STOCKHOLM, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Sweden's central bank held its benchmark interest rate at -0.50 percent and its quantitative easing programme unchanged as expected on Wednesday, but indicated that it could still loosen policy further if necessary.
"The Executive Board is still prepared to make monetary policy more expansionary if the upward trend in inflation were to be threatened and confidence in the inflation target weakened"," it said in a statement.
The Riksbank said that economic activity was strengthening, but there was considerable political uncertainty abroad and the risks of setbacks had increased.
With underlying inflation in December within touching distance of the central bank's 2 percent target, all 18 analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast no change in current policy. (Reporting by Stockholm Newsroom; Editing by Toby Chopra)