UPDATE 1-Norway's central bank keeps rates on hold, but signals hike after coming year

coming year@ (Adds detail, quotes)

OSLO, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Norway's central bank kept its key policy rate unchanged at 0.50 percent on Thursday, but raised its rate path, strengthening the crown currency against the euro.

"The key policy rate is forecast to be 0.5 percent over the coming year, rising gradually thereafter," Norges Bank said in a statement.

All 15 economists polled by Reuters had expected rates to remain unchanged.

In June the central bank removed its easing bias on rates, noting the economy was recovering from a two-year slump as the price of crude oil, Norway's main export, gradually rose from multi-year lows.

"The forecast is little changed on the June Report, but is a little higher towards the end of the forecast period," the central bank said in a statement.

Norway's currency, the crown, strengthened against the euro after the bank's decision, which was unanimous.

"Stronger outlook for the Norwegian and the international economy makes Norges Bank raise its rate path! Sees first hike early 2019," DNB Chief Economist Kjersti Haugland tweeted. (Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche/Jeremy Gaunt)