Sweden Manufacturing Accelerates as Recovery Gains Momentum

Sweden’s manufacturing expansion accelerated in August, signaling a strengthening recovery in the largest Nordic economy.

An index based on responses from about 200 purchasing managers rose to a seasonally adjusted 52.2 in August from 51.3 the prior month, Stockholm-based Swedbank AB, which compiles the data, said today. A reading above 50 indicates an expansion. It was seen rising to 52.4, according to the median estimate of seven economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

The reading “indicates that the Swedish industrial economy has stabilized during the summer,” Swedbank said in a statement. Companies are firing fewer employees and plan to raise production as export orders rose in August, it said.

The krone gained 0.1 percent to 8.7414 per euro as of 9:22 a.m. in Stockholm.

The central bank in July kept its repo rate unchanged at 1 percent for a third consecutive meeting after easing policy four times since 2011 and said it plans to raise rates in the second half next year. Seasonally-adjusted unemployment fell to its lowest in more than a year to 7.8 percent in July, while both Swedish manufacturing and consumer confidence rose last month.

The production sub-index fell to 53.9 from 56.0, while the order index increased to 54.5 from 52.1, Swedbank said. The employment index rose to 48.2 from 44.9.

“The PMI report suggests that the manufacturing sector is into a gradual recovery,” Andreas Wallstroem, an analyst at Nordea Bank AB said in a client note.  “PMI has been above the growth-mark 50 for four consecutive months, and we expect the PMI as well as industrial production to improve gradually throughout 2013.”

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