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DEBT

Swedes’ debts get bigger

Swedish households are increasingly in debt. Figures released today for

the final quarter of last year show householders’ debts increased by more than 43 billion kronor.

The figure is an increase of 11 billion kronor compared to the previous quarter, according to Statistics Sweden.

Household debts increased in total by 136 billion kronor for 2004, a rise of 10 billion compared to 2003. The biggest rise is in mortgages.

The total figure for household debt for 2004 was 1,623 billion kronor compared to 1,483 billion kronor in 2003. 950 billion is owed in mortgages, whilst banks are owed 315 billion and CSN -the student loan company- 170 billion kronor.

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DEBT

IMF

Sweden pledges $10bn to IMF bailout fund

Sweden, Norway and Denmark pledged $26 billion to the new IMF crisis funding Tuesday, taking the total raised so far to $286 billion, Fund managing director Christine Lagarde announced.

Sweden pledges $10bn to IMF bailout fund

Their support to the planned $400 billion fund-raising exercise “clearly demonstrates these countries’ enduring commitment to multilateralism,” Lagarde said in a statement.

“Ensuring that the Fund has sufficient resources to tackle crises and to promote global economic stability is in the interests of all our members,” she said.

In a Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung interview published earlier Tuesday, Lagarde revealed that the International Monetary Fund is seeking some $400 billion for expanding its crisis intervention “firepower”.

That was sharply lower than the original target of $500 billion. Last week Lagarde said the Fund was lowering its target, citing a slight easing of tensions in the global and eurozone financial system.

In the newest pledges, Denmark was promising about $7 billion, Norway $9.3 billion, and Sweden $10 billion.

Their contributions follow a $60 billion commitment from Japan and $200 billion from the euro area.

The IMF is hoping to firm up commitments, especially from the big emerging economies like China, Russia, Brazil and India, at the Fund’s Spring meetings held at the end of this week in Washington.

But the Fund’s largest shareholder, the United States, is not expected to contribute.

AFP/The Local

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