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INFLATION

Inflation at record level

Consumer prices increased by 0.2 percent from November to December, according to Statistics Sweden.

The rate of inflation was 3.5 percent, compared to 3.3 percent in November.

The December figure represents the highest level of inflation in Sweden in the past 14 years.

Prices have not increased so sharply since January 1993, when inflation reached 4.8 percent.

One reason for the rise is price hikes for cheese, milk and eggs, which collectively increased by 4.3 percent.

Another factor was the elevated costs of home loans, electricity and heating fuel. These changes were in part balanced by reduced costs for clothing, down by 1.6 percent.

TT/David Bartal

INFLATION

Swedish inflation climbs in July

Sweden's inflation rate rose at a higher clip in July than in the previous month, partly due to rising mortgage interest costs, although consumer prices remained flat.

Swedish inflation rose to 3.3 percent in July on a 12-month basis, up from 3.1 percent in June, official data showed Thursday.

Compared with June, July consumer prices were flat, Statistics Sweden (SCB) said in a statement.

It said higher prices reflected a 3.0-percent hike in interest costs for owner occupied housing, a 5.9-percent jump in prices for package holidays, as well as higher costs for fuel and food and non-alcoholic beverages.

These increases were offset by “seasonally normal price decreases for clothing and footwear, with prices falling seven percent, and lower prices for electricity, it said.

According to the European Union’s Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HIPC), inflation in Sweden was 1.6 percent in July compared with a year earlier, remaining well below the 2.5 percent inflation rate seen in the neighbouring eurozone last month.

Sweden’s central bank has raised its key interest rate seven times since July 2010, pushing it from 0.25 percent to 2.0 percent, in a bid to stabilise inflation close to its target of 2.0 percent.

The Riksbank has said it plans to continue raising rates on the back of Sweden’s strong economy, which is considered among Europe’s most robust with growth this year forecast at 4.4 percent.

However, economists have in recent days said they expect the bank will backtrack and leave rates unchanged at its next meeting in September due to growing fears of a new global financial crisis.

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