The Norwegian central bank on Thursday kept its key interest rate unchanged at 4.5 percent but signalled a likely rate cut in September.

"The rate path we are presenting today indicates ... that the rate will be cut for the first time this autumn, most likely in September," central bank governor Ida Wolden Bache told a press conference.

In order to curb persistent inflation, the bank has raised its rate 14 times since September 2021, most recently in December, but most analysts now believe the peak has been reached.

Price increases have gradually decelerated in Norway, and the country's inflation rate was 4.5 percent year-on-year in February.

Norway's economic growth has shown signs of slowing and unemployment is expected to rise slightly in the country.

The central bank said in a statement that its monetary policy was having "a tightening effect," but noted that inflation was "still markedly above" its two percent target.

Economists have said that Norges Bank should let its US and European counterparts take the lead before considering monetary easing.

"Clearly, we're a small, open economy and we're largely influenced by what's going on in the world around us," Wolden Bache told reporters.

"What other central banks do also has an impact on our monetary policy here, among other things on the exchange rate of the krone," she added.

The bank's challenge is trying to avoid accentuating the fall of the Norwegian krone against the dollar and the euro, which would rekindle inflation.

On Wednesday, the US Federal Reserve kept its rate unchanged but said it was still planning three rate cuts this year, despite sticky inflation, suggesting a cut before the summer.

The European Central Bank is also expected to cut rates starting in June.

The Swiss National Bank took the lead among major economies on Thursday as it cut its rate by a quarter point to 1.5 percent.

The precise timing of the Norwegian rate cut is expected to depend in on the outcome of collective bargaining wage negotiations underway in Norway.

The central bank expects wages to rise by an average of 4.9 percent this year. Increases beyond this would likely contribute to postponing the expected rate cut.