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Winners or losers? Here's what the low Swedish krona means for you

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Winners or losers? Here's what the low Swedish krona means for you
The weak krona has implications for product prices, travel costs, and businesses among other things. File photo: Miriam Preis/imagebank.sweden.se
13:56 CEST+02:00
The Swedish krona has reached extreme lows against the dollar and euro, with some national media labelling it a "junk currency". Here's what that means for Sweden's international residents, and anyone pondering a move here.

The krona has reached lows usually only seen in times of economic crisis, most recently in 2009.

It's 17 years since the krona was this weak against the dollar, while it's at its lowest level against the euro in around a decade. At the time of writing, the krona was 9.58 against the dollar and 10.73 against the euro.

This has implications for Swedish businesses and individuals living, working, spending and saving here.

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Sweden is an export-orientated economy, and the low krona can make Swedish companies more competitive, since their products become cheaper to buy than those in countries with the euro. For companies that rely on imports, though, there are higher costs to reckon with, and this affects many export-focused companies too. 

In a survey by Swedbank, around half of purchasing managers for Sweden's 400 biggest companies said a fall in the krona had a negative impact on profits, while only a fifth said the effect was positive.

And small and medium sized businesses are generally the most seriously impacted, since their smaller size, fewer resources and typically lower profit margins can leave them more vulnerable to fluctuations.

When it comes to individuals, those who receive a salary or pension paid in euros or another comparatively strong currency will get more for your money when spending in Sweden. Anyone planning a move or an investment in Sweden, such as buying a house, using savings from outside Sweden is therefore in a strong position.

That means cheaper trips to Sweden for friends and family of international residents too. And this is a positive for the Swedish tourism industry, with more Danes and Norwegians crossing the border this summer to take advantage of the comparatively low prices on accommodation, food and drink. 

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But those who are paid in kronor and regularly travel overseas, or send money overseas (for example, to family members in their home country), the reverse is true.

Compared to six years ago, a trip to a country in the eurozone is around 20 percent more expensive this year, a change that has been cited as a key factor in the rising popularity of 'staycations' in Sweden. There are exceptions: the Turkish lira is the only other OECD currency to have fallen further against the dollar this year, making Turkey a relatively cheap destination for Swedes. 

Buying products online from overseas, for example from Amazon which does not currently operate within Sweden, becomes less good value when the krona is weak. Product prices in Sweden could rise too if companies are affected by higher cost of imports, including imported food and drink.

Among savers, those with money in overseas funds, particularly US funds, could also benefit from the current exchange rate if they plan to withdraw the cash. And anyone with a mortgage will be benefiting from the low interest rates.

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As for when the krona is likely to rise again, most experts expect that to happen only when the Riksbank raises interest rates. It was expected to do this in December, but the slow economic growth has made it more likely that this will be delayed until summer 2020.

The Riksbank took the landmark decision to slash the key interest rate below zero in February 2015, hoping that the strategy would boost inflation to raise the price of everyday goods and services and therefore improve the Nordic nation's economic prospects.

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