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The Norwegian economy returned to growth at the end of the year after contracting in the third quarter, as recovery in the oil and gas industry helped it to recover faster than economists had forecast.

Economic output increased by 1.1 per cent in the last three months of 2016, far ahead of the 0.7 per cent that had been predicted.

However, the growth was from a lower base than previously thought, as revisions to earlier figures meant the country did briefly enter a technical recession earlier in the year.

Initial estimates said the economy was stagnant in the second quarter, but revised numbers show it actually contracted by 0.1 per cent, meaning the country experienced two consecutive quarters of contraction.

Although overall growth was stronger than expected, expansion in the “mainland” economy, which excludes oil and gas exploration and transport, was weak. The mainland economy grew by 0.3 per cent in the final quarter, a slight improvement on the previous quarter but less than the 0.4 per cent growth predicted.

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