Not since 2004 has Sweden had a trade surplus with China. Two key factors are the development in the Gothenburg region’s automotive cluster and the closer business ties between the two countries.
Car exports to China increased by 71 per cent during the first half of the year, compared with the same period in 2016, according to an analysis from Business Region Göteborg.
The total value of Sweden's car exports increased by 13 per cent, adjusted for inflation.
USA is still the largest market for automotive exports; a position it has held since mid-2015. Car exports to USA remain at a very high level and during the first half of the year were on par with the same period the previous year.
During the first half of the year, Sweden’s total goods exports to China rose to 30 billion Swedish krona while imports totalled 29 billion Swedish krona. This gives a trade surplus of 1 billion Swedish krona.
“Since 2004, a lot has happened to the economies, industry structure, and trade patterns of both countries. More recently we’ve seen closer collaboration between automotive actors in the Gothenburg region and China. This has created good preconditions for Swedish products, in particular cars, on the Chinese market,” says Peter Warda, analyst at Business Region Göteborg.
The economy continues to thrive in the Gothenburg region
Business Region Göteborg has noted 29 consecutive quarters with jobs growth. For the second quarter of 2017, jobs growth was 1.4 per cent. The unemployment level in the Gothenburg region (5.7 per cent) is still the lowest among Sweden’s metropolitan regions. Meanwhile, unemployment among foreign-born residents remains relatively high, but is at a lower level than for all of Sweden.
“The region’s new jobs continue to be created in and around the construction and automotive industries as well as in ICT industries. The urban development projects in the region require continual renewal of the workforce,” says Peter Warda.
“There is space for companies to grow more, but certain branches are having difficulties finding personnel with the right expertise. And this is preventing a faster rate of growth.”