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

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Today in Sweden: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Kiruna hasn't seen this much snow in September for at least a century. Photo: Kenneth Paulsson/TT

Snow chaos as Sweden's northernmost city sets new record, gaming company replaces half its staff with AI, electricity is almost free right now, and much more in Sweden's news on Thursday.


Kiruna breaks early-season snow record

An early snowstorm caused problems for public transport, garbage collection and newspaper deliveries in parts of northern Sweden, with the country's northernmost city, Kiruna, recording a new snow record for the month of September. 

The snow cover in Kiruna was 38 centimetres deep on Wednesday morning, according to weather agency SMHI. They began keeping records in 1905 and the previous snow depth record for September dates back all the way to September 20th, 1932.

Swedish vocabulary: snow – snö

Sweden braces for 'economic winter' as government unveils cautious budget

Sweden is heading for a tough autumn with falling GDP and the inflation target a long way off, Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson indicated as she presented what she called a "restrained" budget bill.

“Sweden is still in an economic winter and in a difficult security situation. The government prioritises fighting inflation and supporting households and welfare,” said Svantesson in a press release as she kept the government’s budget reforms down to 39 billion kronor (roughly $3.5 billion).


She said she expects Sweden's economic downturn to last throughout 2024, with the inflation rate according to the consumer price index with interest rates removed (CPIF) forecast to fall from 6 percent this year to 2.7 percent next year, hitting the 2 percent target only in 2025.

The broader CPI inflation rate is expected to fall from 8.7 percent this year, to 4 percent next year and 1.7 percent in 2025, according to the government’s estimates, and Sweden's total public finances are expected to show a deficit for the next three years, 2023-2025.

Swedish vocabulary: restrained – återhållsam


Electricity almost free for third day in a row

For the third day in a row, electricity prices in Sweden were almost free – at least without factoring in taxes or network fees.

On Thursday, prices were set at 1.7 öre per kilowatt hour (kWh) across the country. On Wednesday, the price was between 2 and 3 öre in all four energy price zones, and it was just 0.1 öre on Tuesday.

The unusually cheap energy is due to windy weather in Sweden, Denmark and Germany, which has been good for wind power production.

Swedish vocabulary: windy weather – blåsigt väder 


New budget will lead to major emission increases

The government has admitted in its own budget that carbon dioxide emissions will increase by between 6 and 10 million tonnes between now and 2030.

It has budgeted 4 billion kronor to combat climate change, alongside a 6.5 billion kronor budget for cutting tax on fossil fuels.

Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson described the government's climate policy as "ambitious and effective".

"We are continuing our restructuring of climate policy towards what is effective and what works, as well as what creates a situation for growth," she said.

The government believes that the budget for 2024 will lead to increased emissions in 2024 and 2025, with emissions decreasing thereafter.

Swedish vocabulary: million – miljon, billion – miljard

Waiting times at hospital emergency departments continue to rise

Patients at hospital emergency departments are having to wait longer for treatment across the country. Last year, half of all visits lasted longer than four hours, according to statistics from the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), despite the total number of patients decreasing in the last two years.

In total, there were 1.8 million visits to emergency departments across Sweden last year, six percent less than the average number of visits each year between 2016 and 2019.

In general, women wait longer for treatment than men, with half of all women aged 80 or older waiting longer than five hours.

The Stockholm, Uppsala and Skåne regions all had the longest waiting times, where half of all visits took over five hours.

Kalmar had the shortest waiting times, with half of all visits lasting less than three hours and ten minutes.

Swedish vocabulary: waiting time – väntetid

Swedish gaming company replaces half its staff with AI

Gothenburg-based gaming company Mindark is letting almost half of its staff go, reports trade union magazine Kollega. Instead, the company will invest in training AI to build its gaming worlds. In total, 25 jobs are set to be replaced by AI. 

The use of artificial intelligence is meant to streamline the company's work and enable it to resume paying out dividends to shareholders, Mindark CEO Henrik Nel Jerkrot wrote in an email to shareholders in mid-August, reports Kollega.

Swedish vocabulary: a gaming company – ett spelföretag


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