Fewer Swedes foresee rise in consumption

Only 10 per cent of Swedish households expect to increase their consumption next year despite the government proposal for 2005 and the improved economic climate, according to a survey by Research International commissioned by Föreningssparbanken. The survey results show that nearly two-thirds of Swedes consider both their private finances and general economy to be on the same level as six months ago.

Among those polled, single parents and single pensioners find it more difficult to make ends meet.

Venture capitalists flee biotechs

The biotech sector no longer captivates venture capitalists, reported SvD, noting that in just two years investment in biotech has fallen 60 per cent. In 2001, Swedish venture capitalists pumped in 2.6 billion crowns into biotech companies. The corresponding amount in 2003 was SKr 1.1 billion.

SAS report

SAS posted profit of 57 million crowns for Q3, which is a tenth of the amount generated during the same period last year. For the nine-month period, pre-tax loss was 1.526 billion crowns (loss: 1.225) on sales of 43.133 billion crowns (43.930).

Overcapacity and high fuel prices continue to plague the airline group. However, CEO Jörgen Lindegaard could console himself with the thought that the consolidation in the industry that he had longed for appears to be underway. He also said that SAS “is fundamentally better equipped for 2005 and this will be a good start”.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Industri


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Swedish bank’s IT fault puts customer accounts in the red

A technical problem at Sweden's Swedbank on Thursday night gave customers a nasty surprise, with their account balances inexplicably going negative, payments impossible, and Swish payments no longer working.

Swedish bank's IT fault puts customer accounts in the red

By 11.30pm, more than 2,000 Swedbank customers had reported the fault to the site Downdetector, and the problem was still not solved by 17.00pm on Friday. 

“We have an ongoing IT disruption where certain customers see an incorrect balance on their accounts,” a message on the bank’s app read. “The reason is a planned update to our internal systems which went wrong. We apologise, of course, for that and are working as quickly as possible to fix the problem.” 

The Swish payment service has also been affected, with the service, which is owned collectively by Swedish banks, reporting on its site that there was a “technical disruption at Swedbank and Sparbank which might affect Swish payments from these banks”. 

Some Swedbank customers posted their negative account balances on Twitter, expressing shock at the incorrect figures. 

The disruption comes at the worst possible time for many Swedes. Many people are paid on the 25th of the month, meaning this Friday marks the start of the payday weekend. Many will have also scheduled their bill payments for this Friday. 

Marko Saric from Malmö saw his account balance drop by 1.2 million kronor, going half a million kronor into the red. 

“It’s just totally crazy,” he told SVT. “We were going to go out and shop for the weekend. It’s lovely weather and the kids want to go out, but we can’t use our card. We’ve got no cash. Everything is in the bank.” 

“You’re just completely blocked. Colleagues need to make emergency food parcels for you. It’s just crazy that something like this should happen.” 

In its statement, the bank assured customers that their money was “secure”, and that the bank still had the correct information on what their account balance should be. 

“Customers who feel that they have suffered economic damage as a result of the disruption should contact the bank,” the message said.