Sweden Retail Sales Accelerated Less Than Estimated in April

Swedish retail sales growth accelerated less than estimated in April as high unemployment weighs on consumer sentiment in the largest Nordic economy.

Sales growth accelerated to an annual 2 percent from a revised 1.5 percent the previous month, Stockholm-based Statistics Sweden said today. The median estimate in a survey of five economists by Bloomberg was for sales to grow 3 percent. Monthly retail sales rose 0.1 percent, after sliding a revised 0.6 percent in March.

“This is another setback for the ‘green shoots’ that the Riksbank has seen during the spring,” said Henrik Erikson, chief strategist at Nykredit Markets, in a note. “We now have an additional factor in a long string of data that have surprised on the negative side.”

Sweden’s central bank last month kept its main lending rate unchanged at 1 percent, citing signs the economy is recovering on the back of a revival in the U.S. and Asia. The bank has cut its repo rate four times in a year to boost growth, which has been hurt by weak demand for exports.

Sweden, which sells about half of its output abroad, has suffered from weak demand from the euro area, where the economy is estimated to contract for a second year. Unemployment will rise to an average 8.2 percent this year from 8 percent in 2012 as companies including Ericsson AB, the world’s largest maker of mobile networks, cut jobs, the Riksbank said last month.

Economic growth in Sweden will pick up to 1.4 percent this year and 2.7 percent in 2014 after growing just 0.8 percent last year, the Riksbank said April 17.

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