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ECONOMY

Sweden’s 2022 Midsummer celebrations set to be most expensive ever

Midsummer 2022 is set to be the most expensive since records began. Here are some tips on how you can spend less this year.

Sweden's 2022 Midsummer celebrations set to be most expensive ever
A traditional Midsummer table includes herring, potatoes, strawberries and radishes. But where can you save money this year? Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

This year’s SEB Bank’s Midsummer Index of typical food and drinks bought for the holiday show a price increase of 11.7 percent on last year.

Even in comparison to other price indexes such as the wider Consumer Price Index, which increased by 7.3 percent this year, Midsummer foods have seen a major increase in price over the past year.

“Yes, it’s really got a lot more expensive,” said Marcus Widén, an economist at SEB Bank responsible for the bank’s yearly Christmas and Midsummer Indexes, in a statement.

“Since the focus of Midsummer is food, the price increase on groceries has led to the cost of Midsummer celebrations becoming noticeably higher than last year. However, seeing as 2022 is the year where we can meet for the first time in two years with no restrictions at all, this won’t stop people from meeting up with friends,” he said.

‘Put on an extra pot of potatoes’

However, Widén does have some tips for how to save some money on your Midsummer shopping this year.

“If you’re planning on using our Midsummer Index as a guide for finding the cheapest items in terms of the lowest increase in price, the answer is obvious – herring and snaps have seen an increase of under one percent,” he said.

“The price increase on drinks is also relatively low, but with longer processing times, it’s probably just a matter of time before we start seeing an increase there, too.”

“Even though the price of potatoes has increased by 15.5 percent, the cost is still low compared to many other food items. So if the other price increases are starting to hurt, put on an extra pot of potatoes,” Widén said.

‘Biggest increase in 40 years’

Another trick to save some money on your Midsummer party could be to choose tea instead of coffee.

“The fact is, that a price increase of almost 40 percent on coffee is the greatest we’ve seen in the 40 years we’ve had a continuous record, apart from autumn 1994 where the price of coffee increased by almost 64 percent,” Widén said.

“Tea has only gone up by 8 percent.”

Widén also pointed out the effects that increased fuel costs might have on Midsummer celebrations this year.

“If you want to minimise the effect of prices going up, you should choose public transport, walking or cycling,” he said.

“Driving to a Midsummer party will be unusually expensive this year, mainly due to the fact that the price of fuel is 41 percent higher than it was a year ago.”

 

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ECONOMY

Inflation rate dips in Sweden for first time in seven months

The inflation rate in Sweden fell in July for the first time in seven months, according to official data from Statistics Sweden (SCB), indicating that rate rises may be having an impact on rising prices.

Inflation rate dips in Sweden for first time in seven months

“Lower prices for electricity and fuel contributed to the inflation rate sinking for the first time since January,” said Carl Mårtensson, a price statistician at the agency, in a press release.

The official inflation rate for July this year was 8 percent, down from 8.5 percent in June, and below the consensus estimate of economists at 8.3 percent.

The fall was almost exclusively the result of falling prices for electricity and fuel, with the price of electricity falling by 8.3 percent month on month and the price of petrol and diesel falling 5.6 percent. Excluding energy prices, the inflation rate rose to 6.6 percent from 6.1 percent in June. 

Olle Holmgren, Chief Strategist at Sweden’s SEB Bank said that while inflation pressure remained high, the numbers were cause for hope. 

“Inflation pressures remains high, but the composition of price changes gives some hope that the strong upward trend could be losing some steam,” he wrote in a comment

He noted that the fall in fuel and electricity prices had been offset by an “extremely strong upturn in food prices”, 13.5 percent year on year. 

Alexandra Stråberg, chief economist at the Länsförsäkringar insurance company, however, said that she did not think that the dip in headline inflation meant that the risk of rising prices was over. 

“Unfortunately, it probably hasn’t turned the corner yet,” she told TT. “This is only a short pause.” 

In the chart below from SCB’s press release you can see how four out of the agency’s inflation indexes have dipped in July, after a year of steady rises. 

The index which excludes energy prices, however, has been rising steadily since December. 

Source: Statistics Sweden
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