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Sweden Is Hot, Hot, Hot: Strategists

Friday, 20 Jul 2012 | 3:11 AM ET
Stockholm
Ellen Rooney | Getty Images
Stockholm

Don't look now, but the Swedish krona is on a bit of a tear.

For the past few months, the krona has been strengthening nicely against bigger currencies like the euro and the dollar.

But don't worry - if you've missed the ride, the strategists at HSBC say there is more to come.

The Swedish krona "appears to be in the midst of an upwards re-rating by the markets which could well see its strength continue and extend," they wrote in a note to clients.

Several short-term factors are boosting the krona, the strategists say. The euro zone crisis is pushing down the euro against a number of other currencies, and the latest interest rate cut by the European Central Bank has further widened the rate gap between Sweden and Europe in the krona's favor.

On top of that, the krona is usually sensitive to stock market moves, and recent European market strength is giving the currency a lift.

In Ugly World Swedish Krona Looks Beautiful: Strategist
"You have got to find something that you like in this ugly world we live in and Sweden has turned a corner it is not as volatile as it used to be, not as tied into Europe as it used to be. In a pre-2007 world we'd be luke warm about it but in this ugly world boy does it look beautiful" David Bloom, global head of Foreign Exchange Strategy, at HSBC, told CNBC.

But there is more. Sweden has a large current account surplus, and export volumes are holding up. The country's budget balance is close to flat, which the strategists say leave room for fiscal stimulus if it becomes necessary.

As for valuation, HSBC has looked at purchasing power parity between the krona and other currencies, and found that "the krona is 5 percent ‘cheap’ compared with the JPY, 16 percent cheap to the CHF and 19 percent cheap to the NOK."

And unlike policymakers in those other countries, who have been battling verbally or otherwise to keep their currencies in check, "those in Sweden do not appear at all concerned about the value of the SEK," the strategists say.

Putting all this together, the HSBC strategists conclude that "in a global ugly contest, SEK appears increasingly attractive, and it seems likely that its recent strength will be continued and extended. We now expect the recent gains to be extended by another 5% by the end of the year."

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