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IMF

Sweden pledges $10bn to IMF bailout fund

Sweden, Norway and Denmark pledged $26 billion to the new IMF crisis funding Tuesday, taking the total raised so far to $286 billion, Fund managing director Christine Lagarde announced.

Sweden pledges $10bn to IMF bailout fund

Their support to the planned $400 billion fund-raising exercise “clearly demonstrates these countries’ enduring commitment to multilateralism,” Lagarde said in a statement.

“Ensuring that the Fund has sufficient resources to tackle crises and to promote global economic stability is in the interests of all our members,” she said.

In a Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung interview published earlier Tuesday, Lagarde revealed that the International Monetary Fund is seeking some $400 billion for expanding its crisis intervention “firepower”.

That was sharply lower than the original target of $500 billion. Last week Lagarde said the Fund was lowering its target, citing a slight easing of tensions in the global and eurozone financial system.

In the newest pledges, Denmark was promising about $7 billion, Norway $9.3 billion, and Sweden $10 billion.

Their contributions follow a $60 billion commitment from Japan and $200 billion from the euro area.

The IMF is hoping to firm up commitments, especially from the big emerging economies like China, Russia, Brazil and India, at the Fund’s Spring meetings held at the end of this week in Washington.

But the Fund’s largest shareholder, the United States, is not expected to contribute.

AFP/The Local

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IMF

IMF warns of Swedish housing bubble

The International Monetary Fund has warned that Sweden is suffering from a housing bubble and has called for a halt on loans that don't require amortization.

IMF warns of Swedish housing bubble

“A sudden and sizeable fall in Swedish property prices could have a knock-on effect on consumption and unemployment, with negative repercussions on banks through non-performing loans and funding costs,” the IMF wrote in a new report published on Thursday.

SEE ALSO: Find your next home with The Local’s Rentals Section

The IMF warns that the fall out could have regional consequences across Scandinavia and the Baltic region and identified the main risks as the high level of household debt, which is amongst the highest in the OECD.

Furthermore the IMF warns of banks that are excessively large in relation to the country’s GDP and weaknesses in bank financing models, explaining that the risks are more pronounced due to the low levels of amortization on mortgages and deficiencies in the tax system.

“Domestically, household debt is high and rising, reflecting tax incentives, easy access to low-amortization mortgages, and very low interest rates,” the report stated.

With regards to the tax system, the IMF recommends a review and raises the prospect of phasing out breaks and mortgage interest tax relief.

SEE ALSO: Check out the latest home listings in The Local’s Property Section

Sweden’s Riksbank on Thursday confirmed that the main base (repo) interest rate will remain at one percent and left its forecast unchanged. The repo rate is due to be raised towards the end of 2014, according to the forecast.

The Riksbank’s decision means that fluctuating interest rates are set to remain the same (at around 2.9 percent) for the time being.

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