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El context econòmic de Suècia

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Despite Sweden's exposure to global trade dynamics, Covid-19 has had a rather limited impact on its economy compared with most other European countries. GDP returned to its pre-pandemic level in 2021, and continued growing in 2022: the IMF estimated a 2.6% increase in GDP, supported by private consumption and investment. However, the net contribution of foreign trade was negative due to high import growth, and the economy slowed down towards the end of the year. For 2023, pressure on private domestic demand due to higher input costs, consumer prices and interest rates, as well as a tighter monetary policy (variable interest rates on mortgages are widespread) will weigh heavily on growth, with the economy expected to enter a recession (-0.1% as per the IMF forecast, -0.6% according to the EU Commission). The improvement in global economic conditions and slower inflation should contribute to a rebound in 2024 (+2.1%).

Sweden is among the few advanced European economies to show both a current account surplus and low public debt. Despite the phasing out of COVID-19 support measures, new aid packages were implemented to contrast high energy prices and the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, resulting in a government budget deficit of 0.3% of GDP. However, the general government balance is expected to return into positive territory this year (0.1% of GDP) and in 2024 (1.1% - IMF) thanks to improved tax revenues. The country’s debt-to-GDP ratio is among the lowest in the EU and was estimated at 33.5% in 2022. It is assumed to follow a downward path over the forecast horizon, at 31.2% in 2023 and 28.8% the following year. A sharp increase in imported commodities and in energy prices contributed to a record-high inflation rate of 7.2% in 2022 and forced the Riksbank to accelerate interest rate rises. Due to the delayed pass-through of the weakening in the krona exchange rate, inflation is expected to remain high this year (around 6.6%) before decelerating more consistently in 2024 (1.8% - EU Commission).

The country’s unemployment rate – at 7.6% in 2022 – returned to its pre-pandemic levels. Despite labour shortages in a wide range of sectors and the expected economic slowdown, the IMF sees the unemployment rate decreasing marginally in 2023 and 2024 (7.4% and 7.3%, respectively). Overall, Swedish citizens enjoy a high per capita GDP of USD 63,877 (PPP – 2022), 18.3% higher than the EU’s average (USD 53,960), and the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) estimates that only 2% of Sweden’s population lives in serious material poverty conditions. Nominal wage growth, however, has been lagging behind inflation, resulting in a reduction of households’ real disposable income.

Main Indicators 202020212022 (E)2023 (E)2024 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 547.05636.86585.94599.05615.49
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -
GDP per Capita (USD) 52,70660,93055,68955,39556,416
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -1.7-
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 39.536.331.732.332.9
Inflation Rate (%)
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force)
Current Account (billions USD) 32.2041.4624.9523.2124.01
Current Account (in % of GDP)

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, October 2021

Main Sectors of Industry

Agriculture represents 1.3% of the Swedish GDP and employs around 2% of the workforce (World Bank, latest data available). The main agricultural products are grains (particularly oats, wheat, barley, and rye), potatoes and other root crops, vegetables, and fruits, as well as dairy products, meat and wood. While production exceeds domestic consumption, a significant amount of food needs to be imported due to a lack of crop variety. Sweden has a wealth of natural resources: forests, iron, lead, copper, zinc and hydroelectric energy. The country has 3 million hectares of agricultural area and almost 28 million hectares of forest area (FAO), with a total of 58,218 agricultural holdings (data Swedish Board of Agriculture - 2022).

The industrial sector contributes 22.6% of GDP and employs 18% of the workforce. It is dominated by groups such as Volvo, Saab, Ericsson, ABB, AstraZeneca, Electrolux, Ikea, H&M, etc. Sweden's main manufacturing activities are steel, automotive, chemical, forestry, industrial machinery and equipment, automation and food processing equipment. The World Bank estimates that the manufacturing sector alone accounts for 13% of GDP. The new technologies and biotechnologies sectors are also of significant importance in the economy.

The tertiary sector, driven by telecommunications and IT equipment, employs 80% of the active workforce and contributes 64.8% of GDP. The banking sector is comprised of a total of 121 banks, including 41 commercial banks, 33 foreign banks, 45 savings banks and two cooperative banks; moreover, it employs around 2% of the workforce, accounts for 4.5% of GDP and contributes to 10% of the corporate taxes revenue (European Banking Federation). The travel and tourism industry is also important to the Swedish economy: according to the latest data from Visitory, between January-October 2022 registered accommodation sales reached SEK 32.2 billion, marking an increase of EUR 17.3 billion from the previous year, with the country receiving almost 6 million arrivals from foreign tourists (+21.1% year-on-year).

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 1.7 18.4 79.9
Value Added (in % of GDP) 1.3 22.6 64.8
Value Added (Annual % Change) 3.2 5.7 4.8

Source: World Bank, Latest Available Data. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.


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Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.}}

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation


Business environment ranking


The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

World Rank:

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit - Business Environment Rankings 2020-2024


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Climate and Enterprise
Statistical Office
Statistics Sweden
Central Bank
Stock Exchange
Stockholm Stock Exchange
Economic Portals
Einnews Sweden

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Actualitzacions: September 2023

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