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Recovery in Norway’s key oil and gas industry drove the country’s industrial output back into growth in the fourth quarter, boosting its chances of avoiding officially entering recession later this week.

Industrial output increased by 3.8 per cent in the last three months of the year, compared to declines in the second and third quarters. Oil extraction and related services, which account for more than 70 per cent of the total industrial production index, grew by 6.1 per cent.

However, the year ended on a more sour note, with output slipping back into decline on a monthly basis in December, bringing an end to two months of expansion. Total output fell 2.7 per cent in the month, with oil and related services output declining by 4.6 per cent.

The oil and gas industry’s woes drove Norway’s economy into contraction in the third quarter, and data on the country’s fourth-quarter growth is due out later this week. An economy is considered to be in recession after two consecutive quarters of declining output.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.

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