major macro economic indicators
|GDP growth (%)||2,3||3,9||3,4||2,7|
|Inflation (yearly average) (%)||0,2||0,7||1,1||1,5|
|Budget balance (% GDP)||-1,0||0,1||-0,1||-0,2|
|Current account balance (% GDP)||4,8||5,3||5,0||5,1|
|Public debt (% GDP)||44,7||43,4||42,6||41,2|
- Open, diversified and competitive economy
- Specialisation in high-tech products and the green economy
- Sound public finances
- Increasingly dynamic demographics
- Tensions on the real estate market
- Substantial household debt
- Highly concentrated banking sector
Strong growth supported by domestic demand
In 2017, activity is expected to slightly slow, due to less dynamic demand than in 2016. Private consumption will be affected by slower wage growth and the decline in unemployment (6.4% in November 2016). However, this will remain high due to the continuation of the Riskbank's (Central Bank) accommodative monetary policy as well as a significant immigration. The country has welcomed a large number of migrants (about 300,000) since 2015, although migration policy will be more restrictive in 2017. However, integrating these migrants in the labour market is likely to take some time, which will limit the decline in unemployment, especially among non-European and low-skilled workers. Moreover, the rise in property prices should be more moderate than before, because of the Government's desire to reduce household debt levels (175% of gross disposable income) by introducing new rules to limit mortgage loans.
Overall investment is expected to continue to grow in 2017, although more moderately than in 2016 (6.6%). Residential investment will be slightly less dynamic (while remaining firm), due to a shortage of labour, which will hamper the construction sector, while the automotive and pharmaceutical sectors will fare better.
Meanwhile, the contribution of foreign trade to growth is projected to remain neutral in 2017.
Despite a further depreciation of the krona in 2016, which pushed up the price of imported goods, the Central Bank is worried about the weakness of inflation. As a result, the Riskbank may ease its monetary policy still further (deposit interest rate in November of -0.5%), in order to bring inflation gradually back close to its target (2%).
Large current account surpluses and a balanced budget
Fiscal policy will remain relatively neutral due to the favourable economic climate, which is expected to keep the budget in balance in 2017 and slightly reduce the public debt. Nevertheless, the 2017 budget contains a number of measures aimed at supporting domestic demand. The drop in the number of migrants entering the country in 2017 will help to target spending better on facilitating their integration, without, however, impacting on the public finances.
This budget also provides for higher spending on education, improving access to the internet in rural areas as well promoting research and innovation. This moderate increase in government spending (of the order of USD 3 billion) will be offset by higher tax receipts, particularly from corporation tax and higher taxes on alcohol and fuel. In addition, the Government's aim of dispensing totally with fossil fuels by 2030 is being delivered through incentives to recycle and invest in renewable energy. It is worth noting that the share of the latter in the supply of energy is among the highest in the OECD.
The current account surplus is also set to remain stable in 2017, at a very comfortable level. Imports will still be firm, buoyed by growing domestic demand, but will, nonetheless, be offset by stronger exports, due to the moderate growth in demand from the country's main trading partners. However, a slowdown in demand from the United Kingdom (3rd largest trading partner), after Brexit, could affect the trade balance through a decline in exports.
The Swedish banking sector is well capitalised but highly concentrated: the country's four major banks hold about 75% of assets, which represents 255% of GDP. The banking system will therefore present a high risk as household debt is high and property prices are still rising (danger of the bubble bursting).
A coalition government weakened by the rise of the far-right party
Despite a favourable economic climate, the centre-left coalition is increasingly discredited. The Sweden Anti-Immigration Party has climbed in the polls by criticizing the current government's immigration policy. They also want a referendum, similar to that of the United Kingdom, on getting Sweden out of the European Union. However, this party remains fairly isolated in the political landscape and a poll in October 2016 suggests that Swedes are opposed to a withdrawal from the EU. The coalition government could, therefore, stay in place until the next parliamentary elections due to be held in September 2018.
The business climate ill remain very favourable in this country, which is ranked 9th in the latest World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index.
Last update : January 2017
Bills of exchange and promissory notes are neither widely used nor recommended as they must meet a number of formal requirements in order to be valid.
Just as the rules for issuing cheques have become more flexible, so the sanctions for issuers of uncovered cheques have been relaxed over the years. Moreover, the use of cheques has been gradually declining in favour of bank cards.
Conversely, use of the SWIFT electronic network by Swedish banks provides a secure, efficient, and fairly cheap domestic and international fund-transfer service. However, as payment is dependent on the buyer’s good faith, sellers are advised to take great care to ensure that their bank account details are correct if they wish to receive timely payment.
Direct debits represent about 10 percent of non-cash payments inSwedenand are quickly growing in popularity. There are two types of direct debit inSweden: Autogiro Foretag (AGF) for B2B transactions, and Autogiro Privat (AGP) for B2C payments. They can both be used for one-time or recurring payments.
As a rule, the collection process begins with the debtor being sent a summons to by pay by registered mail demanding payment, within eight to ten days, of the principal amount together with any contractually agreed penalty interest.
Where there is no specific interest clause in the contract, the rate of interest applicable since 1st July 2002 is the six-monthly benchmark rate (referensräntan) of the Central Bank ofSweden (Sveriges Riksbank), plus 8 percentage points.
Under the Swedish Interest Act (räntelag, 1975, last amended in 2013), interest starts to accrue immediately from the due date or 30 days from a demand of payment has been sent to the debtor.
Where claims meet some basic requirements; it is overdue and mediation has been allowable, creditors can obtain an injunction to pay (Betalningsföreläggande) by summary proceedings trough the Enforcement Service. The application has to be made in writing and clearly express the grounds of the claim. No further proofs need to be submitted.
This Enforcement Authority (Kronofogdemyndigheten) orders the debtor to respond within ten days to two weeks. If the debtor fails to reply in time or acknowledges the debt a verdict will be rendered in accordance with the original application.
While formal, this system offers a relatively straightforward and quick remedy in respect of undisputed claims and has greatly freed up the courts. Creditors are not required to engage a lawyer but, in some circumstances, would be well advised to do so. On average the process takes two months from application to decision. The decision is immediately enforceable.
If the debtor contests the debt the creditor has the decision of either turning to the District Court (the first instance, Tingsrätten) or to terminate the process.
Proceedings involve a preliminary hearing in which the judge attempts to reconcile the parties after examining their case documents, evidence and arguments. It is up to the parties themselves to decide what proof they intend to submit and what facts they intend to bring to bear in their favour.
If the dispute remains unresolved, the proceedings continue with written submissions and oral arguments until the main hearing, where the accent is on counsels' pleadings (defence and prosecution) and examination of witnesses' testimonies.
In accordance with the “Principle of Immediateness”, the court bases its decision exclusively on the evidence presented at the trial. Barring exceptional circumstances, the judgement is customarily issued within two weeks thereafter.
As a general rule, the code of civil procedure requires the losing party to bear all legal costs considered reasonable as well as the attorney fees incurred by the winning party, beyond a given threshold claim amount (about 22,250 SEK, approximately 2,585 €).
It takes up to twelve months (in exceptional cases more) to obtain a writ of execution in first instance, bearing in mind that there is a widespread tendency inSwedento appeal against judgements. The Government’s target for 2013 is, however, that 75% of the civil cases at district court level shall be determined within seven months.
A reform of the civil procedure, 1st November 2008, was intended to modernise the procedural rules via better use during the trial of modern technology and greater flexibility in investigating the case.