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POLL-Norway to end era of zero interest rates as economy recovers

* reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=cpurl://apps.cp./Apps/cb-polls?RIC=NOINTR%3DECI poll data

* Unanimous expectation for hike on Sept. 23

* Strong recovery from pandemic, more hikes to follow

OSLO, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Norway’s central bank is expected to hike its benchmark interest rate next week from a record low 0%, joining a growing list of countries moving away from emergency-level rates, a Reuters poll predicted on Friday.

The 24 participants who gave forecasts ahead of the Sept. 23 announcement were unanimous in expecting that Norges Bank will hike to 0.25%, in line with the central bank's own view here.

Having cut rates three times last year to combat the pandemic fallout, Norges Bank has since said it aims to hike four times here by mid-2022 and to continue to tighten policy in following months and years as the economy shakes off here 's%20previous%20forecast COVID-19.

While Norwegian consumer price inflation is below the central bank’s long-term goal, housing prices have risen sharply during the pandemic thanks to cheap credit.

Among the nations raising rates in recent months are the Czech Republic here, Hungary here, South Korea here and Iceland.

Unemployment has fallen more rapidly than expected this year, while the central bank's own business survey, released on Sept. 14, showed a significant rise in activity here and also pointed to growing capacity constraints.

As a result, the central bank may signal an even steeper curve ahead for the cost of borrowing, Nordea Markets said in a note to clients.

“We expect the new rate path from Norges Bank will be higher compared to the one presented in June. If we are right, market rates somewhat out on the curve should rise,” Nordea wrote.

The crown currency has meanwhile strengthened to 10.13 per euro on Friday from 10.63 on Aug. 20.

In addition to a hike next week, the Reuters poll showed a majority of economists also expect one in the final quarter of 2021 as well as three more increases next year.

Norges Bank will provide detailed forecasts for rates and other economic variables in a quarterly monetary policy report accompanying the rate announcement.

It could also force banks to hold more supplementary buffer capital, reversing cuts made during the pandemic, Capital Economics said. (Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Polling by Sujith Pai and Hari Kishan; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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