Sweden's central bank ramps up key interest rate over high inflation

Governor of the Riksbank Erik Thedeen speaks, during a press conference in Stockholm, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023.
Governor of the Riksbank Erik Thedeen speaks, during a press conference in Stockholm, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. Copyright Jonas Ekstromer/AP
By Euronews with AP
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The moves comes on a busy day of central bank action in Europe, with the UK, Norwegian and Swiss central banks announcing or expected to announce whether they will amend their interest rates.


Sweden’s central bank has raised its key interest rate, saying that "inflationary pressures in the Swedish economy are still too high," although there were signs that inflation had begun to fall.

The Riksbank raised its policy rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 4% and said on Thursday that its forecast indicated that it could be raised further.

”Inflation is also falling in Sweden. The rate of increase in energy and food prices has slowed significantly, which is positive,” the Riksbank said in its statement.

But the bank added that “inflation pressures are still too high,” noting that service prices are still rising rapidly and Sweden's currency, the krona, is “unjustifiably weak.”

The Swedish currency has plunged to its lowest level ever against the euro and the US dollar. 

Like the rest of Europe, Sweden has been struggling with high inflation -- it was 7.5% in August, down from 9.3% in July, but far from the 2% target set by Sweden’s central bank.

"To ensure that inflation continues downwards and stabilises around the target within a reasonable period of time, monetary policy needs to be tightened further,” the bank said.

Thursday's interest rate increase meant that the policy rate is at the highest level since October 2008, the Swedish news agency TT wrote.

Interest rate decisions across Europe and the world

Central banks worldwide have been hiking borrowing costs to fight inflation sparked by the rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic and then Russia's war in Ukraine, which pushed up food and energy prices.

Norway's central bank also raised its policy rate by a quarter-point on Thursday, to 4.25%, a week after the European Central Bank raised its benchmark deposit rate to 4%, as did Denmark.

The moves come on a busy day of central bank action. The Swiss National Bank kept rates steady Thursday, while financial markets were split over whether the Bank of England would impose another hike or hit pause.

A day earlier, the US Federal Reserve left its benchmark interest rate unchanged for the second time in its past three meetings, a sign that it’s moderating its fight against inflation as price pressures have eased.

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