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ECONOMY

Swedish economy continues to grow

Sweden's economy expanded by one percent in the second quarter, while year-on-year growth slowed to 5.3 percent, data released Friday by the central statistics office (SCB) showed.

The figures beat the expectations of analysts polled by the Dow Jones Newswire who had expected growth of 0.6 percent in the quarter and 4.9 percent on an annual basis.

Household consumption expenditures rose by 2.3 percent,w hile gross fixed capital formation increased by 8.1 percent.

In addition, exports increased 7.8 percent and imports 5.8 percent.

Total employment, measured as the number of hours worked, increased 1.8 percent while the number of employed persons increased 2.5 percent.

Sweden’s new GDP growth figures are slightly higher than those expected by the Riksbank and in line with the expectations of Nordea bank, according to a statement by Nordea analyst Andreas Jonsson.

Export figures were also somewhat stronger than Nordea expected, while investment was somewhat lower.

“This speaks to our assessment that the Riksbank will continue with their austerity policies,” said Nordea.

In the first quarter of 2011, Sweden reported an annual growth rate of 6.4 percent, one of the highest in Europe.

Without taking into account seasonal variations, the year-on-year growth of the Gross Domestic Product was 4.8 percent, the statistics office said.

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ECONOMY

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.

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