Swedish inflation fell below 10% in May, official statistics showed, but was still higher than expected with some analysts suggesting superstar Beyoncé had tipped the scales.
Consumer prices rose by 9.7% in May year-on-year, down from 10.5% in April, the first time inflation has come in under 10% in over six months.
A decrease in electricity and food prices contributed to the lower inflation rate in May,said Statistics Sweden, while at the same time, costs of certain goods and services rose. “For instance hotel and restaurant visits, recreational services, and clothing,” the agency said.
According to Michael Grahn, chief economist for Sweden at Danske Bank, a visit by Beyoncé to Stockholm could explain why the rate was higher than expected
“Beyoncé’s start of her world tour in Sweden seems to have coloured May inflation, how much is uncertain,” Grahn said in a post to social media.
Grahn said that her much-hyped concert in May “probably” accounted for 0.2 of the 0.3 percentage points added to inflation by hotels and restaurant prices.
Tens of thousands of fans flocked to Stockholm in the middle of May to catch the two concerts that kicked off her first solo tour in seven years. Estimates put the crowd at each concert at 46,000, with some forced to stay outside the capital as hotels filled up.
It was reported that a number of fans had travelled from overseas to see the shows, taking advantage of the weak Swedish currency and lower ticket prices.
Grahn told the Wall Street Journal that the effect was “very rare” and he expected the situation to return to normal in June. However, one economist told the Financial Times that Sweden could experience a similar inflation bump when Bruce Springsteen plays three nights of concerts in Gothenburg June.
Inflation in Sweden peaked in December at 12.3% – a more than 30-year high – then slowed slightly in January to 11.7%, but unexpectedly spiked back to 12% in February.
Like its peers in the United States and Europe, Sweden’s central bank has repeatedly hiked its guiding rate in an effort to rein in inflation.
The Riksbank raised the rate to 3.5% in late April and said it would “probably” raise it by another quarter-point in June or September.
With Agence France-Presse
Guardian staff and agencies
Published: 2023-06-15 01:58:39