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Norway PM says time for government spending to "take a step back"

OSLO, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Norway's economic growth will exceed its historical average in 2018, and the government should "take a step back" on fiscal spending, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said on Wednesday.

The economy of western Europe's top producer of oil and gas was hit by a sharp fall in the price of crude from 2014 to 2016, but growth has since picked up along with a partial recovery in oil prices.

With less than three weeks to go before parliamentary elections, opinion polls show the minority right-wing government and its centrist backers are locked in a too-close-to-call race with the center-left opposition. (Reporting by Joachim Dagenborg and Camilla Knudsen, writing by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche)