Norwegian economy grows in third quarter

Norway's economy grew by 0.7 percent in the third quarter of the year, Statistics Norway said on Tuesday, announcing stronger than expected data.

While the figure is seen as robust compared to other Western countries, it represents a slight slowdown in Norway's growth rate since the start of the year as the economic crisis impacts many of its key European trading partners.

Norway's growth figures strip out the volatile oil and shipping sectors. The country is one of the world's biggest oil and gas exporters.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast growth of 0.5 percent for the period.

Meanwhile, Statistics Norway revised downwards its growth figures for the first half of the year, lowering the first quarter to 0.9 percent from 1.2
percent and the second quarter from 1.0 to 0.8 percent.

In the third quarter, economic activity was bolstered by services and industrial output linked to the oil and gas sector, the statistics agency said, noting however a drop in electricity production.

Including the oil and shipping sectors, overall gross domestic product shrank by 0.8 percent in the third quarter, impacted heavily by a 7.7 percent
drop in hydrocarbon production caused by maintenance work on platforms, incidents and strikes.

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‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.