As a means of curbing soaring house prices and household debt levels, Riksbank Governor Stefan Ingves has proposed the introduction of a debt ratio ceiling, limiting the size of loans an individual household may take in relation to income.
A debt-to-income limit of 400%, tighter rules on mortgage repayment and a 50% cut in the interest deduction would slow the increase in the debt ratio, according to Mr Ingves.
Tor Borg, chief economist at SBAB, sees a risk in introducing all three measures at once, saying that such a move could trigger a recession.
Anna Öster, chief economist at Länsförsäkring, is also critical. She believes it is “unfortunate” that the focus is on trying to reduce the housing demand. Caution is vital since such a move could trigger a housing market crash and have a serious impact on the Swedish economy, she says.
Both Tor Borg and Anna Öster would instead like to see an increase in housing construction.
A delegation of 15 companies, accompanied by Minister for Public Administration Ardalan Shekarabi, will fly to Jordan today to visit the Azraq refugee camp and to take part in a conference on UN procurement in the Middle East.
In 2014, UN organisations purchased goods and services to a value of more than SKr 150 billion, according to the Government Offices. Sweden’s share was 0.16%, compared to Denmark’s share of more than 3%.
During the trip, Ardalan Shekarabi will also meet Jordan’s Prime Minister and Industry Minister to discuss humanitarian cooperation and support to the UN body in the country
On Thursday Vattenfall and E.ON announced that two of the reactors at the Ringhals power plant would close by 2020. The announcement comes a day after E.ON and Fortum said they would close two of the Oskarshamn reactors by 2019.
Four of Sweden’s ten reactors are being decommissioned early as a result of falling electricity prices and the Swedish government’s imposition of a nuclear capacity tax. Vattenfall, E.ON and Fortum are together facing losses of more than SKr 32 billion from the early closure.
The utilities are not the only ones to suffer, however. A number of analysts suggest the closure will erode the government’s budget. The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) has calculated that the early closure will in fact cost the Treasury an annual SKr 1.5 billion annually in lost revenue.
At an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday, E.ON made a final decision to close two nuclear reactors at the Oskarshamn power plant.
One of the reactors has already been shut down and will not be re-started while the second reactor will close some time between 2017 and 2019. Oskarshamn’s third reactor, which is the newest, will be kept in operation until 2045.
Low electricity prices and the introduction of the nuclear capacity tax lie behind the decision to close the reactors.
And, at another extraordinary shareholders’ meeting to be held later today, E.ON and Vattenfall will discus the timeframe for the closure of two reactors at Ringhals. Vattenfall has said they should be closed by 2020, but E.ON has said it needs more time.
Following yesterday’s decision, Lars Hjälmered, the Moderates’ spokesman on energy policy, has slammed the government’s energy policy, suggesting it lacks long-term predictability.
A Dagens Industri study shows that the Volvo Group can raise close to SKr 60 billion by divesting a number of odd assets, shareholdings and properties. The holdings include a stake in Inner Mongolia Hauler Joint Stock worth SKr 2 billion, and in Germany’s Deutz worth SKr 1 billion.
Other holdings include Volvo Information Technology, which is Sweden’s largest IT consulting company with sales of SKr 9.7 billion, 20% of which is from external customers. There has been talk of divesting or outsourcing the business in the past year.
Volvo is also one of Sweden’s largest property companies; the buildings and land owned by the Group have a booked value of close to SKr 28 billion.
Helena Stjernholm, who has worked for private equity firm IK Investment Partners for 17 years, will succeed Anders Nyrén as chief executive of the Lundberg sphere’s investment company Industrivärden.
“She has a good track record, has done well and worked on issues relevant to Industrivärden. She simply has a suitable background,” said Fredrik Lundberg, chair of Industrivärden, who pointed out that Stjernholm was one of several candidates for the top job.
Those who have previously criticised the culture at Industrivärden lauded the appointment of Stjernholm, whose primary task will be to rebuild trust in the dented business empire and also manage the controversial system of cross-ownership within the sphere.
A team of scientists at the Swedish Institute of Space Physics are developing two instruments that will be used on ESA’s Jupiter mission, which will launch in 2022. One instrument will measure the different particles around Jupiter and its icy moon. The second instrument will measure radio waves, electric and magnetic fields as well as charged gases to see if there could be life under Jupiter’s icy moon.
The group of Swedish industrialists that last week bought the Kaunisvaara processing plant from bankrupt miner Northland Resources had hoped to strike a deal with state-owned LKAB to buy iron ore below the market price . However, LKAB is not interested, saying it cannot afford to indulge the industrialists, merely to save jobs in northern Sweden.
“A state-owned company does not have the right to give any kind of support to a private company, and we cannot afford to either. We are ourselves working hard to save money in order to keep profitability at a reasonable level,” remarks LKAB chairman Sten Jakobsson.
According to Mats Leifland, the spokesman for the industrialists, who include BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, the aim within the next 3-6 months is to find a solution with LKAB that is beneficial to both parties. If this does not happen, operations will be discontinued.
New car registrations were up 11% in the first half of 2015, while new registrations of electric or plug-in hybrids rose by 56%, according to Bil Sweden, the association that represents manufacturers and importers of cars, trucks and buses.
Above all, it is car buyers in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö who are showing a growing interest in cars with carbon emissions of less than 50g/km.
Nevertheless, electric and plug-in hybrids still represent a small part of the total market, accounting for just 2% of car sales in Sweden.