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The IMF has endorsed Norges Bank's projected initial rate hike, which the central bank assumes will come late this year, but the Washington-based orgainisation added that if the economic recovery does not materialize it should consider adopting negative rates for the first time ever.

"Provided the economy continues to recover in line with Norges Bank's forecasts, the projected gradual tightening of monetary policy is appropriate," the IMF said in its Article IV consultation report. If inflation expectations falter, however, it warned Norges Bank against simply returning the policy rate to zero, saying that itshould look at adopting negative rates.