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SEB

Business owners voice satisfaction with government

Most Swedish companies agree that the business climate in Sweden has improved since the centre-right government came to power, according to a new survey.

The panel of small and medium-sized companies assembled by SEB bank highlighted the removal of wealth tax, labour force growth and reduced income taxes as factors contributing to a considerably improved business climate.

Of the 1,000 companies invited to take part in the study, 632 agreed to give their views on the government and the opposition one year after the general election.

63 percent said businesses would have fared worse under a government consisting of the Social Democrats, the Left Party and the Greens.

Only nine percent said that the opposition would have done a better job, while 28 felt that there would not have been any difference.

50 percent of respondents agreed with the assertion that the business climate had improved under the current government. 31 percent said that it had not improved, while 19 percent had no opinion.

“Despite criticism of certain aspects of the government’s politics, the overall assessment is that the Alliance government has improved the climate for small and medium-sized companies,” said SEB economist Ingela Hemming in a statement.

ECONOMY

Swedish economy beats growth expectations

Sweden's economy grew by 0.6 percent in the first quarter from the previous three-month period, Statistics Sweden (Statistiska centralbyrån - SCB) said on Wednesday as it released fresh data that beat expectations.

Swedish economy beats growth expectations

“Sweden’s position in Europe remains strong,” Statistics Sweden said, noting Sweden had experienced growth that was “significantly higher than the European average.”

The growth, the strongest recorded in Sweden since the second quarter last year, is significantly higher than analysts’ forecasts.

They had predicted the economy would see weak growth, be flat or even contract, with a survey by Dow Jones Newswires forecasting an average increase of 0.3 percent.

Sweden’s first quarter economic health contrasts sharply with that of countries in the eurozone, of which it is not a member.

Many eurozone countries have registered weak quarterly data, such as Germany which reported 0.1 percent growth, or were in recession, such as France which saw its economy shrink by 0.2 percent.

Sweden’s “upside surprise is mainly due to stronger inventories” while “domestic demand (was) mixed,” SEB bank analyst Erica Blomgren commented on Twitter.

She said “private and public consumption (were) stronger than expected but investments (were) very weak.”

AFP/The Local/at

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