Sweden’s economy to keep growing

Sweden's economy will continue to grow over the next year, while more people will get jobs and households will see their finances strengthen, according to a new report.

The Swedish Associations of Local Authorities and Regions’ report predicts continued high global growth and continued profitability for Swedish companies. Inflation will remain low and the state and local authority sectors will continue to enjoy strong finances.

The economists behind the report say that the number of people in work is likely to grow, while open unemployment will fall. This will be to the advantage of local authorities, which will see increasing tax revenues.

The economists expect GDP to grow 3.6 percent this year, before levelling off in 2008-10. Households’ disposable income will rise significantly this year due to increased employment rates and the government’s tax cuts.

The number of people in work will increase by 100,000 this year. In 2008 and 2009 employment will also increase, but at a slower rate. Wage increases across the employment market will be around 4 percent between 2007 and 2010.

The increases will not in themselves threaten Sweden’s ability to meet its inflation target, but other factors are expected to put pressure on inflation, causing the Riksbank to raise interest rates both this year and next.


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.