Norway's economy grew less than expected in July

OSLO (Reuters) - The Norwegian economy grew less than expected in July as the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic slowed down, Statistics Norway (SSB) data showed on Tuesday.

The mainland economy, which excludes the volatile offshore oil and gas production, grew by 1.1% in July from June, lagging a 2.1% forecast in a Reuters poll of economists.

July is the month when most Norwegians take their summer holidays and the data should thus be treated with some caution, SSB said.

Like other economies in Europe and across the world, Norway was plunged into a deep recession in the first half of 2020 when lockdowns to combat the spread of COVID-19 brought many industries to a standstill.

While the Norwegian government has since gradually lifted many restrictions, unemployment is still well above its pre-pandemic level as tourism and other service industries in particular see weak demand.

“Despite growth over the past three months, activity levels were still 4.7 per cent lower in July than in February,” SSB said in a statement.

The Norwegian crown currency initially weakened against the euro following the 0600 GMT data release, but later reversed its losses to trade slightly stronger at 10.55 per euro by 0612 GMT.

Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche