Sub-zero interest rates have become the norm in some countries, especially in Europe. Nordic nations such as Sweden and Denmark have been in negative territory for a while and a growing number of banks in the region are now charging depositors for keeping their money. Saving in fiat right now, unlike cryptocurrencies lately, leads to losses, although loans and mortgages aren’t free of charge per se. A leading Swedish bank has imposed a negative interest rate of -0.40% on euro accounts, while the ECB is reportedly preparing for a new rate cut.
Your Euro Savings Will Cost You Money in Sweden
Sveriges Riksbank, the central bank of Sweden which is the largest economy in Scandinavia, cut its interest rate to 0% in late 2014 and introduced negative rates in early 2015. It has kept them there ever since with the aim of fighting deflationary pressures. The Swedish krona, among other currencies in the periphery of the Eurozone, has been appreciating with dangerously low inflation, from a traditional standpoint.
After going down to a record low -0.5% in February 2016, and staying there for a while, Riksbank increased the interest rate to -0.25% towards the end of last year. This July, Riksbank kept its key repo rate at that level. Despite the relatively strong economic activity in the country and inflation staying close to the 2% target, the financial regulator noted the need to proceed with a cautious monetary policy, given the risks to the global outlook.
Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB), a major Swedish lender, has recently lowered its long-term mortgage rates. Interest on five-year loans has been decreased in July by 0.35% to 1.95% and by 0.41% to 2.99% for the 10-year mortgages.