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Sweden sees E5.5bn pension surplus

SWEDEN – The Swedish government says a 51 billion-crown (5.5 billion-euro) surplus in the pension system will offset a higher central government deficit in 2005.

“Next year, an increased central government deficit will be balanced by an increased surplus in the old-age pension system,” the finance ministry said.

It said the central government would show a deficit of 42 billion crowns, with the old-age pension system showing a surplus of 51 billion crowns.

“The allocation of net lending between central government and the old-age pension system means that the improvement in the financial position takes the form of increased assets in the old-age pension system,” the ministry said.

Swedish budget policy objectives state that public finances, that is central government, municipal, county council and pension system finances, should show a surplus of two per cent of gross domestic product over a business cycle. The government said this target remains “firm”.

Announcing the government’s Spring fiscal policy bill, the ministry said: “The international economy is emerging from the downturn it has experienced in recent years and strengthened in the second half of 2003.” It added: “Growth is expected to reach 2.5% this year and 2.6% in 2005.”

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