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Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday

House prices up, FM comments Nato process, young Swedes have grim outlook for future and what does a drop in coffee prices mean for inflation? Here's Sweden's news on Thursday.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Sweden's Foreign Minister Tobias Billström. File photo. Photo: Rune Stoltz Bertinussen/NTB/TT

House prices up in January

House prices increased by 1.8 percent across Sweden last month, according to new statistics from SBAB bank and Booli property site.

However, this doesn’t mean that the property crisis is over, Robert Boije, senior economist at SBAB, warned.

“We think property prices could fall as we enter spring,” he said.

In the first month of the year, apartment prices rose by 2.4 percent on average, and house prices rose 1.4 percent, SBAB and Booli’s figures show.

Boije said, however, that it’s too early to say whether this is a trend, as the property market usually sees a boost in January anyway.

“In January we have a lot of viewings after the market has usually been dead in December. So, prices rose in January, but when seasonal effects are removed, they actually dropped.”

“Therefore, it’s too early to say that this is a turning point in the market, but if prices had kept dropping in January it would have been even gloomier. This shows that the market isn’t completely dead,” he told TT newswire.

Over the last 12 months, house prices have dropped by 15 percent and apartment prices by 9 percent, according to Booli and SBAB.

Swedish vocabulary: säsongseffekten – seasonal effects

Swedish FM: ‘Religion is not part of Nato deal’

Sweden will not compromise on the right to free speech and the rule of law, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billström has said.

He made the comments in response to threats by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to refuse Sweden Nato membership due to a Koran-burning protest outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm last month.

“Religion is not part of the deal,” Billström said.

Erdoğan has stated that as long as Sweden allows Korans to be burnt and destroyed, Turkey will refuse to approve the Nordic country’s Nato application.

Billström told TT newswire that Sweden has delivered results in all parts of the agreement between Sweden, Turkey and Finland on entering Nato.

“We’re still implementing it. Religion is not part of the deal, but having said that, I understand that those on the Turkish side are upset about what was certainly legal, but not respectful.”

Swedish vocabulary: överenskommelsen – agreement/deal

Majority of young Swedes think society is heading in wrong direction

In a new study of young Swedes by analysts Ungdomsbarometern, based on a survey of over 16,000 young people aged 15-24, a majority of respondents said for the first time that society is heading in the wrong direction.

55 percent of respondents said that society is either completely or partly heading in the wrong direction, 45 percent said that the future on a societal level will be “negative” or “very negative”, but 76 percent said that they felt their own future will be “positive” or “very positive”.

In addition to this, more than half think their generation, referred to as Generation Z, will be worse off than previous generations.

“We can see an increasing, negative view of society,” said Ulrik Hoffman, CEO of Ungdomsbarometern. “We’ve seen things moving in this direction for some years, but it’s increasing in strength.”

The respondents were also concerned about crime, the economy and the climate.

Swedish vocabulary: mörk samhällssyn – a negative view of society

Coffee prices drop – but inflation not over yet

According to independent comparison site Matpriskollen, coffee prices are down at all the major supermarkets in Sweden. This applies to the majority of major brands in Sweden, which have seen a drop of around 10 kronor per kilo.

“The standard prices have dropped, and we can expect that discounts will also follow now,” said Ulf Mazur, CEO and founder of Matpriskollen.

He added that discounts on coffee have been few and far between in recent months as prices have continued to rise, but predicted “offers of three or four packs for a lower price at Easter”.

He also explained that coffee prices are only adjusted five times a year, so this drop in prices should last for a few months at least.

“Coffee varies so much on the global market, so producers have agreed to only adjust the price five times a year.”

In addition to this, coffee harvests in Brazil have been better than expected, and demand for coffee has dropped, he explained.

The drop in demand has led to supplies increasing, leading to a drop in prices for consumers.

Unfortunately, Mazur does not believe we’ll see a similar drop in prices for other food and drink items. He’s still working on the price comparison for January, but it looks like inflation’s not over yet on other goods.

“Coffee lives its own life,” he said.

Swedish vocabulary: prissänkning – drop in prices

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Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Swedish minister hits back at climate criticism, tax agency ditches plastic and prosecutors are taking a controversial case to Sweden's Supreme Court. Here's some of the latest news.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Fewer teenage mums in Sweden

More children in Sweden are now born to mothers over the age of 45 than under the age of 19, reports the TT newswire, citing figures by number crunchers Statistics Sweden.

A total of 410 children were born to teenage mothers in Sweden last year, and mothers aged 45 or older gave birth to 537 children.

In 1968, almost 8,800 children were born to a teenage mother.

Swedish vocabulary: a mother – en mor, or more commonly, en mamma

Swedish tax agency ditches plastic

This year’s paper version of Sweden’s tax declaration form will not be sent out wrapped in plastic, for environmental reasons, says the Tax Agency.

Those who want to declare their taxes via the paper form are recommended to post it by April 26th so that it reaches the Tax Agency by the final deadline of May 2nd.

It is also possible to file your taxes online, and you can do so even if you haven’t yet received the paper form. Here’s more information, and if you submit it online before March 30th without making changes, you will get any rebate you’re owed in early April.

Swedish vocabulary: tax – skatt

Swedish minister hits back at climate criticism

Climate and Environment Minister Romina Pourmokhtari hit back at criticism that the government is not doing enough to cut Sweden’s emissions of greenhouse gases.

“No one should worry about our ambition. However, you also have to adapt to reality, that the war [in Ukraine] has pushed our fuel prices up enormously in combination with a reduction obligation which has affected supply and demand,” Pourmokhtari told TT, insisting that the government was still working towards its climate targets.

Sweden aims to cut its net emissions to zero by 2045. But a new report by leading climate scientists on the IPCC states that greenhouse gases must be halved globally in seven years to stand a reasonable chance to bring global warming down to 1.5C.

“We don’t believe Sweden’s climate target is in line with the 1.5C target,” TT quoted David Mjureke, an expert for the Swedish branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), as saying. “But what we’re seeing from the government is instead policies that increase emissions and risk making it impossible to reach the targets.”

Swedish vocabulary: greenhouse gas – växthusgas

Prosecutors take ‘snippa’ case to Sweden’s top court

Swedish prosecutors are taking to the Supreme Court an appeals court’s controversial decision to clear a man of raping a 10-year-old girl, after it could not confirm whether the girl’s use of the word snippa referred to the internal or external female genitals.

They want the Supreme Court – the top court in Sweden – to dig into the responsibility of a court to clarify the terms that are used, especially when it comes to children. Critics have argued that if the judges were confused over the meaning of the word snippa, they should have gone to greater lengths to seek clarity.

Prosecutors also want the Supreme Court to comment on the responsibility of a court to bring up alternative charges even if the prosecutor hasn’t. The man was cleared of rape because it could not be established whether or not he had penetrated the girl with his finger. Critics have said it is possible he could have been convicted of a lower-degree offence such as sexual molestation if he had been charged with that as an alternative.

The Supreme Court has not yet said whether it will try the case.

Swedish vocabulary: Supreme Court – Högsta domstolen