Swedish Boom Continues as Stimulus Fuels Economic Expansion

Sweden’s economy grew almost in line with estimates in the first quarter as consumer spending gained amid record stimulus from the central bank.

Gross domestic product expanded 0.5 percent from the fourth quarter, Statistics Sweden said in a statement. Growth was seen at 0.6 percent in a Bloomberg survey of analysts. It expanded an annual 4.2 percent, compared with a 4.3 percent estimate. Fourth-quarter growth was revised up to 1.6 percent from 1.3 percent earlier.

The largest Nordic economy has boomed as the central bank cut rates deep below zero and pumped money into the economy by buying government bonds. The government has raised spending to cope with a record influx of refugees and unemployment has dipped to the lowest since 2008.

The Swedish krona rose 0.1 percent to 9.2697 per euro as of 9:37 a.m. in Stockholm.

Fixed investment rose 2.1 percent from the fourth quarter, while exports fell 1.3 percent and imports rose 0.8 percent. Private spending rose 1.1 percent and public spending gained 0.5 percent.

Data after the quarter ended have shown the boom may be tapering. Consumer confidence slid to the lowest level in 21 months in May, according to National Institute of Economic Research. It was the fourth month in a row of declining confidence.

The central bank has said it will keep its key interest rate at a record low of minus 0.5 percent for another year to help inflation reach the 2 percent target. The bank in April chose to extend its government bond purchases into the second half of this year, but slowed down the pace of its buying. 

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