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Oil boom drives Norwegian manufacturing to new peak

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

OSLO (Reuters) - Norwegian manufacturing output surged to a record high in the second quarter, moving firmly past levels last seen before the global financial crisis, as the booming oil industry keeps the economy on pace for solid growth.

Manufacturing jumped a monthly 3.1 percent in June, well ahead of expectations for 0.4 percent, while May's decline was revised to show a smaller fall, taking the quarterly rise to 2.5 percent, Statistics Norway said on Wednesday.

"This was clearly positive... but the month on month figures can be volatile," DNB Markets economist Kjersti Haugland said.

"Although the rate of growth has slowed, it is still going great for the Norwegian economy," she said. "For the industry as a whole, there's no sign of crisis."

Norway's onshore economy is expected to grow by 2.5 percent this year, even as the euro zone stagnates, a big jump given that per capita GDP is already one of the highest in the world at about $100,000.

Manufacturing is driven by oil and oil services, often at the expense of traditional industries, which are suffering from the decline in its European markets and also due to labor cost pressures from the energy sector.

"Wood and wood products, basic chemicals and basic metals had a decrease in production in the second quarter," Statistics Norway said. "The differences between industries linked to the Norwegian oil and gas industries and more traditional Norwegian export industries have thereby continued to increase so far in 2013."

The country's two-speed manufacturing is not likely to change soon as oil investments are at record highs and energy firms are racing to bring major discoveries into production over the coming decade.

(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi and Camilla Knudsen; Editing by Louise Ireland)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130807/oil-boom-drives-norwegian-manufacturing-new-peak