Swedes warned about borrowing

Households that buy on credit must brace themselves for interest rates that are two to three percentage points higher than the current rate, warns Riksbank Governor Lars Heikensten.

“It is natural for me to raise a warning flag and highlight that we have an unusually low key interest rate,” Heikensten told TT in an interview.

The low repo rate, at 2.0 per cent, has led to more household borrowing while property market prices have risen steadily. This has prompted some to warn of a new financial bubble and that the Riksbank ought to hike interest rates to cool off the credit market.

Wallenberg not worried about AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca has suffered one setback after another this year, dealing severe blows to Investor, which has a major stake in the company. However, Investor CEO Marcus Wallenberg is unfazed: “I still see AstraZeneca as a strong company with great innovative drive and strong finances,” Wallenberg told DI in an interview.

“There has been a miscalculation regarding Exanta, but one must be conscious that this can happen sometimes.”

Farmers Federation to sell TV4 stake

The Federation of Swedish Farmers (LRF) is poised to sell its six-percent holding in TV 4.

“We have several prospective buyers,” says LRF Managing Director Reinhold Lennebo.

Last Thursday, Natur & Kultur agreed to sell its entire stake of nearly six percent in TV4 to Bonnier, raising the latter’s holding in TV4 to 27.8 percent. This means that Bonnier, along with Bonnier-controlled Finnish Alma Media, own 51 per cent of the capital in TV4. Bonnier is trying to ward off a bid by Schibsted to buy Alma Media in a move to seize control of TV4.

Weak growth prospects for Sweden

Sweden has the weakest conditions for future economic growth among the 20 richest OECD countries, according to the annual comparative report released by the Confederation of Swedish Enterprises. This report sharply deviates from other international studies showing Sweden landing high on the list in terms of competitive strength and economic growth prospects. Australia, a non-OECD member, tops the Confederation’s list of countries with the best conditions for future growth.

Energy companies under scrutiny

Several energy companies exact prohibitive fees to supply electricity, according to the Swedish Energy Board. Landing the list anew are Vattenfall, Sydkraft and Fortum although Ekerö Energi, with a fee that is 80 per cent too high, tops the list.

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.