Swedish economy fails to meet growth forecast

Sweden's second-quarter seasonally adjusted economic growth was far weaker than expected, with expansion at just 0.7 percent instead of 1.4 percent as previously forecast, official data showed on Friday.

Swedish economy fails to meet growth forecast

“These figures feel much more appropriate,” Annika Winsth, head economist with the Nordea bank, told the TT news agency.

“It’s a major revision, but expected.”

According to Winsth, earlier forecasts published by Sweden’s official statistics agency, Statistics Sweden (SCB), were overly optimistic in light of evidence showing a slowdown in the manufacturing sector.

The national statistics institute said the downward revision mainly reflected a fall in exports of services, public consumption as well as the contribution of inventories to growth.

According to Nordea’s forecasts, Sweden’s economy will likely grow 1.2 percent for 2012 as a whole, although there is a chance that growth may end up even lower. The bank expects zero growth for the third quarter.

“We are somewhere close to bottom in terms of Swedish economic growth,” said Winth.

Following the announcement from SCB, the krona fell slightly against both the euro and the dollar.

TT/AFP/The Local

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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.