Sweden to lower growth forecast: Borg

Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg said Tuesday he would revise downwards his 2012 growth forecast, disparaged by economists as being overly optimistic, by the end of the year.

Sweden to lower growth forecast: Borg

“The outlook for the Swedish economy is deteriorating” and “a new forecast will be presented by the end of the year,” Borg said in a speech in Stockholm.

In its 2013 budget bill presented to parliament on September 20, the centre-right government predicted growth of 1.6 percent in 2012, 2.7 percent next year and 3.7 percent in 2014.

Many economists have criticised those figures as outdated after Statistics Sweden revised downwards its second quarter growth figures in mid-September and as the European economy continues to deteriorate.

The Swedish central bank has also issued a much more conservative outlook, anticipating growth of 0.9 percent this year and 0.7 percent next year.

“Reality has caught up with Borg,” Swedbank chief economist Cecilia Hermansson said in the online edition of daily Svenska Dagbladet.

“Swedish industry and production are facing tougher challenges than usual,” she said.

Meanwhile, international credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s also noted the difficulties facing Sweden’s economy, where exports account for half of gross domestic product.

“We believe the economic outlook for Sweden is weakening, with signs of the economy slowing more sharply than expected,” S&P said as it downgraded the outlooks for eight Swedish banks.

“We believe the negative trends in the Swedish economy will be in part driven by a slowdown in the eurozone that will be more protracted and deeper than we previously expected,” it added.

Statistics Sweden is scheduled to publish a first estimate of Sweden’s third quarter growth figures on November 29.

AFP/The Local/og

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‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.