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Sweden Economy

    Economy—overview: Aided by peace and neutrality for the whole twentieth century, Sweden has achieved an enviable standard of living under a mixed system of high-tech capitalism and extensive welfare benefits. It has a modern distribution system, excellent internal and external communications, and a skilled labor force. Timber, hydropower, and iron ore constitute the resource base of an economy heavily oriented toward foreign trade. Privately owned firms account for about 90% of industrial output, of which the engineering sector accounts for 50% of output and exports. Agriculture accounts for only 2% of GDP and 2% of the jobs. In recent years, however, this extraordinarily favorable picture has been clouded by budgetary difficulties, inflation, high unemployment, and a gradual loss of competitiveness in international markets. Sweden has harmonized its economic policies with those of the EU, which it joined at the start of 1995. Sweden decided not to join the euro system at its outset in January 1999 but plans to hold a referendum in 2000 on whether to join. Annual GDP growth is forecast for 2.2% and 2.6% in 1999 and 2000 respectively. Budgetary problems and shaky business confidence will constrain government plans to reduce unemployment.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$175 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 2.9% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$19,700 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 2.2%
    industry: 30.5%
    services: 67.3% (1997)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: 3.7%
    highest 10%: 20.1% (1992)

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2% (1998 est.)

    Labor force: 4.552 million (1992)

    Labor force—by occupation: community, social and personal services 38.3%, mining and manufacturing 21.2%, commerce, hotels, and restaurants 14.1%, banking, insurance 9%, communications 7.2%, construction 7%, agriculture, fishing, and forestry 3.2% (1991)

    Unemployment rate: 6.3% plus about 5% in training programs (1998 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $109.4 billion
    expenditures: $146.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY95/96)

    Industries: iron and steel, precision equipment (bearings, radio and telephone parts, armaments), wood pulp and paper products, processed foods, motor vehicles

    Industrial production growth rate: 4.4% (1998)

    Electricity—production: 135.192 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 9.75%
    hydro: 37.52%
    nuclear: 52.62%
    other: 0.11% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 141.392 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 9.7 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 15.9 billion kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: grains, sugar beets, potatoes; meat, milk

    Exports: $85.5 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

    Exports—commodities: machinery 35%, motor vehicles, paper products, pulp and wood, iron and steel products, chemicals

    Exports—partners: EU 55% (Germany 11%, UK 9%, Denmark 6%, Finland 5%), Norway 8%, US 8% (1994)

    Imports: $66.6 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

    Imports—commodities: machinery, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, motor vehicles, foodstuffs, iron and steel, clothing

    Imports—partners: EU 68% (Germany 19%, UK 10%, Denmark 8%, France 6%), Norway 8%, US 6% (1997)

    Debt—external: $66.5 billion (1994)

    Economic aid—donor: ODA, $1.7 billion (1995)

    Currency: 1 Swedish krona (SKr) = 100 oere

    Exchange rates: Swedish kronor (SKr) per US$1—7.8193 (January 1999), 7.9499 (1998), 7.6349 (1997), 6.7060 (1996), 7.1333 (1995), 7.7160 (1994)

    Fiscal year: calendar year

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