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Swedish exports up 22 percent

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17:39 CEST+02:00
Trade for Swedish export companies is going better than ever.

In March, Swedish exports jumped 22 percent, according to Statistics Sweden, a Swedish governmental authority for official statistics.

Such positive figures could result in an increase in Swedish GDP forecasts for 2006 and the raising of interest rates.

Exports in March totalled 100.6 billion kronor, compared with 82.5 billion in the same month a year ago.

Imports were also up, though not at the same clip. The total value of imports increased by 20 percent to 83.1 billion kronor.

With increases in both areas, net trade, which is the difference between exports and imports, increased by 30 percent to 17.5 billion kronor.

"They are surprisingly strong figures," SEB analyst Robert Bergqvist said.

"During the first quarter we have had particularly strong exports, and this is not really reflected in economic barometers," he added.

The lift can be attributed to a strong international economy, not least in the US and Asia.

But the rest of Europe's economy has also awakened. Exports have climbed sharply for the 25 EU countries.

The strong export figures for Sweden could contribute to SEB raising its 2006 Swedish GDP prognosis.

In February, SEB predicted 3.3 percent growth for the Swedish economy in 2006. This number could now go up a few tenths of a percentage point.

At the same time, stronger growth brings greater risk for inflation, so the possibility of raised interest rates increases as well.

No immediate increase in interest rates is expected from the Riksbanken, Sweden's central bank, which has a directors meeting at the end of the week.

But some analysts forsee a rate rise in June as likely.

TT/The Local

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