Sunday 9/27/20

Sweden's GDP fell by record 8.6% despite not adopting strict lockdown

The eurozone's economy plunged by an average 12.1% in the same period.
People enjoying life outdoors in Malmö at the time when the rest of Europe was under lockdown. Photo: Núria Vila.
People enjoying life outdoors in Malmö at the time when the rest of Europe was under lockdown. Photo: Núria Vila.

Sweden's gross domestic product shrank by a record 8.6% in the second quarter amid the coronavirus pandemic, the national statistics agency said on Wednesday.

Statistics Sweden said the decrease in GDP was "the largest single quarter drop in the directly comparable time series starting 1980."

Seasonally adjusted and compared to the preceding quarter the decrease was "in large parts driven by falling exports and household consumption expenditure," the agency said.

The Scandinavian country of 10.3 million is a member of the European Union but does not use the euro.

The flash estimate was preliminary. Complete quarterly national accounts for the second quarter were due on 28 August, the agency said.

Compared to both the EU as a whole and the eurozone countries, the downturn was not quite as sharp in Sweden.

Last week, the EU statistical office Eurostat reported that the eurozone's GDP plunged by 12.1% in the second quarter, a record, while the EU as a whole dropped by 11.9%.

Never into lockdown

Sweden has adopted less stringent measures to contain the virus than elsewhere and never went into a full lockdown. Schools, bars, restaurants and other businesses were allowed to remain open.

People have been urged to refrain from travel, to work remotely, to maintain social distancing and to stay home if they are elderly or have minor symptoms. Public gatherings are limited to 50 people.

Olle Holmgren, analyst with the Swedish banking group SEB, attributed the lower GDP decline in Sweden to the fact that Sweden has not introduced quite as strict lockdowns as many other countries, the Stockholm daily Svenska Dagbladet reported.

The Swedish Public Health Agency had as of Tuesday recorded 5,747 coronavirus-related deaths and about 81,100 infections.

Sweden's GDP fell by record 8.6% despite not adopting strict lockdown
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