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Swedish Manufacturing Contracts for Fifth Month Amid Job Losses

Sweden’s manufacturing contracted for a fifth consecutive month in December as the euro area’s debt crisis hurts demand for the Nordic country’s exports.

An index based on responses from about 200 purchasing managers was a seasonally adjusted 44.6 in December, compared with 43.2 the previous month, Stockholm-based Swedbank AB, which compiles the index, said today. A reading below 50 signals a contraction. The median estimate of nine economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a reading of 44.2.

Sweden’s central bank last month cut its repurchasing rate for a fourth time in a year, bringing it to 1 percent, as policy makers seek to boost growth and cap unemployment. Sweden’s biggest companies, including TeliaSonera AB and Volvo AB have cut thousands of jobs in an effort to adjust to shrinking export markets. Sweden sells about half of its output abroad, of which about 70 percent goes to Europe.

The survey’s production sub-index rose two points to 45.3 and the order index improved to 41.3 from 40.3. The employment index increased to 40.5 from 39.

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