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Swedish Krona Gains as Retail Sales Rise More Than Estimated

Sweden’s krona strengthened after retail sales rose more than estimated last month, easing pressure on the central bank to cut interest rates.

The krona climbed 0.45 percent against the euro to 8.6529, the second-biggest gainer among 17 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg. It rose 0.45 percent versus the dollar to 6.4294 as of 3:44 p.m. in Stockholm.

Sales grew an annual 2.5 percent in December, compared with 0.9 percent the previous month, Stockholm-based Statistics Sweden said today. The median estimate in a survey of five economists by Bloomberg was for a 1.4 percent increase. Monthly retail sales rose 1.2 percent.

“On balance we expect to see a moderately positive trend in retail sales in 2013,” said Andreas Jonsson, an economist at Nordea Bank AB in Stockholm, in a note.

Sweden’s central bank on Dec. 18 reduced its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point for a fourth time in a year, bringing it to 1 percent, as the Nordic country suffers from slowing export demand. The bank predicted it will keep the benchmark rate unchanged until the end of this year.

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