OSLO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Norwegian banks must be prepared to book increased losses from their lending portfolios as the fall in oil prices continues to hurt the economy, Finance Minister Siv Jensen said on Tuesday.
“The backdrop (of falling oil) means that banks must be prepared for rising losses,” Jensen of the right-wing Progress Party told a labour union conference.
The oil and gas industry, which represents about 20 percent of Norway’s annual economic output, has sharply cut its investments in the wake of a 75 percent drop in the price of North Sea crude.
Jensen added that the sharp weakening of the Norwegian crown currency has benefited some industries, including fisheries and tourism.
The Norwegian government is the largest owner of top bank DNB with a stake of 34 percent. (Reporting by Ole Petter Skonnord, editing by Terje Solsvik)