Riksbank chief misses rate meeting

Riksbank chief misses rate meeting
Swedish Riksbank head Stefan Ingves missed a key monetary policy meeting on Monday morning as he was travelling overland from Spain due to a Swedish airspace shutdown.

“He can’t take part, either personally or on the telephone. He is on his way home from Madrid in a vehicle through Europe,” Tomas Lundberg at the Riksbank said on Monday.

The meeting was opened at 9am on Monday morning. The decision taken at the meeting over whether to change base rates will be made official at 9.30am on Tuesday.

Deputy governor Barbro Wickman-Parak did, in contrast to Ingves, make it back in time for the meeting. Wickman-Parak had been in Iceland, where a volcanic eruption last week caused a cloud of ash to form that prompted several European aviation authorities to shut down vast tracts of airspace. The deputy governor was able to get to Trondheim in Norway on Sunday and continue by coach back to Stockholm overnight.

Many economists expect the Riksbank to raise the record low rates quite soon.

“Our main scenario is that the Riksbank raises the rate in July but we have also said that we can not rule out April. And if it hangs in the balance then the prospect of a hike in April is reduced somewhat by Ingves’ absence,” said Annika Winsth at Swedish bank Nordea.

“But as we have stated, April is not our projection. My view is that Ingves has changed tack, but it is difficult to say whether he has made enough of a shift to raise rates now. But our assessment is that strong enough signals have been emitted to suggest we can not completely discount April. It is possible that others could consider it worth waiting until July when Ingves is not there, but it is a close call,” she said.

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