Denmark’s economy grows via consumption

Newly released data hints that Danes are starting to increase their spending after years of weak consumer demand.

Denmark's economy grows via consumption
While official data suggests Danes are becoming more willing to part with their money, a chief economist expressed caution that the change might not last. Photo: Colourbox
The Danish economy swung back to growth in the first quarter, bolstered by private consumption and investment, official data showed on Wednesday.
The Danish economy contracted by 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, when private consumption data was skewed by insurance companies' payouts following two storms.
The country has been plagued by weak consumer demand after a housing bubble burst six years ago.
The 0.9-percent increase in first-quarter economic output reflected "a recovery in industry, commerce and transport," Statistics Denmark said.
"Private consumption, investment and changes in inventories contributed positively to the increase in demand, while public consumption fell," it said.
The government said on Tuesday that "there are many signs that growth is returning" and that it believes growth will reach 1.5 percent this year and 2.0 percent next year.
Handelsbanken chief economist Jes Asmussen cautioned that growth in the first quarter was partly due to a build-up in inventories and because of the insurance payments made in the previous quarter.
"The impression is that there were a few temporary effects that contributed to growth in the first quarter, which may well fade away in the current quarter," he said, according to news agency Ritzau.

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‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.