In a report on Swedes’ use of computers and the Internet, SCB has found that two of three individuals aged 25-34 have at some time purchased goods or services via the net but that one in five of those aged 55-74 has never used a computer.
Oil and US dollar threaten growth
In its latest forecast the National Institute of Economic Research (KI) predicts that GDP growth will be 3.2 per cent next year, driven by increased consumption and investment.
Domestic demand is expected to increase in 2005, which in turn will result in an upswing in employment levels. To date companies have been able to boost production by raising productivity but there will be less opportunity do so in the near future, predicts KI.
The Institute forecasts that inflation will be held back by the strong krona, which in turn will keep import prices down. KI therefore believes that the Riksbank should hold the repo rate at 2 per cent until September 2005.
KI also calls on the government to tighten finances in order to achieve the targeted 2 per cent surplus in central government finances over an economic cycle.
KI is optimistic over the international economy as growth is high in most regions with the exception of the eurozone. A continued fall in the US dollar and high oil prices could delay recovery in the eurozone, which would affect Sweden since almost 40 per cent of the nation’s exports are to the region.
Gunnebo distributes engineering division
Security group Gunnebo AB is to distribute and separately list its engineering division in 2005. The new company will be distributed to shareholders in June 2005 at the earliest and will be listed on the stock exchange as Gunnebo Industrier, pursuant to the approval of the AGM.
Last year the engineering business posted turnover of 1.1 billion crowns, corresponding to 15 per cent of the Gunnebo group’s total turnover. The operating margin for the first nine months of 2004 was 6.8 per cent after write down of goodwill, which is better than the Gunnebo group as a whole.
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