September update – Swedish household economics overview

Understanding Household Debt in Sweden

In recent years, Sweden has seen significant developments in its economic landscape, particularly in the realm of household debt. This blog post provides an overview of key reports and statistics, shedding light on the current state of affairs in Sweden’s financial sector.

SCB: Labour Force Surveys

The Labour Force Surveys offers insights into the Swedish labour market. As of July 2023, the unemployment rate stands at 6.2%, a slight decrease from the previous year. The employment rate has seen an increase of 1.3%, demonstrating a positive trend in employment figures. These statistics play a pivotal role in assessing the overall economic health of the nation.

SCB: Consumer Price Index

In July 2023, Sweden experienced an inflation rate of 9.3%, indicating a significant increase in the general prices of goods and services compared to the previous year.

 Notable increases in charter holiday and food prices were primary drivers of inflation. These price hikes were likely influenced by post-pandemic travel demand and supply chain disruptions, as well as factors affecting food production costs.

Despite rising prices in certain categories, falling electricity prices played a role in stabilizing the overall consumer price index. Decreasing electricity costs were influenced by various factors, including energy market dynamics and regulatory changes.

 Economic Tendency Indicator

The Economic Tendency Indicator for August 2023 experienced a decline of 2.5 points, settling at 85.2. This drop was primarily attributed to subdued sentiments in the service sector, which has become the most pessimistic part of the business sector. The manufacturing industry, on the other hand, saw a slight decline, mainly due to diminished expectations for future production.

SCB: Swedish Debt Analysis

A detailed analysis of Swedish household debt reveals that Sweden ranks third in the EU for highest per capita debt. Over the years, easy access to loans and low-interest rates have fuelled a significant increase in Swedish household debt, impacting financial stability. While the majority of debts are housing-related, the vulnerability of households to interest rate hikes is a cause for concern, largely due to a preference for variable interest rates. Even small rate hikes can have substantial financial implications.

FI: Mortgage Report

Swedish mortgagors are grappling with growing financial pressure due to rising interest rates and inflation. New mortgagors, in particular, are affected, with an average of 12% of their disposable income going toward interest payments. This is nearly triple the 2021 percentage and represents the highest level recorded in FI’s surveys. Interest rate payments are expected to climb to nearly 16% of disposable income by the end of 2023, further intensifying financial stress.

FI has implemented measures like amortization requirements and a mortgage cap to reduce risks associated with household borrowing. This has led new mortgagors to borrow less and opt for more affordable homes.

Sources: (in Swedish)

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