New statistics show that the mobile is becoming more important for growing e-commerce. Last year Swedes spent SEK 77 billion on e-commerce and this year the figure is expected to grow to SEK 88 billion. During the first quarter growth in e-commerce was 15 per cent, according to statistics from Postnord, the trade association Svensk Digital Handel and HUI Research.
Arne Andersson, e-commerce expert from Postnord says that trade is into a new phase driven by digitalisation.
The report also shows that consumers have less interest in buying cheap goods from China. This is partly due to new charges but also due to more awareness about sustainability.
The attempt by the Swedish Economic Crime Authority (Ekobrottsmyndigheten, EBM) to investigate money laundering in Swedbank has hit a stumbling block again.
The suspected money laundering via Swedish accounts was reported to the police by American financier Bill Browder. The prosecutor at EBM did not launch an investigation, citing that the transfers are so old that they have reached their statute of limitation.
Browder requested an appeal, but has had his appeal turned down by prosecutor Katarina Tidén at EBM. Browder claims the multi-billion sum that was stolen from his company Hermitage Capital in Russia was laundered via Swedbank.
He also considers the prosecutor’s decision to be wrong: “We are currently reviewing the legal possibilities for appealing,” he wrote.
Swedish housing “does not work well at all”. It benefits certain groups on the market, but many others are excluded. Macroprudential regulation cannot resolve the basic problems, said Riksbank Governor Stefan Ingves during a speech at DI Bank on Tuesday.
He added that household debt has long been a “growing risk” for the Swedish economy, which means the housing market is also an important issue for the Riksbank.
Yesterday China decided to raise tariffs on American goods worth USD 60 billion on 1 June, in response to Friday’s decision from the US to raise tariffs on goods to a value of USD 200 billion.
The escalating trade war was expected but stock exchanges fell in both the US and Europe.
Frédéric Cho, expert on China previously linked to Handelsbanken, says, “As the Swedish economy is dependent on foreign trade and investment, obstacles to trade are a negative thing. This leads to growing uncertainty and a greater risk, which makes business more expensive.”
He also told SvD that the trade war is an expression of a greater tension between the two countries, not limited to trade and that the “current number one in the world, does not want to be overtaken by perhaps a future number one”.
The Swedish krona has had a tough week, weakening by 1 per cent against the euro and by 0.5 per cent against the US dollar within a week.
Head economist of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise Bettina Kashefi is concerned about Swedish companies: “With this model we are putting good Swedish companies on sale. There is a huge risk.”
Michael Grahn, head economist of Danske Bank agrees, “The more the krona loses, the bigger the risk that companies are bought up. It is a negative aspect if ownership ends up abroad instead of with us,” he says.
Bettina Kashefi adds that when there is a weak currency, companies can believe they are better than they are and avoid taking necessary structural measures, which means they are not prepared when the currency strengthens.
Sweden’s state-run employment agency, Arbetsförmedlingen, will cease to provide recruitment services but will instead act as a watchdog as many of its activities are privatised. The Swedish Public Employment Service (SPES) will analyse and provide labour market policy assessments, besides retaining responsibility for disabled persons and new arrivals.
Employment Minister Ylva Johansson said on Thursday that the agency would continue to provide services to all job seekers until private companies could take over their job matching activities.
The reorganisation of the agency will be carried out as soon as possible and SPES has been instructed by the government to identify the areas of the reform that can be implemented earlier than 2021. PES is to report back to the government by November 2019 at the latest.
Swedish EQT and US Digital Colony Partners have agreed to buy fibre network owner Zayo in a deal valued at USD 14.7 billion, reports the Dagens Industri newspaper. Zayo’s network stretches 130,000 miles (210,000km) in North America and Europe.
EQT partner Lennart Blecher has said the transaction is the largest announced in the firm’s 25-year history.
EQT raised EUR 9 billion in its Infrastructure IV fund earlier this year and Blecher believes EQT is a logical buyer of Zayo, with the fund’s focus on fibre networks. Even if EQT owns similar companies, he does not consider there is any risk of the competition authorities stopping the deal.
The Swedish Fiscal Policy Council (Finansrådet) told the government on Tuesday that it must prepare for a slowdown in the economy.
Chairman Harry Flam said the Riksbank has limited scope to support the economy since interest rates are so low and the government should be ready to implement stabilisation policy measures, if necessary.
The watchdog expects the government to meet the surplus target of 0.33% of GDP in 2019, and has said that public finances are sustainable at present.
Pursuant to the January agreement, the Swedish government plans to launch an inquiry to investigate the possibility of banning sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.
On behalf of the Fores think tank, Åsa Romson, former Green Party spokesperson and now an environmental lawyer at the Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL), has investigated potential obstacles to the plans, focusing on EU legislation.
Her conclusion is that Sweden cannot unilaterally ban the sales. “Today we have harmonised rules on the single market. A car that is approved in one country must be approved in all countries. Therefore, a process would be required at EU level, whereby Sweden and other countries take the initiative for a decision to phase out petrol and diesel cars,” she says.
Alternatively, a decision would be required within the EU, one which would permit individual countries to take a lead. “But it is hard to imagine that the EU would not have harmonised rules for vehicles, as it would be extremely complicated for the single market.”
One alternative for the government would be to set new vehicle fuel requirements, suggests Romson.
Winair analyst Hans Jorgen Elnaes estimates that the week-long strike by SAS pilots, which ended on Thursday, will cost the airline approximately SEK 500 million in lost revenue.
Danish Sydbank analysts calculate that the total cost to the airline could be in the region of SEK 1-2 billion, if the airline pays compensation to customers.
We are a small, but qualified team of graduates in politics, economics, English and classics dedicated to providing quality news digests in English that offer readers a first-hand look at the most important topics covered by the Swedish press. Here you will find a selection of the articles that are published in our Swedish Press Review.