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ECONOMY

Riksbank deputy seeks ‘less expansionary’ path

Irma Rosenberg, deputy governor of the Riksbank, Sweden's central bank, said in a speech today that the strong level of economic activity in conjunction with current inflation forecasts indicate that it will again be necessary to gradually shift monetary policy onto a less expansionary path to ensure that inflation remains close to target.

She reiterated that there is reason to assume gradually increasing inflationary pressures as the economic upswing leads to a rise in capacity utilisation both in Sweden and abroad.

“In February, when we chose to raise the repo rate, our conclusion was that the interest rate should perhaps be increased at a somewhat slower rate than was anticipated according to the interest rate path on which the forecasts in the Inflation Report were based.

“Personally, I do not see any reason in the current situation to change that assessment, although international developments now look slightly better than we had anticipated in February,” Rosenberg said.

She said that her overall conclusion is that the new information received since the Inflation Report in February mainly confirms the picture then outlined of economic activity in Sweden (relatively high GDP growth in the coming years), while it indicates a slightly stronger development abroad.

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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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