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

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Find out what's going on in Norway with The Local's short roundup of important news. Pictured is the town hall in Oslo. Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

Norway's PM says economy at 'turning point', gentler mortgage requirements could be introduced, and other news on Friday.

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Norwegian economy at a 'turning point'

Statistics Norway's forecast for the economy has revealed that the national data agency expects the Norwegian economy to pick up again soon.

"With lower interest rates and clear wage growth, household consumption will increase. Economic activity will also pick up as a result of increased public consumption and an increase in housing investment," Thomas von Brasch at Statistics Norway said.

Norwegian PM Jonas Gahr Støre has said that the economy was now at a turning point.

"It is good news for people's finances and clearly confirms that we are at a turning point in the economy where people can get better advice. Statistics Norway estimates that price growth will continue downward, so interest rates can eventually be lowered. They also expect increased purchasing power for people this year and in the following years. The government's aim is for people to get better advice," Jonas Gahr Støre told the Norwegian newswire NTB.

Interest rate cut expected this year

Lower inflation in Norway and abroad means that the country will likely see interest rates cut this year.

"Lower inflation at our trading partners will cause inflation here at home to continue to fall. Reduced interest rates internationally also contribute to the fact that the key interest rate is eventually cut in Norway," Thomas von Brasch at Statistics Norway said.

The key policy rate is currently 4.5 percent, and a cut to interest rates is expected in September or December.

After the latest inflation figures were released for May, many economists said the cut would likely arrive in December.

Softer mortgage regulations may be brought in

Norway's Ministry of Finance has said it is more open to introducing gentler mortgage requirements in light of sharp interest rate increases in recent years.

"We will assess the need for changes to the regulations, including the requirement for payment in instalments, in the light of the Finanstilsynet's assessments and the input that will come," State Secretary Geir Indrefjord told the business and financial paper DN.

The current rules require anyone whose debts are at least 60 percent of their home's value to pay off the interest and make monthly debt repayments against the home.

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The rules may be changed to allow some homeowners to only pay the interest.

Norway announces measures to combat overdoses

Norway's health minister, Jan Christian Vestre, has announced immediate measures to reverse an increasing number of people dying of an overdose.

"We must recognise that the welfare state has failed for many of them and has not stood up when they have needed it most," Jan Christian Vestre told TV 2.

A new method for monitoring drug use will be established so that new measures can be introduced earlier, and treatment for addiction will also be more widespread and more accessible.

"There is a need for several other measures as well, but the most important thing now is that we get started. We must reverse this negative trend together," he said.

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