Sweden Retail Sales Increase as Consumers Weather Job Losses

Swedish retail sales increased last month as consumers in the largest Nordic economy weather rising job losses amid a decline in exports.

Sales grew an annual 0.9 percent in November, down from a revised 1.1 percent the previous month, Stockholm-based Statistics Sweden said today. The median estimate in a survey of six economists by Bloomberg was for a 1 percent increase. Monthly retail sales rose 0.3 percent, after a revised 1.8 percent decline in October.

Sweden’s central bank this 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.

Separately, a report showed that the Swedish trade surplus narrowed to 3.6 billion kronor ($553 million) in November, compared with 4 billion kronor a year earlier. Monthly exports declined 5 percent from a year earlier and have declined 2 percent in the first 11 months of the year, the statistics agency said today.