📉 Falling krona
To: Riedia Readers
Good morning! Today is Wednesday. In today’s edition of the Riedia Sweden Summer Weekly newsletter, we're covering:
The weakening Swedish Krona, elevated terrorism threats, and an urgent need to climate change adaptation.
—Viviana Levet, Julia Powanda
The Swedish Krona's weakness is rooted in its status as a small currency, accounting for less than 1% of global transactions. During times of international turmoil, investors flock to major currencies like the US dollar and the Euro, leaving vulnerable currencies like the Krona behind.
Sweden's high private debt, especially in real estate, is also making investors cautious. This means they're wary of investing in assets denominated in Krona.
A weaker Krona makes imported goods more expensive, which can push up prices in Sweden. This was actually a strategy used in the past to boost inflation.
It's uncertain whether the Krona will weaken further. The Riksbank, Sweden's central bank, hopes it will get stronger, but that depends on controlling inflation and global economic conditions.
Keep an eye on how things unfold, as events like conflicts can shake up the currency's value.
Sweden's terrorism threat level was recently raised from 3 to 4, which could have implications for various sectors, including tourism.
Last year, foreign visitors contributed 57 billion SEK to the total tourism consumption of 249 billion SEK in Sweden. Visit Sweden, the country's national marketing organization, actively promotes Sweden as a travel destination, especially to countries like Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, France, the US, and others.
While Visit Sweden's CEO, Susanne Andersson, suggests it's too early to gauge the full impact of the higher security level, she acknowledges that media coverage can influence short-term travel decisions. She points to examples like France, where tourism suffered cancellations due to summer unrest.
Andersson notes that despite recent warnings and increased threat levels, there haven't been noticeable declines in tourist interest during the summer. The United Kingdom had cautioned its citizens about terror threats in Sweden earlier this week.
Visit Sweden aims to maintain a positive image of the country as a tourist spot. While no specific countermeasures are planned in response to the elevated threat level, if negative stories circulate in target markets, the organization will strive to balance them with positive aspects of Sweden, showcasing its serene landscapes and natural beauty.
Sweden's coastal cities, Malmö and Gothenburg, are sounding the alarm on climate change impacts. Storm Hans exposed the inadequacies of current climate adaptation efforts, prompting these cities to call for national action.
The ask? A comprehensive investigation into climate adaptation strategies. Malmö and Gothenburg are pushing for revamped laws, innovative financing models, and clearer responsibilities to manage the costs of climate resilience over time.
Both cities highlight their vulnerability to rising sea levels and extreme weather. However, current laws aren't equipped to handle these challenges effectively.
Experts emphasize the importance of a unified national approach. The Expert Council on Climate Adaptation calls for collaborative funding solutions between the public and private sectors.
Lund University and Research Institutes of Sweden (Rise) experts underline the need to avoid burdening property owners and municipalities alone with adaptation responsibilities.
Eris, a subvariant of omicron, is gaining attention due to its potential to outpace other variants. The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that Eris can grow and evade immunity, raising concerns.
In the Stockholm Region, Eris has infected over ten percent of COVID-19 cases. Although it's highly contagious, experts suggest it might lead to milder illness for most people. Vaccinated individuals or those previously infected should have good protection, but the Public Health Agency advises booster shots for those over 50 and at-risk groups. An improved vaccine targeting Eris is in development, expected to be available in autumn. Currently, a significant portion of individuals over 65 in the Stockholm Region have received booster shots.
Housing allowance applications decrease despite tough times : The Swedish Social Insurance Agency has seen a significant decrease in the number of applications for housing allowance, even lower than before the pandemic. The agency speculates that the low-income threshold may be preventing eligible individuals from applying for financial support. Last year, 79,000 households had to repay excess allowance, putting them in debt.
Cheapest electricity in years : The average price of electricity in Southern Sweden has dropped significantly, reaching 31 öre per kWh in August compared to over three kronor per kWh last year. This decrease in prices is reflected in other parts of the country as well, with some areas experiencing the lowest monthly prices in three years. The low prices are attributed to factors such as normal gas prices, well-filled water reservoirs, and the addition of the Olkiluoto 3 reactor to the market. Winter forecasts indicate favorable prices with no shortage expected.
New record low for the Swedish krona : The Swedish krona has hit a new record low against the euro and the dollar, with factors such as higher international interest rates and shaky stock markets contributing to its depreciation. The weakening krona is expected to continue, leading to increased inflationary pressure and the possibility of further interest rate hikes by the Swedish Riksbank.
Swedish duo wins volleyball : Swedish duo wins in beach volleyball, defeating Italians in a close match. The victory adds to their successful comeback after a hand injury and boosts their chances for the 2024 Olympics.
New Olympic qualification : The Swedish women's football team, having won a bronze in the World Cup, now faces the challenging journey to secure a spot in the Paris Olympics. The new Nations League will serve as the Olympic qualifier, with only two spots available and tough competition from teams like Spain and Italy. The team's schedule for 2023 includes matches against Spain, Italy, and Switzerland.
