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Swedish economy keeps growing as vaccine rollout picks up

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Sweden’s economy grew slightly quicker than expected in the second quarter, as the rollout of vaccines accelerated and more COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, a preliminary estimate from the Statistics Office showed on Thursday.

GDP expanded by 0.9% in the second quarter from the previous three-month period against a forecast of 0.7% in a Reuters poll.

Against the second quarter of last year, GDP was 10% higher.

While GDP shrank 2.8% last year, Sweden’s economy was not hit as hard as many others, thanks in part to less onerous COVID-19 rules which allowed most businesses to stay open.

In June, the government said the economy would recover faster than previously expected, with the finance ministry revising its growth forecast upwards to 4.7% for 2021.

Despite a strong start to 2021 there have been bumps to economic recovery due to supply-side bottlenecks and shortages.

Retail sales rose 2.3% in May from April but fell 0.3% in June from May.

Photo: Swedish Krone bank notes and coins. EPA/FREDRIK SANDBERG