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Swedish economy "third most competitive"

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19:10 CEST+02:00
Sweden has the third most competitive economy in the world, according to the latest country rankings from the World Economic Forum. Finland tops the rankings for the third year in a row with the US in second position followed by Sweden. Denmark and Norway rank joint fifth.

Finance Minister wants to see more in work

Finance Minister Bosse Ringholm believes that Sweden can maintain its welfare system in the future provided more people work longer.

Primarily, the Finance Minister wants to raise employment levels among certain groups such as the young, immigrants, elder people and those on sick leave.

KI forecasts higher growth

The National Institute of Economic Research (KI) is revising its forecast for GDP growth for 2004 upward to 3.8 per cent and to 3.3 per cent for 2005.

Visible unemployment will fall from 5.5 per cent this year to 4.9 per cent in 2005 and 4.3 per cent in 2006.

KI believes that the Riksbank will begin to raise the repo rate in February next year and that by 2007-2008 the key interest rate will be around 5 per cent.

A worrying trend is that the number of worked hours per person is likely to decrease in coming years, according to KI and warns that the government will encounter serious problems unless more start to work. Moreover, moderate wage increases are needed in order to curb unemployment levels and the Institute recommends an annual increase in earnings for the local government sector of 3.7 per cent for 2005-2007.

Further fall in Systemet's sales

In September the Swedish Alcohol Retailing Monopoly recorded a 14.2 per cent drop in year-on-year sales. Sales of wine fell by 3.3 per cent, of beer by 4.7 per cent and of cider by 12.2 per cent. The drop in sales is most noticeable in Norrbotten and Skåne where consumers have the opportunity to buy cheap spirits in Finland and Denmark respectively.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Industri

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