Sweden Manufacturing Expansion Slows as Norway Industry Shrinks

Sweden’s manufacturing expanded less than estimated in July as order growth slowed, while an index in Norway indicated a continued industrial contraction.

An index in Sweden based on responses from about 200 purchasing managers fell to a seasonally adjusted 51.3 from 53.5 the previous month, Stockholm-based Swedbank AB, which compiles the data, said today. The index was seen easing to 53, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. Norway’s index rose to 47.5 in July from 46.9, Danske Bank A/S said today, missing the 49.1 median estimate in a survey. A reading below 50 indicates a contraction.

Sweden’s report “was weaker than expected, indicating that the situation in the manufacturing industry is still fragile,” Torbjoern Isaksson, chief analyst at Nordea Bank AB, said in a note to clients. Manufacturing in Sweden will improve “gradually” in 2013, he said.

The Riksbank last month kept its main rate unchanged and said it will probably start raising rates in the second half of next year as the economy improves. The export-reliant economy has been hampered by weak demand from euro-area nations that are struggling to emerge from the bloc’s longest recession since the introduction of the single currency.

Sweden’s krona slid 0.2 percent to 8.6820 per euro as of 9:24 a.m. in Stockholm. The Norwegian krone weakened 0.2 percent to 7.8569 against the common currency.

Sweden’s production sub-index fell to 56 from 56.7 while the order index decreased to 52.1 from 58.5, Swedbank said today. The employment index fell to 44.9 from 47.8.

In Norway, the sub-index measuring orders rose to 48.2 from 43.3 in June. The employment index fell to 46.8 from 47.5 and the production measure increased to 47.5 from 46.7. Inventories slid to 42.2 from 50.1.

Norges Bank in June left its benchmark rate unchanged at 1.5 percent and signaled an increased chance for a cut in September as krone strength has cooled growth and inflation in Europe’s second-richest nation.

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