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TODAY IN NORWAY

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Figures reveal how much household expenses have risen and school exams to go ahead despite teachers' strike disruption, plus other news from Norway on Friday. 

Pictured is one of Norway's many spectacular fjords.
Find out what's going on in Norway on Friday with The Local's short roundup of important news. Pictured is one of Norway's many spectacular fjords. Photo by Shinjan Bhattacharya on Unsplash

Consumers more concerned with energy bills than high-interest rates

Energy and food prices are more concerning for consumers in Norway than rising interest rates, a survey carried out by Sparebank 1 has revealed. 

On Thursday, Norges Bank announced it would raise the interest rate by 0.5 percentage points to 2.25 percent. 

According to the survey, three-quarters of respondents had taken action to deal with the cost of living increases across the board. 

Norwegian newswire NTB reports that 52 percent are worried about the high electricity bills, 46 percent about the high food prices, and 41 per cent are concerned about high-interest rates. 

Tests to go ahead despite teachers’ strike disruption

National tests will not be postponed, despite the ongoing strike’s disruption of students’ education. 

Nationwide exams are mandatory testing of pupils’ skills in reading, arithmetic and English in the fifth, eighth and ninth grades.

In Bergen, several schools have told the newspaper Bergens Tidende that they will struggle to be able to carry out the tests by the deadline of Friday next week. 

“In several schools, we see that it is difficult to achieve this (testing). If the students come back this week, it may be possible, but in the schools that are hardest hit by strikes, it may not be wise and appropriate,” Frode Nilsen told the paper. 

Still, the Education Directorate has said it would not extend the deadline and that tests will go ahead. 

Household expenses for typical household risen by around 1,100 kroner per month

The expenses for a typical Norwegian family have risen by around 1,100 kroner per month, according to researchers at the analysis institute Consumption Research Norway (SIFO). 

Costs for food, other groceries and running a car have increased over the last six months. However, the cost of childcare has fallen. 

SIFO said that it had to update its reference budget for households twice this year, the first time since the 1990s that it has done so. 

Interest rates could dampen the housing market

Norway’s association of estate agents has warned that recent interest rate jumps will lead to a sharp drop in home sales and house building. 

“If interest rates are raised too quickly, and too much, unemployment can become so high, and purchasing power so weakened that it triggers a housing recession in the form of a sharp drop in housing sales and housing construction”, managing director of the Norwegian Real Estate Association, Carl O. Geiving, said.

READ ALSO: The hidden extra costs when buying property in Norway

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TODAY IN NORWAY

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Norway’s oil fund could face diminishing returns, Norwegian banks raise interest rates, plus other news from Norway on Tuesday. 

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Banks raise interest rates

Following Norges Bank raising the key policy rate by 0.5 percentage points last week, several commercial banks and lenders followed suit. 

Two of Norway’s biggest banks, DNB and Sparebank 1, have announced rises. Nordea has also announced a rate hike as well. 

The consequence of this is that loan and mortgage repayments will become more expensive for new and existing customers. 

Norges Bank announced the key policy rate would be set to 2.25 percent to try and curb rising inflation in Norway. However, Statistics Norway has previously warned that the increased rate would lead to increased unemployment in the medium term. 

Key vocab: Boliglånsrenten- mortgage interest rate

Norwegian oil fund could face diminishing returns in the coming years

A report on the long-term future of Norway’s Government Pension Fund, or oil fund, has found that it could face challenging times in the coming years. 

“The fund has long reaped the benefits of globalisation and technological development. But Norway cannot base itself on the fact that the international political and economic framework conditions will be the same, and as favourable as they have been,” Ulf Sverdrup, the director of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, wrote

“The uncertainty is great, but the return may be lower than we are used to, while a new and complicated risk picture may make management more difficult,” he added. 

READ MORE: What does Norway do with its oil money?

Sharp decrease in e-scooter accidents in Oslo

Electric scooter accidents in Oslo have plummeted over the past year, new figures show. 

Between July 2022 and July 2021, the number of accidents in Oslo’s capital fell by around 80 percent, local newspaper Vårt Oslo reports. 

During this period, the number of scooters has been reduced sharply, and users can’t rent the devices past a certain time. Nationally, a blood alcohol limit has also been introduced. 

“There were a lot of accidents involving blood alcohol levels. Now the situation is completely different,” Ragnhild Kaski, from alcohol awareness group Av-og-til, told Vårt Oslo. 

Key vocab: Elsparkesykkel- Electric scooter

Health of young women has decreased over the past 20 years

National data agency Statistics Norway (SSB) reports that half of women aged between 16 and 24 live in more pain and discomfort than 20 years ago. 

Up to half of young women said they struggle with permanent and recurring headaches.

“Although most people believe that they are in good health, many women say that they are plagued by symptoms such as stomach pain, headaches, sleep difficulties and other pains in the body,” senior adviser at Statistics Norway Elin Skretting Lunde said. 

READ ALSO: Six things to know about visiting a doctor in Norway

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