Bloomberg News

Sweden Retail Sales Rise as Rate Cuts Boost Consumer Confidence

March 29, 2012

Swedish retail sales surged more than estimated in February after the central bank cut borrowing costs to revive economic growth.

Sales rose an annual 3.4 percent last month and climbed a monthly 1.2 percent, Stockholm-based Statistics Sweden said today. The median estimate in a survey of eight economists by Bloomberg was for a 1.6 percent annual increase.

Swedish consumer confidence improved more than predicted in March to a seven-month high, the National Institute of Economic Research said yesterday. The central bank on Feb. 16 cut its benchmark interest rate a quarter of a percentage point for a second meeting to 1.5 percent to prevent a recession.

The Riksbank will stick to its forecast to keep the rate unchanged this year as growth will pick up in the second half as domestic consumption will contribute more to the recovery compared with exports than in previous recoveries, NIER said.

Sweden’s economy, which contracted last quarter as it relies on exports mainly to debt-stricken Europe for about half of its output, will expand 0.4 percent this year and 2.5 percent in 2013, NIER predicted. Unemployment (SWUERATE) will peak at an average 7.7 percent in 2012, up from 7.5 percent last year, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Johan Carlstrom in Stockholm at jcarlstrom@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonas Bergman in Oslo at jbergman@bloomberg.net


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