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What changes in Sweden in February 2023?

Energy price subsidy payouts, a probable new interest rate hike, new Centre Party leader and Finland's PM Sanna Marin in Stockholm. Here's what changes in Sweden February 2023.

What changes in Sweden in February 2023?
Ulf Kristersson and Sanna Marin meet in Finland in October 2022. Marin is due to visit Kristersson in Stockholm this February. Photo: Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva via AP/TT

Energy price subsidy paid out

Sweden’s long-awaited energy price subsidy, originally promised for November last year, will be paid out to households in the south of Sweden on February 20th.

This is the first of two payouts, based on household energy usage between October 2021 and September 2022.

The payout will go to whoever was listed on the energy contract for the property in question on November 17th, 2022, so if you sold your property before this date and the new owners’ name was on the energy contract, they will receive the payout instead of you.

Similarly, if you bought a property before this date and your name was on the energy contract, you will get the full payout for the whole period, even the period when you didn’t own the property. You can read more about the energy subsidy in our article below.

End to unregistered pre-paid SIM cards

People in Sweden have not been able to buy unregistered pre-paid SIM cards since August last year, but users have still been able to use any cards bought before this date without registering them.

From February 1st, this will no longer be possible, meaning that any unregistered pre-paid cards still in use will stop working, and users will need to either register their SIM card or buy a new one, providing a name, postal address and personal number or other ID number (for business phones). They will also need to provide proof of ID with a valid document, such as a passport or driving licence.

Here’s more information on how the ban could affect foreigners from when it was introduced for new purchases in August last year, as well as how you can register your card if you don’t have a personal number.

New interest rate increase likely

Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, has a financial policy meeting scheduled for February 9th, where it is expected to raise the key interest rate (currently at 2.50 percent) by at least 0.5 percentage points.

These meetings take place roughly two months, with further meetings scheduled for April 26th, June 29th, September 20th and November 22nd this year.

Most analysts expect the bank to increase the policy rate by 0.5 percentage points at this meeting. Handelsbanken’s chief economist Christina Nyman told TT newswire that she expects another rate increase in April to 3.25 percent, after which rates will stay at that level for some time.

Nordea’s economists have the same prognosis, while experts at Swedbank expect a further increase in June to a peak of 3.5 percent.

Danske Bank predicts that the Riksbank will raise rates in February to 3 percent total, with a possible second hike of 0.25 percentage points predicted for April, depending on inflation in the first quarter of 2023.

In terms of drops in the interest rate, it predicts that rates will remain high throughout 2023, with the Riksbank waiting until 2024 to lower the rate by a total of 1 percentage point.

New Centre Party leader

Muharrem Demirok will almost certainly be voted in as new leader of the Centre Party on February 2nd, taking over the reins from outgoing leader Annie Lööf, who has held the position since 2011.

Demirok is not formally leader yet, but he was announced as the favoured candidate of the party’s election committee in a press conference on January 11th.

In theory party members could vote for someone else at the meeting on February 2nd, but in practice it is always the candidate suggested by the election committee who wins.

Here’s more information on Demirok, as well as why the election of a new Centre Party leader is important.

Sanna Marin in Stockholm to discuss Nato

Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin will meet Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Stockholm on February 2nd to discuss, among other things, the delays in the Nato accession process for the two Nordic neighbours.

The Prime Ministers will also discuss Sweden’s EU presidency, and this will be Kristersson’s first visit from a foreign head of government since he became prime minister last year. Kristersson previously visited Marin in Helsinki in October 2022.

Valentine’s Day

February 14th is Valentine’s Day, or Alla hjärtans dag (“All hearts’ day”). Valentine’s Day is a relatively recent import to Sweden so it’s not always celebrated among couples, but make sure to check with your partner before you forego a card this year.

If you’re single and looking to find yourself a Swede, look no further – here are some of The Local’s guides from our archives to help you out:

School holiday dates for February

February school holiday dates or sportlov in Sweden vary depending on where in the country you live, but will consist of one week between week 7 and 11 (February 13th-March 12th).

Here are the dates for 2023 in some of Sweden’s major cities:

  • Stockholm: February 27th-March 5th
  • Gothenburg: February 13th-19th
  • Malmö: February 20st-26th

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For members


What changes in Sweden in April 2023?

April brings with it a new key interest rate announcement and a spring amendment budget, as well as tax rebates for some and potentially some Nato news. Here's what's changing in Sweden this month.

What changes in Sweden in April 2023?

April 26th: Central Bank makes key interest rate announcement

The Riksbank’s next long-awaited (or perhaps long-feared, for many homeowners?) key interest rate announcement will occur on April 26th at 9.30am.

It’s not yet clear what the bank will announce, but most banks seem to be in agreement, predicting that the Riksbank will further raise key interest rates at the April meeting.

SBAB bank predicted on March 24th a hike of 0.5 percentage points, to a total of 3.5 percent, while Handelsbanken predicted a hike of 0.75 percentage points in its report released two days earlier. 

 A lot has changed on the financial markets since then which could affect the decision made at the end of April, such as the buyout of struggling Swiss bank Credit Suisse by rival bank UBS and announcements by supermarket chain Lidl to lower and freeze prices in its Swedish supermarkets, which spurred market leaders Ica as well as fellow supermarket chain Coop to announce plans to do the same on March 27th.

Inflation figures for March will also be released between now and the the time the Riksbank is due to make its decision, with high figures making a key interest rate hike more likely.

April 17th: Spring amendment budget announced

The spring amendment budget (vårändringsbudgeten) is usually mainly used to tweak or add bits and pieces to Sweden’s main annual budget, which was presented in autumn 2022. This year’s spring amendment budget will be submitted to parliament on April 17th, and the government has already released some information about what will be included.

These include an extra 50 million kronor to the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) to combat increased unemployment, a proposal to raise the amount of housing benefit on offer to families with low incomes from 1,325 kronor to 2,100 kronor, as well as extend the current date of expiry from June 2023 to December 31st 2023, and an extra 10 million kronor to the Swedish Competition Authority (Konkurrensverket) to increase its analysis of the state of competition and price developments in certain sectors.

April 5th-6th: Tax rebate

Those who approve their tax declarations for 2022 digitally by March 30th with no alterations should get any tax rebate due to them paid out on April 5th or 6th.

If you opt to receive a paper declaration, the Tax Agency advises that you put this in the post by April 26th, at the latest, to make sure it arrives by the May 2nd deadline.

April 7th: Turkish parliament closes for election

Turkey’s parliament will remain open until April 7th, before closing for the country’s upcoming elections in May. This means that, if Sweden and Finland’s Nato applications are to happen before the election, they need to take place before this date.

It looks likely that Turkey will approve Finland’s application before parliament closes, with Sweden’s likely to wait until after May 14th, at the earliest.

Hungary’s parliament is scheduled to vote on Finland’s application on March 27th, with no date yet set for a vote to be held on Sweden.

April 1st: Swedish football season starts

Fans of Swedish football will be happy to know that the top-tier Allsvenskan league season starts on April 1st. The season will run until the beginning of November, with all 16 clubs playing each other twice for a total of 240 matches.

The current champions are BK Häcken from Gothenburg, and the team with the most championships since the leagues inception 99 years ago is Malmö FF, with 25 titles.

The winning team will qualify for the UEFA Champions League.