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Norway eyes higher economic growth

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Sweden's economy continues to build up
Norway sues Citigroup after massive losses

OLSO (AFP) - The Norwegian government presented a draft 2011 budget Tuesday that foresees an expanded surplus and growth picking up to 3.1 percent from 1.7 percent this year.

"The 2011 budget is a responsible budget that aims to guarantee employment, the welfare state and the creation of wealth," Finance Minister Sigbjoren Johnsen said as he presented the document to parliament.

The 2011 budget surplus in oil-rich Norway is predicted to rise to 266.1 billion kroner (33.1 billion euros, 45.7 billion dollars) from the 227.6 billion kroner expected this year.

Economic growth, excluding the hydrocarbon sector, should come to 3.1 percent next year after 1.7 percent in 2010.

The center-left government, after drawing heavily on the country's massive public pension fund to cushion the impact of the global economic crisis, is expected to tap the fund for another 128 billion kroner in 2011, without which the country would run a budget deficit.

In 2010, the fund is projected to provide the budget with 124.5 billion kroner. In normal times, the government draws about 120 billion kroner.

The state traditionally commits all of its oil revenues to the fund, of which only 4.0 percent can be tapped each year for budgetary purposes, although the level can be exceeded in times of crisis.

Johnsen said the government should be able to respect the 4.0 percent threshold in the 2012 budget.

"Norway is in a situation that is completely different from that in many countries around us," he said, a reference to nations elsewhere in Europe saddled with huge debts and deficits.

"But we have always to remember that we are also dependent on the success of economic policies in other countries."

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Last Updated (Wednesday, 13 October 2010 07:34)


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