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Current account surplus widens

Sweden's current account surplus widened 5.0 percent to 41.9 billion kronor (4.5 billion euros, 5.7 billion dollars) in the second quarter this year compared with the same period of 2005, the central bank reported Friday.

The current account is a broad measure of a country’s foreign trade, covering goods and services along with certain financial transfers.

In the trade component the surplus rose to 44.3 billion kronor in the second quarter from 43.4 billion a year earlier. In services the surplus came to 19.5 billion kronor after 15.6 billion in second quarter 2005, the bank said.

Separately, the central statistics bureau said Friday that Sweden’s trade surplus shrank 9.0 percent in July to 12.2 billion kronor (1.3 billion euros, 1.7 billion dollars) compared with the same month last year.

The value of Swedish exports came to 77 billion kronor while that of imports was 64.8 billion kronor for the month.

SAS

‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers. 

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