Norway cut interest rates to a record low today and hinted at further easing within months to boost an economy hit by a slump in oil prices, eroding confidence and unemployment at a 10-year high. 

Norway's central bank cut rates by a quarter percentage point to 1%.

This comes after oil and gas firms, which generate a fifth of the economy, cancelled investments and laid off thousands of workers.

The energy companies are preparing for an extended period of low crude prices and pushing the prospect of economic recovery into 2017. 

"The current assessment of the outlook for the Norwegian economy suggests that the key policy rate may be reduced further in the course of autumn", central bank Governor Oeystein Olsen said in a statement. 

"There's a higher probability of a cut this autumn than unchanged rates," he added. 

Although oil prices have rebounded from lows seen earlier in 2015, they are still down by around 40% from a year ago and offshore energy firms are laying off workers as oil investment could fall around 15% this year and 5% next year. 

State controlled Statoil, the biggest producer, announced plans this week to lay off up to 2,000 workers while National Oilwell Varco, a top supplier to the sector, said it would cut 1,500 jobs in Norway. 

Wintershall, a unit of Germany's BASF, sold over $600m of Norwegian oil and gas assets today. 

Norway's central bank earlier said it would have cut rates sooner had it not been for concerns over the rapid rise in house prices and the pressure on the property market from even lower borrowing costs.

To free the bank's hand, the finance ministry decided to raise the capital buffer requirements for banks by a quarter percentage point from mid-2016, mostly on concerns about high household debt, it said.