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Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Sweden’s manufacturing unexpectedly expanded for the first time in sixth months in January as domestic demand boosted orders and production, a survey showed.
An index based on responses from about 200 purchasing managers rose to a seasonally adjusted 51.4 last month from 48.9 the previous month, Stockholm-based Swedbank AB, which compiles the index, said today. A reading above 50 signals an expansion. The average estimate of 10 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for the index to rise to 49.5.
“The increase in demand was primarily in the domestic market,” Swedbank said in a statement.
Sweden’s central bank in December cut its benchmark lending rate by a quarter percentage point to 1.75 percent, predicting the European debt crisis will hamper growth in the Nordic country which relies on exports for about half its output. The economy will grow 1.3 percent this year versus an earlier forecast for 1.5 percent, the central bank said in December.
Swedbank’s index measuring new orders rose to 52 from 47, while the production gauge increased to 52.9 from 49.2, according to the survey. The delivery time index climbed to 51 from 49.9, the employment index decreased to 48 from 49.5 and the inventory measure fell to 47 from 48.3.
--Editors: Jonas Bergman, Tasneem Brogger
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