The Riksbank's business survey: Reasonable economic activity but cause for concern abroad
According to the Riksbank's Business Survey in September, economic activity is continuing to grow at a reasonable rate. But companies are generally more pessimistic about future economic developments.
The industrial sector is increasingly worried about developments abroad. Economic activity in Europe continues to recover slowly, but the slowdown on the growth markets, low commodity prices and tumbling investment in, for example, the energy sector, are worrying the export industry. Generally, however, companies feel increasingly secure about the growth in domestic demand. Opinions are particularly positive in the construction sector, where demand continues to rise. The rate at which new homes are being built is very high and there are signs that bottlenecks in the form of a shortage of specialists in metropolitan areas are beginning to appear.
Companies are expecting prices to remain subdued. The industrial sector is finding it difficult to increase its prices since demand is not strong enough yet and costs for input material have fallen along with commodity prices. The retail sector is still cautious about passing on rising purchasing prices to the consumer, which has squeezed their margins. Retail companies have a clear intention to raise prices, but how fast this can happen depends on consumer demand and general competitiveness.
Three times a year, the Riksbank interviews the largest companies in the construction, retail, manufacturing and part of the service sectors. Representatives of 42 companies with a total of approximately 250,000 employees in Sweden were interviewed this time. The interviews were mainly held between 31 August and 18 September and are presented in the Riksbank's Business Survey.
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