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flag Sweden Sweden: Economic and Political Outline

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline

 

Economic Indicators

Highly sensitive to external shocks due to its heavy dependency on international trade, the Swedish economy contracted following the global financial crisis and later the crisis in the eurozone. In 2013, growth was sluggish (around 0.9%) and should remain weak in 2014 since the economic context is still uncertain.

Unlike its European neighbors, Sweden has sound public finances. The public debt amounts to about a third of GDP, inflation is stable, the banking sector is well capitalized and has been little exposed to the sovereign risk of southern Europe. The year 2013 was a transitional year: growth stalled and industrial production fell by 2.5%. In order to prevent a financial bubble and curb debt, efforts have been made to regulate lending. The 2014 budget aims to support economic growth and employment, strenghten student knowledge and skills, increase business competitiveness, reinformce social cohesion and the well-being of inhabitants, protect the environment and climate. It includes measures to reduce taxation in order to boost household consumption. A ministerial law is currently being debated by the Parliament to give priority to the mining industries at the expense of the tourism sector and environmental concerns. as well as the profits of private companies delivering public services funded by taxpayers.

Sweden has one of the highest standards of living in the world. However, unemployment has reached its historical maximum (8.1%). More than one in five people in the 15-24 age group is unemployed. In late 2012, almost 40% of the unemployed were receiving no benefits.

 
Main Indicators 20112012201320142015 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 536.00523.94558.95559.11e572.69
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 2.90.91.6e2.12.7
GDP per Capita (USD) 56,52354,8295857,55758,472
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -0.2-0.4-0.9-1.6e-0.6
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 38.738.340.542.241.3
Inflation Rate (%) 3.00.9-0.00.11.4
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force) 7.88.08.08.07.8
Current Account (billions USD) 32.8431.3634.5431.76e34.89
Current Account (in % of GDP) 6.16.06.25.7e6.1

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database , Last Available Data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

Agriculture represents less of 2% of the GDP. The main agricultural products are cereals, dairy products, meat, wood and potatoes. Sweden's harvests make it virtually self-sufficient in terms of food. The country has a wealth of natural resources: forests, iron, lead, copper, zinc and hydroelectric energy.
The industrial sector contributes to slightly over a quarter of the GDP. It is dominated by groups such as Volvo, Saab, Ericsson, ABB, AstraZeneca, Electrolux, Ikea, H&M, etc. Sweden's main manufacturing activities are processing wood, paper, electronic equipment, industrial food processing, pharmaceutical products, etc. The new technologies and biotechnologies sectors are of significant importance in the economy.
The tertiary sector employs more than three quarters of the active workforce, it contributes more than 70% of the GDP and is maintained by telecommunications and IT equipment.

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 2.0 19.5 77.9
Value Added (in % of GDP) 1.4 25.9 72.7
Value Added (Annual % Change) 2.7 -0.8 2.3

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

 
 
 
Monetary Indicators 20092010201120122013
Swedish Krona (SEK) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 7.657.216.496.786.51

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

 
 

Learn more about Market Analyses about Sweden on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
73.1/100
Position:
Mostly Free
World Rank:
20/178
Regional Rank:
10/43

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2014 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation

 

Business environment ranking

Definition:

The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

Score:
8.26
World Rank:
6/82

Source: The Economist - Business Environment Rankings 2014-2018

 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

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Foreign Trade in Figures

Sweden is very open to foreign trade, which represents more than 90% of the GDP. The EU is reinforcing its position as primary partner. In general, half the exports are destined for the EU and the most of imports come from there. Trade with neighboring Northern Baltic countries and Russia has increased rapidly, while exports to China and India show a substantial drop. Trade in motor vehicles and metals is very dynamic. The government supports Swedish companies' activity in strategic markets.

The Swedish trade balance is positive and should remain so, although the uncertain climate of international trade. In 2013, exports of goods decreased by 7% on the previous year and imports dropped by 6%, reducing the trade surplus from 59 billion SEK in 2012 to 51 billion in 2013. The country must deal with its very strong currency which puts Swedish exports at a disadvantage, plus a drop in export to the U.S. and Europe, whose economies are experiencing difficulties. 

