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FILE PHOTO - Norway's Finance Minister Siv Jensen presents a parliamentary report on the Norwegian Pension fund (Oil fund) in Oslo April 4, 2014. REUTERS/Erlend Aas/NTB Scanpix


OSLO (Reuters) - The Norwegian economy will grow more rapidly in 2017 than the government had previously expected, Finance Minister Siv Jensen told financial daily Dagens Naeringsliv late on Sunday, just three weeks ahead of parliamentary elections.

She did not provide a new forecast, but said growth had accelerated more than was anticipated in May, when the government predicted a 1.6 percent expansion in the mainland economy, which excludes the income from offshore oil and gas.

In 2016, growth stood at a seven-year low 0.9 percent.

A finance ministry spokesman confirmed the statements when contacted by Reuters, but declined to elaborate. Its next official growth forecasts are due for release in October.

Norway's right-wing government remains locked in a too-close-to-call race for parliament, opinion polls show.

While an Aug. 15 poll showed a narrow majority for the ruling coalition and its centrist backers, two polls on Aug. 19 and 20 gave a majority to the centre-left opposition.

For an updated election graphic, click on http://tmsnrt.rs/2ugJCjo

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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