Swedish companies are going bankrupt at a 'remarkable' rate, surging 72% since last year

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Bankruptcies in Sweden extended their streak of annual increases to 21 months in April, according to data from Creditsafe, which expects no immediate relief even as inflation slows and rate cuts are approaching.

The number of bankruptcies was 72% higher in April than a year ago, the credit reference agency said in a statement. The increase was led by e-commerce, real estate, hotels and restaurants, and 942 companies went bankrupt last month, marking the highest number in a month of April since 1994.  

“While we’re starting to get used to this bleak trend of increasing bankruptcies, the large percentage increases in the last six months are remarkable,” Henrik Jacobsson, chief executive at Creditsafe’s Swedish unit, said, adding the rise is likely to continue in coming months. 

Price increases and higher borrowing costs have been particularly hard to cope with for construction and commercial property companies, and restaurants and retailers have also seen demand decline as households hold back on spending. In the first four months of the year, bankruptcies in the construction industry increased by 63%, while defaults among restaurants and hotels rose by 80%.

After a slew of inflation readings that have shown moderating price increases, the country’s central bank is expected to cut its benchmark rate either next week or in June, starting an easing campaign that could bring some relief to struggling companies. 

“While there are positive signs, with slowing inflation and the possibility of future rate cuts, it will take time before that has a noticeable effect on companies’ financials,” Jacobsson said.

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