OSLO, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Norway's core inflation rose faster than expected in September but remained below the central bank's projection, indicating the bank may delay a planned interest rate hike.
The consumer price index (CPI) excluding volatile energy prices rose 1.1 percent year-on-year, data showed on Wednesday, ahead of analysts' forecast for 1.0 percent.
Headline inflation meanwhile came to an annualised 0.5 percent, in line with forecasts, as higher transportation costs were offset by cheaper electricity.
The central bank, which targets inflation at 2.5 percent, has predicted a rate hike in December or the first half of next year, but some analysts have said that a recent string of low inflation readings could delay such a move.
Still, the bank may need to hike rates to remove some stimulus as Norway's economy is expanding very fast.
"Inflation is still below Norges Bank's estimate and low inflation will in isolation suggests a lower rate path in October, but today's numbers are not strengthening that argument further," said Ida Wolden Bache, macro analyst at Handelsbanken.
"We expect the first hike in March 2013 and we will not make any changes based on these figures," Bache added.
Growth on the mainland accelerated to an annual 3.7 percent in the second quarter even as the European Union contracted, and the government recently raised its 2012 mainland growth forecast to 3.7 percent and predicted growth of 2.9 percent next year.
Norges Bank has left rates unchanged at 1.5 percent since March and holds its next rate meeting on Oct. 31, where markets widely expect it to stay on hold.
The government expects core inflation to pick up to 1.7 percent next year, still well below the central bank's target, while Norges Bank expects to miss the target for several years to come.
The crown was unchanged at 7.3800 against the euro after the data.
(Reporting by Victoria Klesty; Editing by Balazs Koranyi)
Keywords: NORWAY CPI/