Swedes are blazing a trail in Europe, with banks, buses, street vendors and even churches expecting plastic or virtual payment
In 1661, Stockholms Banco, the precursor to the Swedish central bank, issued Europe’s first banknotes, on thick watermarked paper bearing the bank’s seal and eight handwritten signatures.
Last year – as Britain did last week – Sweden launched a new series of notes, cheery affairs featuring 20th-century Swedish cultural giants such as Astrid Lindgren, the creator of Pippi Longstocking, Greta Garbo and filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. But like its Nordic neighbours Norway, Denmark and Finland, Sweden is fast becoming an almost entirely cashless society. Continue reading
Morgan Stanley warns that the world is revisiting the “ghosts of the 1930s” as one country after another tries to steal a march on others by devaluing first
Sweden has cut interest rates below zero and launched quantitative easing to fight deflation, becoming the latest Scandinavian state to join Europe’s escalating currency wars.
The Riksbank caught markets by surprise, reducing the benchmark lending rate to minus 0.10pc and unveiled its first asset purchases, vowing to take further action at any time to stop the country falling into a deflationary trap. The bank presented the move as precautionary step due to rising risks of a “poorer outcome abroad” and the crisis in Greece.