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Swedish Manufacturing Expands for Second Month as Orders Rise

Swedish manufacturing expanded for a second month in March as orders increased.

An index based on responses from about 200 purchasing managers rose to a seasonally adjusted 52.1 in March from 50.9 the previous month, Stockholm-based Swedbank AB, which compiles the index, said today. A reading above 50 indicates growth. The median estimate of seven economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a reading of 50.6.

Sweden’s economic growth is forecast to accelerate this year amid signs exports will recover as measures by European policy makers have eased concern that the region’s debt crisis will deepen. Swedish economic growth slowed to 0.8 percent last year from 3.7 percent in 2011 as export declined. Sales abroad account for about half of the economic output.

Swedbank’s PMI production sub-index fell to 54.7 from 54.8, while the order index rose to 55.3 from 51.1. The employment index fell to 44.2 from 45.3.

Sweden’s $500 billion economy is struggling to expand as Europe’s debt-crisis induced recession is sapping demand for exporters such as Volvo AB and Electrolux AB. The country’s krona is also the second-best performing major currency in the world over the past year, rising 4.5 percent, according to the 10 developed-market Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Index.

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