Swedish industry cools but optimism remains

Swedish industry cooled off in the first quarter of 2007, according to the Purchasing Managers' Index figures released on Monday. But employment is continuing to rise and optimism is high.

In March the PMI fell from 63.1 to 60.6.

“This means that activity in Swedish industry has slowed,” wrote Swedbank and the Swedish Association of Purchasing and Logistics (Silf) in a press statement.

The figures, which reflect the growth in competitiveness of industry, are still in the upper part of what economists call “the growth zone”, they point out. However, taken as a whole, the Swedish industrial cycle appears to have stabilized in the first quarter of 2007.

But there were positives in the index. While production plans for the next six months have been trimmed somewhat, industrial companies say they remain optimistic about future competitiveness.

Jobs growth is also continuing, although not at the same level as at the beginning of the year.