Up to 1.5 million Swedes in a nation of 10 million are employed by exports to other countries, the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce emphasised. Exports of Swedish goods have dwindled sharply due to the novel coronavirus crisis, and this could have far-reaching consequences for the country, the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce has warned.
In April alone, Swedish foreign trade plummeted by 17 percent compared to the same month last year.
“For a small and export-dependent country like Sweden, this is very sad news. 1.5 million Swedes are employed by exports to other countries. Over time, there will be a significant loss of our economy”, Stockholm Chamber of Commerce chief economist Stefan Westerberg said in a press release.
Developmnet export order stocks are strongly negative for most Swedish regions except one, northern central Sweden, which has a weak positive development, according to new data from the National Institute of Economic Research. The fall is the steepest in the western and southern parts of the country.
“The crisis is affecting our entire economy and has clearly slowed down the export of goods, which is something of a pulse vein for the Swedish economy and, by extension, jobs in the country. Since we are heavily dependent on contacts with our outside world, which are currently shut down, it will be important to extend and develop the transition support for a few more months”, Westerberg said.
Sweden's figures for foreign exports have, since the third quarter of 2016, shown mostly positive development for all months except for two, where income remained unchanged.
“We have a situation where the actual export of goods is weakened and the export companies are very gloomy, both in terms of present and future. Efforts and endurance will be required to make the curve turn upwards”, Westerberg warned.
Sweden's primary export commodities include industrial machinery, automobiles, paper products, iron and steel products, pulp and wood, and chemicals.
Earlier, the Swedish Finance Ministry predicted a v-shaped development, a steep 4.2 percent fall, followed by an almost equally 3.3 percent sharp rise in 2021.
The Swedish Pension Authority warned that the income pension will decrease by 1.5 percent next year due to the coronavirus crisis, hitting low-earners the most.
Due to its outlier no-lockdown strategy Sweden risks becoming a pariah as European nations slowly open up. Last week, Norway and Denmark pledged to open up tourism between their two countries starting from 15 June, but consider maintaining restrictions for Swedes. In the words of Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Denmark and Sweden are “in different places” regarding the pandemic.