The Swedish economy is very open, as exports represent about 45% of the GDP. They are mostly related to the logging, telecommunications, automotive and pharmaceutical industries, among others. Its exports are mainly oriented toward Europe (70%). Although the Swedish krona has now returned to its pre-crisis levels, the local businesses have been hampered by its strong appreciation vis-à-vis the euro between 2009 and 2012.
Sweden posted a significant growth in GDP in 2016 (+3.4%), supported by rising private consumption and investments (+6.6%). Sweden initiated major investments in construction (public buildings, real estate…) as it benefits from low debt (41.6% of its GDP) while its population increased significantly over the past few months, driven notably by arrivals of migrants. After regaining momentum in 2014, exports kept rising in 2016 and posted a 2.3% growth rate, albeit lower than in 2015 (+5.9%).
Well capitalised, Sweden’s banking system remains highly concentrated. The four major banks own 86% of total assets, while private debt, notably of households, is at a high level (186% of GDP). Meanwhile, the country’s deficit and its public debt remain moderate in 2016. Sweden’s economy has sound basics: the country has well-developed transport and communication infrastructures and highly qualified labour force. Population and government expenses are expected to increase in the future, especially given the significant migratory flows to the country.
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