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ECONOMY

Swedish economy beats growth expectations

Sweden's economy grew by 0.6 percent in the first quarter from the previous three-month period, Statistics Sweden (Statistiska centralbyrån - SCB) said on Wednesday as it released fresh data that beat expectations.

Swedish economy beats growth expectations

“Sweden’s position in Europe remains strong,” Statistics Sweden said, noting Sweden had experienced growth that was “significantly higher than the European average.”

The growth, the strongest recorded in Sweden since the second quarter last year, is significantly higher than analysts’ forecasts.

They had predicted the economy would see weak growth, be flat or even contract, with a survey by Dow Jones Newswires forecasting an average increase of 0.3 percent.

Sweden’s first quarter economic health contrasts sharply with that of countries in the eurozone, of which it is not a member.

Many eurozone countries have registered weak quarterly data, such as Germany which reported 0.1 percent growth, or were in recession, such as France which saw its economy shrink by 0.2 percent.

Sweden’s “upside surprise is mainly due to stronger inventories” while “domestic demand (was) mixed,” SEB bank analyst Erica Blomgren commented on Twitter.

She said “private and public consumption (were) stronger than expected but investments (were) very weak.”

AFP/The Local/at

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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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