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Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Swedish consumer confidence held near the lowest in more than two years this month as European leaders struggle to ease the region’s debt crisis.
The consumer confidence index improved to minus 7.4 from minus 7.5 the prior month, the Stockholm-based National Institute of Economic Research said today. Economists predicted minus 9, according to the median of 14 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey. A manufacturing confidence index fell more than estimated to minus 12 from minus 7. It was estimated at minus 9.
“The consumer confidence indicator still stands at a historically very low level, which bodes ill for consumers’ willingness to spend,” Andreas Jonsson, an analyst at Nordea Bank AB, said in a note. “We expect that the weak trend in retail sales seen in recent months will continue and that private consumption will stagnate in the fourth quarter.”
The Swedish central bank, the Riksbank, last month left its benchmark repo rate unchanged at 2 percent for a second month and lowered its plan for proposed rate increases as growth slows amid economic turmoil in Europe. Swedish monthly retail sales have fallen for three consecutive months through September and industrial orders have fallen in four of the past six months.
Inflation expectations over the next 12 months also eased to 2.7 percent from 3.1 percent, the institute said.
The krona was little changed against the euro at 9.2351 at 11:34 a.m. in Stockholm. Against the dollar, it traded 0.2 percent higher at 6.9057.
“Confidence in the Swedish economy has fallen further,” while “confidence in personal finances has increased somewhat,” NIER said in the statement. Declining manufacturing confidence is due to “a more negative assessment of the size of order books and the downward adjustment of production plans.”
--Editors: Tasneem Brogger
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