Swedish Companies Now More Optimistic, Riksbank Survey Shows

Swedish companies have become more optimistic even as production and sales have remained “relatively” unchanged over the past quarter, according to a central bank survey.

“Orders in the manufacturing sector have increased and more companies in manufacturing, as well as construction and the retail trade, have plans to increase their workforces in the near term,” the Riksbank said today in a statement, citing interviews with Swedish companies.

Sweden’s central bank at its last meeting in April delayed plans for its next interest rate increase until late next year after cutting its inflation forecasts. It kept its main lending rate at 1 percent for a second meeting as concerns over record-high household debt limited the scope for more cuts.

“Price pressures in the economy remain low,” the bank said today. “Nevertheless, there are now more companies than in January that expect to increase their prices during the coming year. These prices are expected to be small, however, particularly in the manufacturing industry, and are mainly linked to hopes for improved economic activity.”

Sweden’s central bank conducted interviews with companies in the construction, retail, manufacturing and service industries on May 6-24. This time 36 companies were interviewed with about 224,000 employees.

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