January 9, 2013 / 9:57 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Weak Norway retail sales point to delay in rate hike

* Nov retail sales +0.2 pct mo/mo vs +0.9 pct expectations

* Comes after other weak numbers

* Some see no rate hike at all in 2013 (Adds detail, analysts)

OSLO, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Retail sales in Norway, one of Europe’s top performing economies, grew much slower than expected in November, adding to a recent string of weak data that points to a de l ay in the central bank’s planned rate hike.

Retail sales grew by just 0.2 percent in November from the previous month, well short of expectations for a 0.9 percent increase and making up only a fraction of the previous month’s 1.1 percent fall, Statistics Norway said.

The weak retail data come just days after figures showed unemployment unexpectedly rose and manufacturing output contracted as Norway’s traditional industries succumb to Europe’s struggles.

“The central bank has predicted rates will rise some time between March and September; they won’t be in a hurry to hike after these numbers,” Handelsbanken analyst Ida Wolden Bache said.

The central bank has been keen to raise interest rates to cool a red hot housing market and slow an economy fuelled by record high oil sector investments.

But a rate hike would push the currency stronger, disadvantaging traditional exporters and lowering an already anaemic inflation rate further.

“We think that the central bank has overestimated private consumption, and growth in the economy is going to be weaker, partly because of the private consumption,” DNB economist Kyrre Aamdal said.

“We (think) interest rates will stay unchanged for a longer time... sometime into 2014.”

Still, Statistics Norway expects the economy to expand by 2.9 percent this year, well outpacing the euro zone, which is struggling to climb out of a recession, it said earlier. (Reporting by Balazs Koranyi, Terje Solsvik, Nerijus Adomaitis and Vegard Botterli)

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