An attack on the free market

The Swedish Federation of Business Owners (Företagarna) declares that the terror attacks in Paris may lead to a more closed Europe. “This kind of senseless attack aims to alarm open democracy and the free market,” says Günther Mårder, CEO of Företagarna.
CEO of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) also fears that if borders become closed that trade between countries will suffer. “When people are free to move across borders this creates welfare,” says Jens Spendrup.

Trend reversal in home prices

Over the last month, home prices in Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg have remained stable, show new figures from Svensk Mäklarstatistik, a firm which analyses real estate statistics.
“After many months of a constant escalation in home prices, we’re now seeing several key markets show no development whatsoever,” says Per-Arne Sandgren, Mäklarstatistik’s head analyst, who calls it a trend reversal, and suggests it could be the beginning of a slowdown in property prices.

Kockums on submarines, Australia and Japan

Gunnar Wieslander, new chief executive of shipyard Kockums AB, tells DI the shipyard is about to launch the A26 submarine for export, and is aiming for contracts with the Netherlands, Norway and Poland. He is also convinced that there will be business opportunities with Australia.
Kockums’ boss also says he would like to strengthen ties with Japan’s shipbuilding industry, and is full of praise over ongoing cooperation with Kawasaki and JMU. He confirms that talks with the Japanese are ongoing, but falls short of commenting on whether Japan, which is offering its submarine technology Soryu to Australia, is willing to cooperate with Kockums.

Shopping for Christmas 2015

This year, Christmas spending is expected to grow by 5% measured in current prices. This is SKr 3 to 4 billion more than last year when sales rose to a record high SKr 70 billion, corresponding to SKr 7,600 per person in Sweden.
Shopping for Christmas this year will focus on furniture and other durable goods for the home, predicts HUI Research, and points to consumers wishing to act ahead of the government’s plan to lower tax deduction on household repairs (ROT).

Alarm over new export law

The proposal to tighten legislation on Swedish exports of war materiel will impact negatively on Swedish exports, innovation, jobs and defence capability, warns the defence industry.
The value of Swedish exports would fall by SKr 40 billion by 2023, if Sweden adds a democracy criteria to current defence export legislation, says defence analyst company IHS Jane.
“Competitors would most likely use it as a reason to rid themselves of Swedish suppliers in the chain of supply,” predicts Robert Limmergård, diretor general of the Swedish security and defence industry association (SOFF).
Saab defence group may be forced to look over its future investments in Sweden, hints Håkan Buskhe, chief executive of Saab. The company employs 12,000 of its 15,000 staff in 50 localities around Sweden.

Green transition

Financial Markets Minister Per Bolund is convinced the markets will revalue fossil fuel assets. He believes environmentally unsustainable assets may well suffer from unanticipated or premature write offs, downward revaluations or be converted into liabilities, which is why the government is counting on the national pension funds to reduce their risk in fossil fuel assets.

“We expect the pension funds to lead the financial markets’ green transition,” says Per Bolund, rejecting suggestions that the government is exercising too much control over the funds.

Fortum keen to take over

Dagens Industri reports that at one point Fortum was interested in taking over the running of the two reactors at Oskarshamn that are now to be closed early from majority shareholder E.ON. Fortum CEO Pekka Lundmark tells the business daily he does not understand why E.ON considered the early closure of the reactors necessary since Fortum’s calculations suggested it would have been financially viable to operate the reactors for a number of years after an upgrade.

Electrolux’ shareholders concerned

In August 2014, just weeks before Electrolux said it was buying GE Appliances, Torben Ballegaard Sorensen, the deputy chair of the Electrolux board, wrote an email to board chair Ronnie Leten, in which Keith McLoughlin was described as the “outgoing CEO”. In the email, Ballegaard Sorensen also called into question the acquisition of GE’s home appliances unit, wondering who would extract value from it, and suggesting that McLoughlin was obsessed with grandiose ideas in the US.

The fact that Electrolux has an “outgoing” CEO at its helm and a board with directors who questioned the GE acquisition shortly before its presentation is a cause of concern for institutional shareholders, writes DI.

Investor, the principal owner of Electrolux, does not wish to comment the email, saying merely that it prefers to talk directly to the board of directors.

Currency intervention remains on table

Deputy Governor Per Jansson said on Monday that Riksbank policy is on track to meet the inflation target and the central bank will continue to take action to ensure the target is achieved. There is scope to cut the benchmark rate further but, in such an event, the Riksbank will most likely have to resort to currency intervention.

Jansson also said the IMF has shown more acceptance of currency intervention as a policy tool, and that it is important the krona does not strengthen too quickly.