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

More than 5,000 people notified of layoffs in Sweden, Americans in Sweden warned of terror threat in wake of Koran burning, and the Swedish Migration Agency presents a new forecast for 2023. Here's the latest news.

Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
The Swedish Public Employment Service has released new statistics about job cuts. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

More than 5,000 warned of layoffs in Sweden last month

A total of 5,328 people were affected by potential layoffs in Sweden in January, according to preliminary statistics by the Public Employment Service.

Swedish law states that employers in most cases have to first give employees and the service notice that there may be layoffs, so not all of those people will necessarily lose their jobs. Here’s a link to The Local’s guide to what happens if you lose your job in Sweden.

In January last year, the corresponding figure was just over 1,400 people, but it has been increasing every month since, writes Swedish news agency TT.

Swedish vocabulary: a notice (when notifying staff that they may be laid off, but they could still end up keeping their jobs or get a new job at the same company) – ett varsel

US citizens in Sweden warned of terror attack in wake of Koran burnings

In a new notice, the US embassy warns its citizens in Sweden of possible terrorist attacks in retaliation of recent Koran burning incidents in Europe.

In Sweden, a far-right extremist last month burned the Koran outside the Turkish embassy, causing Turkey to suspend Nato talks with Sweden and Finland, and causing outrage in many Muslim countries.

The notice advises US citizens to “use caution” in busy public venues, diplomatic facilities and gathering sites such as places of worship. Sweden has not changed its terror threat level, which remains at level three on a scale from one to five.

Swedish vocabulary: a terror threat level – en terrorhotnivå

Swedish Migration Agency’s new forecast for 2023

The Migration Agency estimates that 16,000 people will seek asylum in Sweden in 2023, and 15,000 Ukrainians will seek protection. However, it adds that the number of Ukrainian arrivals could vary from 8,000 to 100,000 depending on how the war develops.

It also believes that around 80,000 people will apply for Swedish citizenship this year, and that the agency will receive 60,000 work permit-related first-time applications (this also includes for example family members of work permit applicants and job hunters).

Swedish vocabulary: a refugee – en flykting

Cost of living: How food prices rose in Sweden in early 2023

The increase in food prices in January was 1.4 percent – one of the largest increases reported since food prices started rising almost a year ago, according to independent comparison site Matpriskollen.

In January, the price of groceries increased 1.3 percent on December, with the price of food specifically increasing by 1.4 percent. Food prices have now gone up 16.3 percent in the last 12 months. Read more in The Local’s article.

Swedish vocabulary: food prices – matpriser

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

Lidl freezes food prices, Stockholmers are getting healthier (but not all Stockholmers) and a bank warns your mortage rate could see a nasty increase. Here's the latest news.

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

Stockholmers healthier – but not all Stockholmers

Stockholmers live longer, smoke less and fewer are dying in heart attacks, stroke and cancer, according to a new public health study by the regional authority.

Twenty years ago, five times as many Stockholmers died in a heart attack and three times as many died of strokes. Seven out of ten cancer patients today recover.

But the report, cited by the TT newswire, warns of large socio-economic health gaps. Stockholmers who continued studying after high school enjoy five and a half times longer life expectancy than those of their fellow residents who never graduated.

Swedish vocabulary: public health – folkhälsa

Lidl to cut and freeze food prices next week

Grocery chain Lidl has announced that it will on Monday lower and freeze the price on more than a hundred items, for example coffee, milk and meat, for at least two months.

Prices will on average be cut 11 percent, according to Lidl.

“We have chosen a large number of popular products which we will give a lower standard price. These measures will cost money, but we are prepared to face that cost and do what it takes to support Swedish households in these times of financial challenges,” Lidl’s Sweden chief Jakob Josefsson said in a press statement.

Households’ grocery bills are soaring in Sweden, as The Local has previously reported. Prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages last month rose 21 percent year-on-year, the biggest increase since the 1950s, eclipsing even the high-inflation years of the 70s.

“I hope the large food giants will follow [Lidl’s] example,” tweeted Sweden’s Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson.

Swedish vocabulary: food – mat

Sweden’s parliament votes by huge majority in favour of Nato

Sweden’s parliament voted to ratify the country’s accession to Nato, with its historic bill to end non-alignment passing with a margin of 269 to 37.

During the six-hour debate over the bill, Sweden’s foreign minister, Tobias Billström, said he was convinced that the country’s membership would be ratified by Turkey and Hungary, the two hold-outs in the 30-member defence alliance, before the summit due to be held in Vilnius in the second week of July.

Only two of the eight parties in the Swedish parliament voted against the bill, the Left Party and the Green Party, with their MPs providing all of the 37 “no” votes. A further 43 MPs were absent.

Swedish vocabulary: a bill – ett lagförslag

‘New era’: Swedish bank warns mortgage interest rate could hit five percent

A new property report from Swedish bank Handelsbanken predicts that property prices will continue to fall throughout the spring as the average interest rate on mortgages rises to over five percent.

“We don’t see any indications that Swedish inflation is on its way down, rather the opposite, and we believe the risk of financial instability currently weighs heavier for the central bank,” Handelsbanken’s head economist, Christina Nyman, said.

The bank predicts that Sweden’s central bank will raise key interest rates by 0.75 percentage points in April and 0.5 percentage points in June, to a total of 4.25 percent, and the knock-on mortgage interest rate for consumers is likely to be higher than that.

“Given our prognosis of the central bank’s key interest rate, the average variable rates offered by banks on mortgages could rise over five percent over the year, later dropping somewhat,” said Nyman.

Swedish vocabulary: a mortgage – ett bostadslån