants in the Reuters poll now say rates will hit at least 1.50% by the end of September, more than the 1.25% projected by the central bank in its March policy update.

Capital Economics predicted an even faster pace, arguing for a rise of 50 basis points this week, 25 in August and another 25 in September, taking the policy rate to 1.75%.

"Crucially, given rising global food prices and a weaker Norwegian (currency), imported goods inflation is likely to rise further over the coming months," they wrote in a client note.

In addition, Norway's red-hot labour market is also expected to translate into higher inflation in labour-intensive service industries, it said.

The policy rate is now expected to hit 2.50% in the second quarter of 2023, the poll found, six months earlier than Norges Bank's own prediction from March.

The central bank last week released a businesses survey showing an outlook for faster wage increases and slower overall growth as the economy hits capacity constraints.



Reporting by Gwladys Fouche and Terje Solsvik; Polling by Sarupya Ganguly in Bengaluru; Editing by Ross Finley and Alison Williams

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