Vattenfall’s new investment

Swedish state-owned Vattenfall is shifting up a gear in the UK. From the start of May the company is to start selling renewable energy direct to customers instead of to the grid.

Since 2008, Vattenfall has invested over SKr 34 billion in the UK. “We now have a critical mass and can start selling directly to customers. The UK is interesting because there is dense capacity there and still good opportunities for investing in more renewable energy. Furthermore, there are fairly high demands to become more environmentally friendly and reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the UK,” says Anna Borg, from Vattenfall.

Risk of fewer jobs

The value of Swedish exports of goods to the UK fell by 19 per cent, or by some SKr 10 billion kronor, between January and July.

Fresh data from the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce shows that exports of medicinal and pharmaceutical products to the UK fell by 38 per cent, chemical products by 23 per cent and paper products by 15 per cent, compared to the corresponding period last year. This is equivalent to a collapse in export value of SKr 2.5 billion.

Andreas Hatzigeorgiou, the Stockholm Chamber’s chief economist, sees cause for concern. “If the effect were to persist, this could lead to fewer jobs and lower growth in Sweden,” he warns.

Olle Grunewald, an analyst at the National Board of Trade, believes it is too early to establish a link between the fall in the value of exports and Brexit. However, the uncertainty that prevailed ahead of the referendum may have affected exports.

Free trade agreement with UK

Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson believes the EU should seek a bilateral free trade agreement with the UK, similar to the one it has with Switzerland. This would provide an opportunity to find the right balance between Britain’s rights and obligations.

The minister believes too much importance has been given to the timeframe of Brexit, saying it is important the negotiations are successful. At the same time she sees no point in dragging out talks, since this would harm economic activity, particularly in the UK.