Duplantis's health setback : Pole vaulter Armand Duplantis admits that he should have taken better care of his body before the World Championships, after experiencing hip cramps during the Diamond League gala in Monaco. However, he reassures that the issue has improved significantly in the past two weeks, thanks to the help of his chiropractor. Duplantis sees this as a wake-up call for both the upcoming championship and his long-term career.
What else is happening in Sweden?
Risk of traffic congestion in Stockholm this fall : Most maintenance work and construction on Stockholm's roads are carried out during the summer when there are fewer cars and less heavy traffic, but some projects will spill over into the fall, causing potential traffic disruptions. The major impacted areas include the E4, Stockholm Bypass, and various interchanges. Motorists are advised to check for updates on trafiken.nu or SL.se and exercise patience and caution while driving. In the meantime, the Roslagsbanan train in Stockholm will resume regular timetables after operating with reduced traffic during the summer. The increased frequency of trains and reintroduction of express trains during certain hours aim to alleviate congestion and seating issues during rush hour. Commuters can expect a more regular and efficient train service starting from August 21st.
Zelensky's visit to Sweden : Experts suggest that Ukrainian President Zelensky's visit to Sweden is to express gratitude for Sweden's military support, including equipment, ammunition, training, and advice, during the conflict with Russia. The visit also provides an opportunity to discuss further military cooperation, such as the expansion of equipment production and soldier training between Sweden and Ukraine.
Shopping malls increase security : Mall of Scandinavia and Täby Centrum tighten security following raised terrorist threat level. Measures include increased staff, surveillance, and collaboration with the police. Recent false text messages about planned attacks are denied by authorities.
Northvolt's Russia ties questioned : Swedish battery company Northvolt faces criticism for trading with Russian company Nornickel, known for its environmental pollution. Northvolt aims to phase out its Russian supplier and contribute to environmental improvements as a new market. The company's vision is to build the world's greenest batteries and battery factories.
World through the Swedish lens
Fires all over the world due to extreme heat: Over 8,000 hectares of forest have been burned in Tenerife , Spain, where 12,000 people have been forced to evacuate. The fire is described as the worst in 40 years, but no houses have burned down yet. At the same time, there has been a fire catastrophe in Hawaii that has been classified as the deadliest in the United States in over 100 years, with 114 confirmed dead and more expected. It doesn't end here. Over 35,000 residents have been ordered to evacuate in British Columbia as forest fires continue to rage across Canada , burning over 140,000 square kilometers, and threatening to persist due to drought conditions.
Wave of murders in Ecuador : The Ecuadorian election, overshadowed by a wave of violence and political assassinations, begins amidst growing concerns over corruption and organized crime. Presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio, who was murdered in August, had been vocal in his campaign against corruption. The high murder rate and fear of violence have increased support for candidates promising tough action against drug cartels.
Saudi Border Police Killings : Human Rights Watch reports that the Saudi border police have killed hundreds of migrants using explosives and live ammunition, as confirmed by satellite images. Video evidence also shows migrants being shot at close range.
Meanwhile in Mariupol , an exhibition at Armémuseum, features photographs by Mariupol-born journalist Viacheslav Tverdokhlib. He lived in a cellar during the blockade and documented the events with photos and video. In the exhibition, six women from Mariupol talk about their experiences of the war.
The affordable art fair will be returning to Stockholm this fall! The event will host its 11th art fair where art of varying prices will be available for purchase. Tickets for the event can be purchased ahead of time.
Avicii's song "Wake Me Up" has achieved a remarkable feat – it's the first track by a Swedish artist to reach 2 billion streams on Spotify , even five years after his passing.
But who was Avicii? Here are some facts that perhaps you do not know about this Swedish DJ and his impact on the EDM (electronic dance music) genre.
Avicii, whose real name was Tim Bergling, chose his stage name inspired by the Buddhist term "Avīci," representing the lowest level of hell. This unique name stuck with him throughout his career, starting from his MySpace days.
His breakthrough came with "Levels" in 2011, which sampled Etta James and soared to worldwide fame. This success paved the way for two studio albums, "True" (2013) and "Stories" (2015), blending electronic beats with pop and rock elements. Collaborations with stars like Madonna, Coldplay, and David Guetta followed. In 2016, health issues led to Avicii's retirement from touring, a decision explored in the 2017 documentary "Avicii: True Stories."
Beyond music, Avicii engaged in philanthropy, contributing millions to causes like hunger relief and education. Tragically, Avicii passed away in 2018 at the age of 28. His death shocked the music world and beyond, leading to an increased awareness of mental health struggles among artists. A posthumous album titled "TIM" was released in 2019, featuring unfinished tracks that he had been working on before his passing.
Today, Avicii's name stands tall in Sweden's musical legacy alongside ABBA, Swedish House Mafia, and Zara Larsson, among others.
by Viviana Levet/Riedia
Sweden news morning digest
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