Nuder: Sweden heading for higher growth

Sweden's economy will grow by more than 3.5 percent this year, higher than previously forecast, Swedish Finance Minister Pär Nuder said on Monday.

“The finance ministry misjudged the Swedish economy’s growth in the budget proposal last autumn. We expected growth to be three percent this year, but the way it looks now growth will be more than 3.5 percent”, Nuder wrote in an opinion piece published in Dagens Nyheter on Monday.

When the Social Democratic government presented this year’s budget last September, it revised down its growth forecast for 2005 to 2.4 percent from a previously expected 3.2 percent, but increased its forecast for 2006 and 2007 to 3.1 percent.

In an upbeat assessment of the state of Sweden’s economy, Nuder also said that the Scandinavian country had improved public finances, high employment and a good level of competitiveness by international standards.

“Sweden has healthy public finances. The budget deficit that 10 years ago meant that every third krona in the budget was a borrowed krona has been reversed to a budget surplus,” he wrote.

“Employment figures are high. Salary increases are working well. Sweden’s competitive ability is considered good by international institutions. The social mobility (in Sweden) has proved better than in countries like the US and Great Britain,” he insisted.

According to the latest employment statistics, 64,000 more people were employed in the Scandinavian country last December than a year earlier, and more than 100,000 jobs are expected to be created over the next two years.

Unemployment rose to 5.4 percent in December from 5.0 percent in the same month a year earlier.

“At the same time, economic statistics reveal that Sweden, despite its flaws, remains one of the most (socially) equal countries in the world,” Nuder boasted.