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Sweden Retail Sales Rise Amid Falling Rates, Lower Unemployment

April 27 (Bloomberg) -- Swedish retail sales unexpectedly rose for a sixth month in March as lower interest rates and falling unemployment fueled consumer confidence.

Sales rose a monthly 0.2 percent and climbed an annual 4.5 percent, compared with 3.5 percent the previous month, Stockholm-based Statistics Sweden said today. The median estimate in a survey of six economists by Bloomberg was for a monthly drop of 0.3 percent and an annual gain of 3.4 percent.

Swedish consumer confidence improved to a nine-month high in April, the National Institute of Economic Research said yesterday. Sweden’s non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate unexpectedly fell to 7.7 percent in March after the country’s central bank cut interest rates twice since December. The bank this month kept its main rate unchanged at 1.5 percent and predicted no more cuts as growth improves.

There are a few indication of “cautious optimism” in the Swedish economy even as uncertainty remains in southern and central Europe, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt told reporters yesterday. About half of Swedish output is sold abroad, of which 70 percent is bound for Europe.

Related News and Information: Top Nordic News: {TOP NORD <GO>} For more news on Sweden’s economy: {NI SWECO CN <GO>} For Swedish labor stories: {TNI SWECO LAB <GO>} For Swedish money Markets: {BTMM SW <GO>} For Swedish forward rates: {RAA Cmdty CT <GO>}

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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