* Retail sales rise 1.8 pct vs 0.4 pct forecast
* Registered unemployed steady at 2.5 pct
OSLO, June 28 Norway's retail and jobless data
were better than expected on Friday, reducing prospects that the
central bank will cut interest rates at its next meeting in
Retail sales surged 1.8 percent on the month in May, well
above a 0.4 percent rise viewed beforehand, while the number of
unemployed held steady instead of rising, data from Statistics
"This erases the fear that there is a marked slowdown (in
consumption)," SEB chief economist Stein Bruun said. "All in
all, the data imply there will not be a rate cut in
Norway's central bank last week said there was a 50 percent
chance of a rate cut in September as the economy is slowing more
than expected, with traditional industries feeling the pain of
Europe's prolonged economic plight.
The bank also said it would delay a rate hike planned for
the spring of next year until the end of 2014.
Most analysts believe the bank is more likely to keep rates
steady for the next year and a half, not wanting to stoke a red
hot housing market with cheaper borrowing.
Unemployment, a worry over the past several months after
unexpected increases, is also looking less of an issue. The
registered jobless rate held steady at 2.5 percent with the
number of jobless steady around 86,000.
"It is quite clear now that there is no dramatic worsening
of the labour market," Nordea chief analyst Erik Bruce said. "In
sum, these data point to no rate cut."
(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi, Editing by Gwladys Fouche/Jeremy