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Norway oil exports cut by more than half

Staff writer |
Norway's oil exports have plunged by more than a half since early 2014, authorities said Monday as deeply depressed crude prices dragged down the wealthy country's trade surplus.

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Norway exported 13.2 billion kroner ($1.74 billion, 1.53 billion euros) worth of oil in January, a drop of 55 percent from the same month in 2014, according to figures from Statistics Norway.

"You have to go back to November 2001 to find a month where the value of oil exports was lower," the agency wrote in a statement.

Norway expects its record-high oil investments in 2014 to drop by 15 percent this year as the near-halving of oil prices since mid-2014 takes its toll on the Norwegian economy. GDP growth is expected to drop by more than half this year, from 2.3 percent in 2014 to 1.0 percent.

The sharp decline in exports last month slashed the Nordic country's overall trade surplus, which fell more than 40 percent year-on-year to 27.1 billion kroner.

Citing oil prices, the Bank of Norway made a surprise cut to its key interest rate in December, down 0.25 points to 1.25 percent, and said it could cut the rate further in the first half of 2015.

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