Norway central bank survey sees firm growth, points to March rate hike

OSLO, March 12 (Reuters) - Norwegian companies are expecting the pace of output growth to remain firm in the next six months after a strong showing during the latest three-month period, a central bank business survey showed on Tuesday.

The poll will be among the key factors determining the outcome of Norges Bank’s monetary policy announcement on March 21. The board is widely expected to raise its key policy rate for only the second time in eight years.

The survey further boosted the value of Norway’s crown currency against the euro, a day after Statistics Norway data showed core inflation far exceeding expectations in February.

“As we expected, very small changes in growth expectations for the next six months, well supported by growth in the oil supply industry. Economic growth maintains itself well and supports a rate hike by Norges Bank next week,” Handelsbanken said in a tweet. (Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche)