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Revised National Budget presented

Presenting the revised National Budget for 2012, Finance Minister Sigbjørn Johnsen said Economic activity in Norway has held up well in 2012, despite the global economic slowdown.

He said unemployment is expected to remain at the current low level.

In itsrevision of the 2012 Budget, the Government emphasizes the need for fiscal constraint to reduce the pressure on the exchange rate and exposed mainland industries. Increasing interest rates with widening spreads could lead to a stronger krone exchange rate. That would be most unfortunate for industries exposed to international competition, Finance Minister Johnsen says.

Mainland-GDP in 2012 is forecast to grow by 2¾ per cent, on par with the average for the last 40 years. Next year a further pick up is expected, to 3 per cent. Growth in private consumption is high. Activity in the business sector is high, especially in the petroleum subcontracting sector. Significant growth in petroleum sector investments is expected also this year. Employment has increased since the spring of 2010, and is expected to climb further both this year and next. Unemployment is forecast to remain at 3¼ per cent of the labour force this year.

In the revision of the 2012 Fiscal Budget the Government propose a strengthening of the budget balance compared to the approved 2012 budget. Tax revenues are estimated to be higher and expenditures somewhat lower than last autumn. Also, the capital in the Government Pension Fund Global is estimated to be higher. Thus, the use of petroleum revenues, as measured by the structural, non-oil budget deficit, has been brought further below the 4 per cent path of the Fiscal Policy Guidelines.

In the new budget, the Government has allocated NOK 770 million to be used towards clearing and securing the office buildings which were badly damaged in the July 22nd bomb attack. This comes in addition to the nerly NOK 650 million granted just before Christmas.

In addition NOK 335 million will be spent on imprving security in and around the Government headquarter.

NOK 720 million will be spent on replacing the Hercules Air Force transport plane which crashed at Kebnekaise in Northern Sweden earlier this year.

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