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Sweden Industrial Output Contracts as European Demand Falters

Swedish industrial production fell in January after falling foreign demand hurt exports.

Industrial production fell an annual 7.8 percent after declining 2.2 percent the previous month, Stockholm-based Statistics Sweden said in a statement today. Production was estimated to fall 4.8 percent, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of six economists. Output fell a monthly 2 percent after rising 1.3 percent the previous month.

“Today’s production figures suggest that there’s yet no turnaround in the manufacturing sector,” Andreas Jonsson, an analyst at Nordea Bank AB in Stockholm, said in a note today. “A glimpse of light is perhaps the pick-up in order intakes over the last two months, which suggest that the situation may stabilize soon, but so far indicators only suggest stabilization -- not a recovery in the manufacturing sector.”

Swedish economic growth slowed to 0.8 percent last year from 3.7 percent in 2011 as a slowdown abroad hurt demand for the country’s exports, which account for about half of its economic output. It will accelerate to 1.1 percent this year, the government forecast on Dec. 21. Unemployment will rise to an average 8.2 percent this year, from 7.7 percent in 2012, th government estimates.

Swedish companies’ industrial orders fell an annual 5.4 percent and decreased a monthly 3.1 percent in January, Statistics Sweden said today.

Sweden ships about 70 percent of its exports to Europe, where countries are cutting spending to reduce debt. Lower foreign demand has prompted Swedish exporters such as Ericsson AB, the world’s largest maker of wireless networks, and truck maker Volvo AB, to cut thousands of jobs.

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