Somewhat weaker growth prospects
Norges Bank's regional network contacts reported slightly lower output growth over the past 3 months. Contacts expected growth to slow further in the period ahead.
Output growth slowed slightly, approximately as contacts expected in the previous survey. Many contacts referred to weaker demand from the petroleum sector. Enterprises also referred to a falling level of activity in private construction projects. At the same time, public sector investment has continued to boost activity. Enterprises report that the depreciation of the krone has strengthened competitiveness, and some reported that this has resulted in higher output.
Contacts expected slower growth over the next six months, and prospects were weaker than in October. Lower oil prices have dampened expectations, particularly in the oil service sector, export industry and commercial services. Enterprises also expected slightly lower growth in household demand.
Overall, enterprises reported little change in capacity utilisation. Labour supply was still ample. At the same time, the level of employment has remained approximately unchanged. Network contacts expected little change in the employment level in the period ahead.
Contacts now expected annual wage growth in 2015 of about 3 percent, down from an estimate of slightly below 3¼ percent in October.Differences in wage estimates across sectors were still small.
In this survey, information was provided by 342 regional network contacts. The interviews were largely conducted in January.
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