Norway central bank cuts rates to lowest level in 200 years

Norway's central bank cut its key policy rate to the lowest level in its 200-year history on Friday, to help balance the double blow of the coronavirus crisis and an oil price slump.

Norway central bank cuts rates to lowest level in 200 years
Norges Bank governor Øystein Olsen announcing the first rate cut on March 13. Photo: Norges/screenshot
The bank on Friday morning announced that it would cut the policy rate by 0.75 percentage points to 0.25 percent, one notch before the previous historic low of 0.5 percent. 
In an interview with Norway's state broadcaster NRK, Norges Bank governor Øystein Olsen said that the cut would not be enough on its own to protect the economy. 
“But it can help to offset some of the impact,” he said. “In particular, it will make it easier for households and companies that have debt to handle that debt in a very difficult time.” 
He said that further cuts may be necessary. “I do not exclude further interest rate reductions if the situation requires it.”
The Norwegian Krone has plunged more than a fifth against the dollar so far this month. 

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Public Health Agency recommends two Covid doses next year for elderly

Sweden's Public Health Agency is recommending that those above the age of 80 should receive two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine a year, once in the spring and once in the autumn, as it shifts towards a longer-term strategy for the virus.

Public Health Agency recommends two Covid doses next year for elderly

In a new recommendation, the agency said that those living in elderly care centres, and those above the age of 80 should from March 1st receive two vaccinations a year, with a six month gap between doses. 

“Elderly people develop a somewhat worse immune defence after vaccination and immunity wanes faster than among young and healthy people,” the agency said. “That means that elderly people have a greater need of booster doses than younger ones. The Swedish Public Health Agency considers, based on the current knowledge, that it will be important even going into the future to have booster doses for the elderly and people in risk groups.” 


People between the ages of 65 and 79 years old and young people with risk factors, such as obesity, diabetes, poor kidney function or high blood pressure, are recommended to take one additional dose per year.

The new vaccination recommendation, which will start to apply from March 1st next year, is only for 2023, Johanna Rubin, the investigator in the agency’s vaccination programme unit, explained. 

She said too much was still unclear about how long protection from vaccination lasted to institute a permanent programme.

“This recommendation applies to 2023. There is not really an abundance of data on how long protection lasts after a booster dose, of course, but this is what we can say for now,” she told the TT newswire. 

It was likely, however, that elderly people would end up being given an annual dose to protect them from any new variants, as has long been the case with influenza.