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Swedish Consumer Confidence Plunges as Euro Crisis Destroys Jobs

Swedish consumer confidence fell for a fifth month as companies in the export-dependent country cut jobs to cope with falling demand from Europe.

The consumer confidence index fell to minus 12.2, the lowest since April 2009, from a revised minus 7.3 the previous month, the Stockholm-based National Institute of Economic Research said today. Economists predicted a reading of minus 7, according to the median of eight forecasts in a Bloomberg survey. The manufacturing confidence index rose to minus 15 from a revised minus 17. It was estimated at minus 19.

Sweden’s central bank yesterday lowered its benchmark rate for a fourth time in the past 12 months as Governor Stefan Ingves said consumer sentiment has weakened and exports are suffering from slumping European demand. Unemployment will rise to 8.1 percent next year from 7.7 percent in 2012, the central bank said after cutting its main lending rate by 0.25 percentage point to 1 percent. Economic growth will slow to 0.9 percent this year from 3.7 percent in 2011 and only recover to a 1.2 percent expansion next year, the Riksbank predicted.

Sweden, which sells about half of its output abroad, has fallen victim to the debt crisis in Europe where countries are cutting spending to reduce debt. About 70 percent of the largest Nordic economy’s exports are sold within Europe.

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