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Record Weak Krone Is Pressure Point for Norges Bank's Rate Plan

Sveinung Sleire
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Record Weak Krone Is Pressure Point for Norges Bank's Rate Plan

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The battered krone is a rising challenge for Norges Bank’s plan to keep interest rates unchanged after four increases over the past year.

And while Norwegian policy makers meet this week, with a rate decision announced on Thursday, we will likely have to wait until December to see just how big a challenge.

The decision on Thursday is an interim meeting and doesn’t include any updated economic forecasts or a press conference. The Oslo-based bank is anticipated to keep rates unchanged and repeat its outlook that the policy rate “will most likely remain at this level in the coming period.”

Dubbed the “last hawk” by local economists, the bank in September raised rates for a fourth time over the past 12 months to cool the oil-stoked economy. It has so far been undeterred by a global slowdown and the renewed stimulus from the European Central Bank and the U.S. Federal Reserve. It penciled in a slight chance for another hike early next year, but said there was also “considerable” global uncertainty.

That uncertainty, and a plunge in the price of oil, weakened the krone to an all-time low against the euro this month, potentially ratcheting up inflation that is already above target.

Economic data in western Europe’s largest producer of oil and gas have since September been in the lower end of market predictions. The price of Brent crude has plunged about 9%, while labor market and inflation data have been largely in line with the central bank’s estimates. In an interview earlier this month, central bank Governor Oystein Olsen said that recent data had been on the weak side, but that was mostly confidence indicators and not hard data.

Here’s what the largest Nordic banks say about the upcoming rate decision this week.

--With assistance from Nick Rigillo.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sveinung Sleire in Oslo at ssleire1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonas Bergman at jbergman@bloomberg.net

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