Sweden sees first quarter trade surplus shrivel

Sweden's trade surplus for the first three months of 2010 was 25.3 percent lower than the same period last year, according to new figures from Statistics Sweden.

The surplus came to 17.4 billion kronor ($2.4 billion) for the first three months of the year, compared to 23.3 billion a year earlier.

“During the first quarter 2010, the value of exports increased by four percent while imports increased by seven percent in value compared to the corresponding period one year ago,” the agency said.

Exports for the first three months of the year amounted to 261.1 billion kronor, while imports stood at 243.7 billion, it added.

For the month of March, Sweden’s trade surplus came to 7.2 billion kronor, down from 7.8 billion a year earlier, with exports rising nine percent to 99.4 billion kronor and imports growing 10 percent to 92.2 billion, the statistics agency said.

Since the beginning of the year, Sweden has seen its trade deficit with the European Union widen. In March it posted a shortfall of 5.4 billion kronor, compared to 4.5 billion for the same month last year.

The country meanwhile saw its trade surplus with countries outside the union grow 2.4 percent year-on-year to 12.6 billion kronor last month.

Corrected for seasonality, Sweden’s March trade surplus stood at 5.9 billion kronor, up from 5.7 billion a month earlier, Statistics Sweden said.

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Norway and UK strike post-Brexit trade deal

Norway and the United Kingdom have struck an agreement on a free trade deal, the Norwegian government announced on Friday.

Norway and UK strike post-Brexit trade deal
Erna Solberg outside 10 Downing Street in 2019. (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN / POOL / AFP)

Negotiations over the agreement have been ongoing since last summer, and the Norwegian government said that the deal is the largest free trade agreement Norway has entered into, outside of the EEA agreement. 

“The agreement entails a continuation of all previous tariff preferences for seafood and improved market access for white fish, shrimp, and several other products,” the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a statement.  

One of the sticking points of the negotiations was Norway wanting more access to sell seafood in the UK, while the UK wanted more access to sell agricultural products like cheese.

The latter was a problem due to Norway having import protection against agricultural goods. 

“This agreement secures Norwegian jobs and value creation and marks an important step forward in our relationship with the UK after Brexit. This is a long-term agreement, which at the same time helps to accelerate the Norwegian economy,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in a statement.  

 The United Kingdom is Norway’s second most important single market, after the EU. In 2020 Norwegian companies exported goods worth 135 billion kroner to the UK and imported around 42 billion kroner of goods from the UK. 

Norway has given Britain 26 quotas on agricultural products, but not for mutton and beef. The agreement does not increase the UK’s cheese quotas, state broadcaster NRK have reported. 

The agreement will still need to be signed by both the Norwegian and UK parliament.