Norway posts growth of 3.5% in 2012

Norway posts growth of 3.5% in 2012
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Norway's economy grew by 3.5 percent last year despite a notable slowdown in the fourth quarter, Statistics Norway (SSB) said on Wednesday.

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

Including the oil and shipping sectors, 2012 growth ticked in somewhatlower, at 3.2 percent.

Although that figure remains high compared to other European countries, itis significantly below the levels registered in the years prior to the global economic and financial crisis that has raged since 2008.

In the fourth quarter of last year, Norway saw mainland growth of just 0.3percent, in line with forecasts by economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires but considerably lower than in previous quarters.

In the third quarter, gross domestic product grew by 0.8 percent, SSB saidas it revised the figure upward by 0.1 point. The economy grew by 0.7 percent in the second quarter and 1.0 percent in the first.

A 0.1-percent decline in exports on weaker foreign demand and shrinkinghousehold consumption were responsible for the slowdown, SSB said.

Overall GDP, including oil and shipping, grew by 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter.

Norway has been largely spared from the crisis, owing primarily to the high level of oil investments in the country which have increased on high oil prices.

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