(Updates with mortgage rates in fourth paragraph.)
Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Norwegian retail sales unexpectedly declined in September, falling for the second month in three, as European leaders struggled to contain a sovereign debt crisis and banks announced increases in mortgage rates.
Sales, excluding motor vehicles and petrol stations, fell a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent in September from the prior month, the Oslo-based statistics office said today. They were estimated to rise 0.2 percent, according to a survey of five economists. Sales rose 3 percent from a year earlier.
The country’s central bank kept its overnight deposit rate unchanged at 2.25 percent this month and postponed its next rate increase into the second half of 2012, as policy makers tried to protect the economy from the fallout of Europe’s debt crisis.
Still, DnB NOR ASA, Norway’s largest bank, announced last month it would raise rates on its floating-rate mortgages by a quarter point to compensate for rising funding costs. The three- month Norwegian interbank offered rate was at 3.13 percent on Oct. 28, compared with a low for the year of 2.53 percent in January.
--Editors: Jonas Bergman, Tasneem Brogger
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