Sweden Remains Upbeat on Economy
09/20/2012| 03:05am US/Eastern
Sweden's finance ministry stuck with some fairly upbeat growth forecasts for the years ahead Thursday, saying the economy has weathered the debt crisis in Europe better than many others in the region.
The finance ministry still expects Sweden's gross domestic product to grow 1.6% in 2012, unchanged from its estimate published late August. The rate of growth is then set to rise sharply to 2.7% in 2013 and 3.7% in 2014, according to the ministry, again reiterating earlier expectations.
"The Swedish economy has developed relatively strongly compared with most [European Union] countries during the first half of 2012," the ministry said in a statement released alongside its budget proposal for 2013. "We can now use our strength, with Swedish public finances being among the strongest in the EU, to invest in the future," the Finance Minister Anders Borg said.
Mr. Borg has flagged that he plans to spend a total of 23 billion Swedish kronor ($3.5 billion), or 0.7% of GDP, on measures to stimulate the economy, including increased spending on research and infrastructure projects and a cut to corporate tax.
The growth forecasts make Mr. Borg's department more optimistic than many others in the public and private sector. The central bank, the Riksbank, said earlier in September while it expects 1.5% output growth this year and expects just 1.9% growth in 2013.
Economists at Nordea bank expect just 1.8% growth next year.
Sweden's economy has shown itself resilient to the debt crisis besetting much of the rest of Europe and the economy has posted steady growth over recent months. But the export-dependent Nordic state is sensitive to the slow down in the euro zone.
Sweden derives about half of its GDP from exports and about 35% of goods shipped from its borders go to the beleaguered currency union.
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