From 1974 through 1985, Sweden ran annual current-account deficits (except in 1984) because of increases in world oil prices and a decline in the competitiveness of Swedish export products on the world market. Until 1977, deficits were financed mainly through long-term foreign private borrowing by the private sector. Thereafter, however, central government borrowing expanded rapidly. Current account deficits increased through much of the 1990s, but a turnaround began in 1996 when the deficit comprised 2% of GDP after a high of 12% in 1993. A rebounding trade balance surplus and a turnaround in direct investment aided in the improvement. The lifting of controls on foreign direct investment, combined with improved competitiveness accruing from greater wage restraint and rising productivity, are expected to bring continued interest in investing in Sweden. Also attractive is Sweden's liberal international investment policy, allowing 100% foreign ownership of virtually any sector, other than certain types of transportation and arms manufacture. The current account surplus was expected to narrow in 2003/04.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2002 the purchasing power parity of Sweden's exports was $80.6 billion while imports totaled $68.6 billion resulting in a trade surplus of $12 billion.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports that in 2001 Sweden had exports of goods totaling $76.2 billion and imports totaling $62.4 billion. The services credit totaled $22 billion and debit $23 billion. The following table summarizes Sweden's balance of payments as reported by the IMF for 2001 in millions of US dollars.
|Balance on goods||13,832|
|Balance on services||-1,023|
|Balance on income||-2,852|
|Direct investment abroad||-6,959|
|Direct investment in Sweden||13,085|
|Portfolio investment assets||-23,041|
|Portfolio investment liabilities||10,338|
|Other investment assets||929|
|Other investment liabilities||12,689|
|Net Errors and Omissions||-10,078|
|Reserves and Related Items||1,048|