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ECONOMY

Swedish unemployment rises

Unemployment continues to rise in Sweden and in October 346,000 people, or 7.8 per cent of the workforce, were either visibly unemployed or involved in some form of labour market programme.

In all, 217,000 were visibly unemployed in October and while visible unemployment is somewhat lower year on year this is explained by the fact that more people (129,000 or 2.9 per cent of the workforce) were employed on labour market programmes.

Labour demand is low with only 24,000 new vacancies registered in October.

…but industry still doing well

The latest figures from Statistics Sweden reveal that Swedish industry continued to enjoy a boom in September with the total volume of orders received up by 2 per cent year on year.

Domestic orders rose by 3.4 per cent while export orders rose by 0.8 per cent. Industrial production increased by 5.3 per cent. The activity index, which gives a guide to growth in the economy, increased by 3.1 per cent year on year.

Rail World interested in Green Cargo

US Rail World, a Chicago-based railway investment and management company, has expressed an interest in acquiring Swedish state-owned rail-freight company Green Cargo.

Earlier this year the Riksdag gave the go-ahead for Green Cargo’s privatisation and at that time speculation was rife that the government wished to sell the company to German Railion, a subsidiary of state-owned Deutsche Bahn.

Critics concerned over the German company’s dominance in several European markets have suggested that Swedish companies’ competitiveness could be undermined if Railion were to acquire Green Cargo. Ikea, Electrolux and SCA have all lobbied against a sale to Railion.

Electrolux announces new management team

Electrolux announced this week that Wolfgang König, head of White Goods Europe, has chosen to leave the Group and that CEO Hans Stråberg will chair the new global leadership team for white goods.

Electrolux, which has posted sluggish sales of white goods around the world, has been finding it tough to achieve its margins and was forced to issue a profit warning in September.

Press officer Jacob Broberg says the company must become better at taking advantage of synergies. He cannot say at present whether there will be further cuts in the workforce as a result of the new management.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Industri

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ECONOMY

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.

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