2015-08-26

Swedish Economy August 2015

Tighter budgets as economy strengthens

The Swedish economy will grow healthily in the coming years, driven by export growth and higher house-hold consumption. As the economy strengthens, fiscal policy will need to be tightened to bring public fi-nances into balance. This will mean spending cuts and/or tax increases in the coming years, even with a switch to a balanced-budget target.

The Swedish economy will continue to recover, with GDP growing by around 3 per cent both this year and next. The biggest contribution to GDP growth will come from exports, which are set to climb at 4-5 per cent in the coming years, buoyed by an investment-led economic recovery in the OECD countries and a weak krona.

This outlook is supported by the latest Business Tendency Survey, which shows that sentiment in the manufacturing sector is above the historical average.

Recent years´ fiscal stimuli — primarily tax reductions — have helped prop up resource utilisation. As the economic climate improves, it will be natural for these stimuli to be phased out and for fiscal policy to compensate for the deficits that have arisen.

Given the government´s principle of fully funded reforms, public finances will remain in deficit until 2018. Fiscal space will therefore be non-existent, even with a switch to a balanced-budget target for public finances. An unchanged public sector commitment in 2016-2019 will require taxes to be raised by around SEK 100 billion.

After weak employment growth over the summer, the number of vacancies and firms´ recruitment plans suggest that employment will rise more quickly during the rest of the year. While employment is set to grow at a stable rate, the labour force will expand considerably due to high immigration.

New immigrants have a weak position in the labour market, however, and are harder to match to vacant jobs. This is among the reasons why unemployment will fall only slowly and will still be around 7 per cent in 2017.

Inflation To Rise With Support From Monetary Policy

The krona´s depreciation over the past year is one reason why inflation has bottomed out and is now on the way up. The NIER nevertheless expects inflation to rise more slowly than in the Riksbank´s forecast. The Riksbank is therefore expected to reduce the repo rate further to —0.45 per cent in December in a bid to get inflation and inflation expectations to come up more quickly. The repo rate is then assumed to remain at this level until the end of 2016, when a series of rate increases will commence.

Selected Indicators

 

2013

 

2014

 

2015

 

2016

 

2017

 

2018

 

2019

 

GDP, market prices

1.3

2.3

3.0

3.1

2.6

2.1

1.6

GDP, calendar-adjusted

1.3

2.4

2.7

2.8

2.9

2.2

1.6

Global GDP

3.3

3.5

3.4

3.8

4.0

4.0

3.9

Current account (1)

6.9

6.2

7.2

6.9

6.5

6.2

6.0

Hours worked (2)

0.3

1.8

1.2

1.7

1.7

1.2

0.4

Employment

1.0

1.4

1.1

1.4

1.6

1.2

0.4

Unemployment (3)

8.0

7.9

7.7

7.5

7.0

6.6

6.8

Labour market gap (4)

–1.9

–1.3

–1.5

–0.9

–0.1

0.3

0.1

Output gap (5)

–2.3

–1.7

–1.5

–0.7

0.1

0.4

0.1

Hourly earnings (6)

2.5

2.8

2.5

3.0

3.1

3.2

3.3

Hourly labour cost (2)

2.1

1.8

2.8

3.7

3.3

3.2

3.3

Productivity (2)

0.9

0.6

1.5

1.2

1.1

1.0

1.2

CPI

0.0

–0.2

0.1

1.0

2.2

3.1

3.0

CPIF

0.9

0.5

0.9

1.6

1.7

2.1

2.3

Repo rate (7, 8)

0.75

0.00

–0.45

–0.25

0.75

1.25

1.75

Ten-year government bond rate (7)

2.1

1.7

0.7

1.4

2.3

3.1

3.8

Effective krona exhange rate index (KIX) (9)

103.0

106.8

112.9

111.0

108.2

105.4

102.5

General government net lending1

–1.4

–1.9

–1.5

–1.0

–0.5

–0.1

0.2

Structural net lending (10)

–0.8

–1.4

–0.8

–0.5

–0.5

–0.3

0.2

General government consolidated gross debt (Maastricht debt) (1)

38.7

43.8

43.7

42.8

42.3

41.6

40.6

Percentage changes unless otherwise stated

Sources: Statistics Sweden, National Mediation Office and NIER.
Footnotes:

  1. Percent of GDP
  2. Calendar-adjusted
  3. Percent of labour force
  4. Difference between actual and potential hours worked as percent of potential hours worked
  5. Difference between actual and potential GDP as percentage of potential GDP
  6. According to Short-term Wage Statistics
  7. Percent
  8. At year-end
  9. Index 1992-11-18=100
  10. Percent of potential GDP

Forecast Data Sets, August 2015

Subscribe to our newsletters

Email

Newsletters:
Current reports on the economy
Working Papers