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(Adds quote, detail, crown, analyst)
OSLO, May 9 (Reuters) - Norway's central bank kept its main interest rate unchanged on Thursday, as expected, and said rates will most likely rise next month.
A Reuters survey of 26 economists had unanimously predicted the key policy rate would remain at 1.0 percent on Thursday.
The central bank had said in March the key policy rate would most likely be raised in the course of the next half-year, and that the most likely timing of a hike was at its June board meeting.
"The Executive Board's current assessment of the outlook and balance of risks suggests that the policy rate will most likely be raised in June", Governor Oeystein Olsen said in a statement.
The Norwegian currency, the crown, strengthened against the euro on the news.
"Norges Bank gives clear signals of a June (hike). Clearly on the strong side to expectations," Nordea Markets wrote in a note to clients. (Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, editing by Terje Solsvik)