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Nov 9, 2014

Sweden grapples with massive household debt as rates hit zero

STOCKHOLM, Nov 9 (Reuters) – Sweden’s new centre-left
government and its financial authorities are under huge pressure
when they meet on Tuesday to tackle a mountain of household debt
that is casting a long shadow over one of Europe’s few economic
bright spots.

Having slashed rates to zero to fight the risk of deflation,
top Swedish officials are now in a quandary over how to rein in
borrowing and house price rises without sending the real estate
market into a downward spiral.

Oct 30, 2014

Sweden recognizes Palestinian state, hopes will revive peace process

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – The Swedish government officially recognized the state of Palestine on Thursday, the first Western European country to do so, reflecting growing international exasperation over the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom told reporters her government hoped it would bring a new dynamic to the situation.

Oct 29, 2014

Riksbank has no safety margin as Sweden flirts with deflation

STOCKHOLM, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Sweden’s central bank believes
it can avoid Japan’s deflationary fate after cutting interest
rates to zero; critics say it no longer has any safety margin
should a shock hit the economy, and even compare its record with
U.S. policy mistakes of the 1930s.

Defying conventional economics, Sweden is enjoying one of
the healthiest growth rates in Europe even though the consumer
price index has been flat or fallen in every month but one this
year.

Oct 28, 2014

Nordic, Baltic states face ‘new normal’ of Russian military threat

OSLO/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Fears of Russia re-asserting its Cold War dominance in the Baltic Sea are forcing countries there to re-think their defenses, prioritizing military spending at home and reducing participation in far-flung U.N. or U.S.-led missions.

Sweden’s fruitless search for a submarine — dubbed by locals “The Hunt for Reds in October” — and Russian violations of airspace are seen as elements of what one defense minister called a ‘hybrid warfare’, where fear and propaganda are deployed to keep countries on their toes.

Oct 28, 2014

Swedish central bank cuts interest rate to zero to fight deflation risk

STOCKHOLM, Oct 28 (Reuters) – Sweden’s central bank cut
interest rates more than expected to zero on Tuesday to ward off
prolonged deflation risk, and said it would delay tightening
policy until the middle of 2016.

Like the neighbouring euro zone, Sweden is grappling with
persistently low inflation and wants to avoid slipping into a
deflation spiral that would hit the economy as falling prices
would encourage consumers to delay purchases.

Oct 22, 2014

Farce, defense cuts highlight hard task in Sweden submarine hunt

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – With a depleted military lacking anti-submarine helicopters and intelligence so far based on civilian sightings, Sweden’s hunt for a supposed U-boat intruder has an element of farce pointing to the difficulty of wrapping up the mission successfully.

More than 200 troops, stealth ships and helicopters have scoured waters off Stockholm since Friday in Sweden’s biggest military mobilization since the Cold War, after reports of foreign “underwater activity” – suspected to be a Russian sub.

Oct 20, 2014

Swedish ‘Cold War’ thriller exposes Baltic Sea nerves over Russia

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – It has all the makings of a Cold War thriller — an emergency military deployment with stealth ships and helicopters hunting for a foreign submarine in the Stockholm archipelago. Grainy photographs of a mysterious vessel. Sightings of a black-clad man wading in shallow coastal waters.

Whether it was caused by paranoia or a secret naval mission, Sweden’s biggest military mobilization since the Cold War over the last three days has underscored growing concerns about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions in the Baltic Sea region.

Oct 13, 2014

Work on ‘taming’ firms wins Frenchman economics Nobel

STOCKHOLM/PARIS (Reuters) – French economist Jean Tirole won the 2014 Nobel Prize for economics for work that has shed light on how governments can “tame” the big businesses that dominate once public monopolies like railways, highways and telecommunications.

“This year’s prize in economic sciences is about taming powerful firms,” Staffan Normark, Permanent Secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, told a news conference after awarding the 8 million Swedish crown ($1.1 million) prize.

Oct 7, 2014

Swedish central banker Ekholm to join government, crown firms

STOCKHOLM, Oct 6 (Reuters) – Dovish Swedish central banker
Karolina Ekholm will leave the Riksbank to join the government
as a state secretary, the central bank said on Tuesday,
confirming a report which helped to send the crown to a 3-1/2
month high against the euro.

Ekholm has been one of the most consistently dovish members
of the Riksbank’s six person rate-setting executive board and
the crown strengthened around 0.2 percent to 9.065 to the euro
on the news of her departure.

Sep 15, 2014

Sweden’s new leader reaches out to foes after shock far-right gains

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden’s center-left leader began efforts to forge a minority government by reaching out to his defeated center-right foes on Monday, a day after winning an election marked by big gains for an anti-immigrant party that now holds the balance of power.

Stefan Lofven’s Social Democrats and two other left-leaning parties garnered more votes than the outgoing center-right Alliance of Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt in Sunday’s election but fell short of a parliamentary majority.