June 18, 2020 / 8:38 AM / 16 days ago

UPDATE 1-Swedish economy to shrink slightly less than previously expected in 2020- Fin Min

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STOCKHOLM, June 18 (Reuters) - The Swedish economy is expected to shrink around 6% this year, slightly less than in the previous forecast, Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson told reporters on Thursday.

Unlike most other western European countries, Sweden has not opted for a hard lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Spain’s economy could contract by up to 11.6% in 2020, its central bank said, while Britain was forecast to slump by 11.5%.

However, the export-dependent Swedish economy will still take a deep hit.

“We have seen some positive signs that we might have reached the bottom and are on our way back up,” Andersson told reporters.

Andersson said the Swedish pandemic strategy likely had had a positive impact on the economy but that such considerations never played into the decision to keep the country open.

“We have listened to the Public Health Agency and followed its recommendations,” she said.

Andersson said the economy is expected to grow by 3.0% in 2021 and by 4.4% in 2022.

In its previous forecast from May the government had GDP declining around 7% this year. (Reporting by Johan Ahlander, Editing by Helena Soderpalm and Toby Chopra)

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