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20092010201120122013
Imports of Goods (million USD) 120,077148,946176,606162,575158,372
Exports of Goods (million USD) 130,958158,549187,027172,424167,497
Imports of Services (million USD) 45,30946,65554,11354,19557,437
Exports of Services (million USD) 58,55660,60870,53970,57074,975
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -14.112.87.30.5-0.8
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -14.511.96.11.0-0.5
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 38.740.742.041.438.9
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 44.546.246.746.343.8
Trade Balance (million USD) 18,24619,14020,24320,51621,712
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 23,47626,06728,53427,80728,628
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 83.186.988.787.782.7

Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank , Last Available Data

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2013
Norway 10.5%
Germany 9.7%
Finland 7.0%
Denmark 6.7%
United Kingdom 6.4%
See More Countries 59.7%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2013
Germany 17.4%
Norway 8.9%
Denmark 8.1%
Netherlands 7.7%
United Kingdom 6.0%
See More Countries 51.8%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 
 

Main Products

- bn USD of products exported in 2013
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 6.5%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 3.8%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 3.4%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 3.3%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line...Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 2.9%
See More Products 80.3%
- bn USD of products imported in 2013
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 8.0%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 4.8%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 4.6%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 3.2%
Automatic data processing machines and units...Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 2.9%
See More Products 76.5%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 
See More Products
More imports (Intracen Data)
More exports (Intracen Data)
 
 
 

Main Services

- bn USD of services exported in 2011
37.58%
18.46%
15.12%
11.72%
8.36%
2.92%
2.04%
1.22%
1.22%
0.83%
0.54%
- bn USD of services imported in 2011
36.08%
28.75%
14.84%
6.25%
4.42%
3.37%
3.33%
1.12%
0.79%
0.68%
0.38%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministries
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications
Ministry of Agriculture
Statistical Office
Statistics Sweden
Central Bank
Riksbank
Stock Exchange
Stockholm Stock Exchange
Search Engines
Yahoo Sweden
AltaVista.se
Evreka
Economic Portals
Einnews Sweden

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Political Outline

Executive Power
The King is the Head of State. The monarchy is hereditary. The King only has a ceremonial role. After a general election, the Prime Minister is first of all nominated by the parliamentary spokesperson, before being confirmed by the Parliament, for a four year term. The King plays no role in this process. The Prime Minister is the head of the government and he holds the executive power. The Council of Ministers is nominated by the Prime Minister, then submitted to the approval of Parliament.
Legislative Power
The Swedish legislative power is unicameral. The Parliament, called Riksdag, has 349 seats and its members are elected by universal suffrage on the basis of proportional representation for a four year term. The executive branch of government depends on the support of Parliament, often expressed by a vote of confidence. The Prime Minister can dissolve Parliament, even after receiving a vote of no confidence, unless elections took place less than three months before. Legislative power belongs both to the government and to Parliament. Swedish citizens enjoy considerable political rights.
Main Political Parties
Sweden has a multi-party system in which no party can take power by itself. That is why parties have to come to an agreement to form coalition governments. The main political parties in the country are:
- The SAP (Swedish Social Democratic Party) – the social democratic party, its electoral base is among blue collar workers, employees in the public sector and immigrants;
- The Centre Party, social liberals who concentrate on issues concerning agriculture, the environment and the countryside;
- The Christian Democratic Party, which is concerned with elderly people and family values;
- The Green Party, the ecological party which attracts young people and is opposed to membership of the EU;
- The Left Party - the socialist and feminist party, opposed to privatization and membership of the EU;
- The Liberal Party, advocates social liberalism and is considered to be centre right;
- The Moderate Party, the liberal conservative party.
Current Political Leaders
King: CARL XVI GUSTAF (since September 1973) – hereditary.
Prime Minister (incoming): Fredrik REINFELDT (since October 2006) – Modern Party, head of a coalition with the Centre Party, the Liberal Party and the Christian Democrats.
Next Election Dates
Parliamentary elections: September 2014
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures the violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire sent to partner organizations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and activists of human rights, including the main criteria - 44 in total - to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
10/180
Evolution:
same place compared to 2013

Source: Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2014, Reporters Without Borders

 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Free
Political Freedom:
1/7

Map of freedom 2014
Source: Freedom House

 

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Last Updates: October 2014