Housing, clothes push up Swedish inflation

Swedish inflation rose at a higher rate in March than the previous month driven by price hikes for clothing and footwear and housing, official data showed on Tuesday.

Housing, clothes push up Swedish inflation

On a 12-month bases inflation rose to 2.9 percent in March, up from 2.5 percent a month earlier, Statistics Sweden (SCB) said in a statement.

Consumer prices increased by 0.7 percent from February to March, the SCB statistics showed.

The agency said the increase was driven by price hikes for clothing and footwear and housing, while a 3.5-percent hike in fuel prices also helped push up inflation.

At the same time a 12.5-percent fall in the cost of international flights and lower costs for recreation and culture pulled the overall inflation back down a few notches.

According to the European Union’s Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HIPC), inflation in Sweden increased by 1.4 percent from March a year ago, compared to a 1.2-percent hike year-on-year in February, but still well below the 2.6 percent in the neighbouring eurozone.

The central bank has raised its key interest rate five times since last July to reach 1.5 percent in a bid to stabilise inflation close to its target of 2.0 percent.

In a forecast in February, the Swedish central bank said it expected inflation, which hit 1.3 percent in 2010, to rise to 2.5 percent this year before easing back to 2.1 percent in 2012.

At a time when many European countries find themselves in crisis, Sweden, which was hard-hit by the global financial downturn, has recently seen its economy boom.

In the fourth quarter last year, the Scandinavian country posted record growth of 7.3 percent, and last month the government raised its growth forecast for this year to 4.8 percent from a previous estimate of 3.7 percent.

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Sweden’s most popular baby names revealed

While Alice remained the most common name for baby girls in Sweden for the third year running, William was dethroned as the most popular boys' name for the first time in years, new statistics show.

Sweden's most popular baby names revealed
Last year, 903 baby girls born in Sweden were named Alice, compared to 938 Alices in 2012, according to Statistics Sweden's (SCB) annual compilation released on Tuesday.
But the name William, which enjoyed top spot for the past two years, was replaced by Lucas, which shot up from third place in 2012. Lucas was given to 935 babies in 2013, compared to 915 little Williams. 
Just over a dozen points behind was Oscar, in third place, and one point behind that was Oliver (see the full top ten below).
As for the girls, Alice was followed by Maja, Elsa, and Ella. 
In the top 100 list for the girls, several names cropped up for the very first time, including Hilma, Ellinor, Sally, Melina, and Nicole. For the boys, new names included Louie and Tor.
In a breakdown of counties around Sweden, Alice was the most popular name in 11 of the total 21 counties. Stockholmers preferred the letter O, with the most popular baby names in the capital Olivia and Oscar.
Top ten girls' names in 2013, with total number.
1. Alice – 903
2. Maja – 767
3. Elsa – 766
4. Ella – 700
5. Julia – 687
6. Ebba – 663
7. Alicia – 625
8. Olivia – 616
9. Alva – 607
10. Wilma – 600
Top ten boys' names in 2013, with total number.
1. Lucas – 935
2. William – 915
3. Oscar – 901
4. Oliver – 800
5. Hugo – 749
6. Charlie – 716
7. Liam – 708
8. Alexander – 694
9. Axel – 677
10. Elias – 676