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Country Report Sweden August 2017

Country Report Sweden August 2017

  • August 2017
  • ID: 265665
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit


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Outlook for 2017-21

  • Despite the political turmoil that followed news of a breach of sensitive data by a government agency in July 2017, The Economist Intelligence Unit expects the governing coalition to last its full term, to 2018.
  • The far-right Sweden Democrats (SD) holds the balance of power in parlia-ment and the party has threatened to trigger a government crisis and an early election. However, most of the opposition parties would like to avoid this.
  • The more centrist opposition parties reject collaboration with the SD, but there is a strong chance that they will reluctantly agree to support the party after the next election, producing a centre-right majority government.
  • A surge in second-quarter GDP has prompted a significant upward revision to our full-year forecast for real GDP growth in 2017, to 3.2%, from 2.3% previously. We forecast that growth will ease to 2.4% on average in 2018-21.
  • Private consumption and gross fixed capital formation will be the primary drivers of economic growth in 2017-21, supported by low borrowing rates.
  • Monetary policy will remain expansionary. In 2016 the Riksbank (the central bank) cut its policy rate to -0.5%, and in April 2017 it expanded its asset purchase programme to end-2017. We do not expect further policy loosening this year.
  • Unwinding energy price base effects have pushed up inflation in early 2017. After inflation of 1% (national measure) in 2016, we forecast that inflation will rise to 1.7% this year and 1.9% on average in 2018-21.


  • At a press conference on July 24th, the prime minister, Stefan Lofven, described a data breach at the Swedish Transport Agency since 2015 as "extremely serious", adding that it had exposed Swedish citizens to harm.
  • The breach, which was revealed by Dagens Nyheter, a newspaper, occurred after the agency outsourced its IT operations to IBM, a US technology giant, which has subsidiaries in the Czech Republic, Romania and Serbia. Mr Lofven said there was no evidence that the data had been misused.
  • Two out of the three government ministers held responsible for the data breach were dismissed. The third, Peter Hultqvist, the minister of defence, will face a vote of no confidence when parliament re-opens in September.
  • In the second quarter of 2017 real GDP increased by a quarterly 1.7%, pulling the year-on-year growth rate up to 3.9%, from 2.4% in the first quarter. This was the fastest rate of quarterly growth since the fourth quarter of 2010.
  • In June the annual rate of inflation, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI), was unchanged at 1.7%. The main underlying measure (CPIF, which assumes constant interest rates) was also stable, at 1.9%.

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