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MONEY

Sweden’s national bank warns of e-currency scam

False information about digital currency is being circulated online in Sweden, the country's central bank said on Monday.

Sweden's national bank warns of e-currency scam
A security guard stands outside Sweden's Riksbank. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Sweden's Riksbank has repeatedly raised the idea of 'e-krona' or digital currency in recent years, but on Monday reiterated that a project launched in 2017 to look into the possibility of launching such a currency had not yet been completed.

Despite that, several potentially fraudulent claims have been made about e-krona, the bank warned.

“On certain websites and in social media, claims have been made that it is possible to purchase e-kronas,” the Riksbank said in a statement on Monday.

“The Riksbank has also been contacted by individuals describing how they have been called by companies claiming to be selling e-kronas on behalf of the Riksbank.”

It urged anyone who sees this kind of information or receives an offer to buy e-kronor to contact the bank.

The word e-krona was one of 33 selected by language experts as 2018's 'new words of the year', an annual list of terms that were either first coined, imported, or became particularly newsworthy in 2018.

In spring 2018, the Riksbank's governor said that e-krona was “around three to four years” in the future, and that the digital currency could replace large notes in the same way that notes have replaced small value coins in Sweden.

However, he stressed that any digital currency would not entirely replace physical cash if and when it is created.

READ ALSO: Sweden predicted to become first country with own cryptocurrency

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MONEY

Three ways Sweden’s slashed interest rate will boost your finances

Sweden's central bank, the Riksbank, in May lowered the policy rate for the first time in eight years. How could this affect the finances of those of us living in Sweden?

Three ways Sweden's slashed interest rate will boost your finances

Lower mortgage rates

The policy rate is not the same as the interest rate on your mortgage, although they are linked. In a policy rate prognosis from March, the bank predicted that the policy rate could drop to as low as 2.75 percent by the end of 2025, a drop of 1.25 percentage points since the beginning of 2024.

If mortgage rates drop by the same amount, you could expect a drop in the monthly cost of a 3 million kronor mortgage of around 3,000 kronor a month, not including the tax rebate for interest costs.

Higher property prices

As mortgage rates get lower, the housing market is likely to improve, as buyers know their monthly costs aren’t going to skyrocket due to ever-rising interest rates.

If you already own a home and you’re planning on buying and selling at the same time in the market, this will affect you less, as the price of your new home will most likely go up at the same rate as the price of your old home, but this is good news for anyone planning on selling.

It’s worse news for first-time buyers, who will have to save a larger deposit as prices go up, but on the other hand they’ll get lower mortgage rates and a more stable policy rate makes it easier to plan ahead for the future without being surprised by ever-increasing rates.

A stronger Swedish economy

The Riksbank’s decision to lower the interest rate is proof that the bank believes inflation is over – for now at least. This means that we can expect to see inflation remain at a more stable level, and we’re unlikely to see anything close to the ten percent inflation we saw at the end of 2022.

Lower inflation means that Swedish monetary policy won’t need to be as cautious or restrictive in the future, as the government and the central bank no longer need to put all their efforts into fighting inflation.

That’s not to say that authorities will start stimulating the economy just yet – they’re likely to proceed with caution to make sure inflation really is down for the long-term – but Thursday’s interest rate announcement indicates that the “economic winter” Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson warned of in September last year could be drawing to a close.

Is it all good news?

In the short term, the value of the krona is likely to worsen somewhat, as the central bank has lowered Sweden’s interest rate ahead of other major central banks. The krona weakened slightly after the bank’s announcement on Thursday, dropping 8 öre in value against the dollar and 7 öre against the euro.

This is good news for people with income in other currencies, but bad news for those of us who are paid in kronor.

Having said that, a stronger Swedish economy is good news for the value of the krona in the long term, although it’s difficult to predict when the krona will start to gain in value and by how much.

At the end of last year, Riksbank governor Erik Thedéen described the krona as “undervalued”, and underlined the importance of having strong foundations in the Swedish economy.

“The Swedish economy is, at its foundations, well-managed, and sooner or later this will lead to a stronger exchange rate,” he said. “Sweden has strong finances, a well-educated labour force, responsible salaries and a good underlying level of competition.”

“As anyone who has tried to predict the exchange rate knows, it’s genuinely difficult to say exactly when it will go up and by how much, but it can also happen quickly when the trend is broken and the krona starts to gain in value.”

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