Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sweden's Economy

Sweden has had a good run financially with its neutral position in the world and a highly skilled labor force.  In 2008 the global crisis lowered demand for Swedish exports and caused the country to enter a recession.  Sweden came back strong in 2010 as a result of the high demand for its commodities and high returns by Sweden's banking sector.  The government is considering a stimulus in 2012 to shield against the global slowdown to sustain healthy employment and growth according to The World Factbook.

According to the World Bank Sweden's GDP is worth $458 billion dollars which is 0.74% of the world economy.  Sweden is a major European economy they have a high tech capitalist system with extensive welfare benefits.  The country's unemployment rate is at 7.7% and their interest rates are at 1.5%, the interest rates are set by the Executive Board of the Central Bank of Sweden, currently Sweden's inflation rate is at 1.50%.

The major stock index in Sweden the OMX includes the largest volume stocks that trade on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.  It closed at 1,031.95 the top performers were Swedish Match AB and AstraZeneca PLC a pharmaceutical company.  In the past 12 months the stock index has declined a little over 100 points.  As of 2012 Sweden has 11 billionaires one of them is Stefan Persson the owner of H&M. 

In the first ever World Happiness Report the data shows that happier countries are usually the richest countries but social factors are the largest contributors to being happy.  On the top of the list are the Nordic countries they average 7.6% on a happiness scale from 0 -10.  Sweden comes in at #7 in regards to happiness while the U.S. comes in at #11.  An interesting fact is that in advanced countries women are happier than men.  According to The World Factbook Infant Mortality Rate Sweden has one of the lowest infant mortality rates it ranks number 5 on the report with 2.74 deaths per 1000 live births.  Not surprisingly the Nordic countries are at the top of the list with some of the lowest mortality rates.  The U.S. does not even make the top 40 despite all the money we spend on healthcare. 

If the Swedish lifestyle is starting to appeal to you be sure to check out the Scandinavian House in NYC enjoy art exhibits and photography from the Nordic countries. In the mood for Swedish Meatballs with Lingonberries? After a day full of trading get your appetite on at Smörgås Chef Wall Street location. 

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