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Danish central bank says house prices will fall and inflation continue in 2023

Denmark’s central bank Nationalbanken predicts a decline in house prices in 2023 and 2024 in a new economic forecast.

Danish central bank says house prices will fall and inflation continue in 2023
House prices will fall as inflation continues in Denmark next year, according to a new central bank forecast. File photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix

The prediction on house prices is included in the National Bank’s latest review of the Danish economy’s prospects.

According to the central bank, house prices will fall by an average of 5.6 percent in 2023. They will continue to fall in 2024, dropping by 1.8 percent.

The latest prognosis represents a departure from the previous forecast issued by the national bank in March, in which it said it expected house prices to increase by 1.7 percent next year and by 2.1 percent in 2024.

READ ALSO: Should you buy now if you’re looking for a property in Denmark?

The economy is expected to have a tough year in 2023, according to the Nationalbanken forecast.

Inflation will be 4.3 percent, the central bank says, meaning another year of stinging price increases, albeit at a lower level of inflation than the 8.6 percent expected for the whole of 2022.

In 2024, inflation will return to a lower level of 1.7 percent.

Although GDP is predicted to be up by 2 percent at the end of this year, it will drop by 0.1 percent in 2023 before a 1.2 percent increase in 2024.

GDP predictions are also more pessimistic than they were in the March forecast, which expected a 2.1 growth in 2023.

“We can prepare ourselves for a period with weakened [economic] activity and a fall in employment,” the director of the National Bank, Lars Rohde, said in statements accompanying the release of the forecast.

“But it should be kept in mind that this is happening [in Denmark] at a conjuncture following the coronavirus pandemic, which caused a very pressed labour market,” he said.

“It is important to bring down the high inflation. That will require a significant tightening of financial policies and that will unfortunately be felt by everyone – companies and individuals,” he said.

“If we don’t get inflation under control, the costs for society will just get even bigger,” he said to DR.

EXPLAINED: What’s causing the highest inflation rate in Denmark for almost 40 years?

Projected high energy prices this winter are among causes for the expected continuation of inflation next year. Interest rates have also been pushed up.

Unemployment is predicted to increase slightly but will remain at a comparatively low level of 89,000 next year, Nationalbanken said.

Denmark’s unemployment rate is lower than in most other European countries, resulting in a labour shortage.

“The combination of great strain in the labour market, high demand and high inflation create the risk of a self-fulfilling wage-price spiral in Denmark. We therefore believe that fiscal policy must be tightened as soon as possible to significantly bring down demand. This should be by more than what the government proposes in the draft budget,” Rohde told DR.

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COST OF LIVING

How much will electricity tax cut save bill payers in Denmark?

Denmark is to reduce electricity tax to almost zero, in one of a number of measures announced on Friday to help households cope with soaring costs. How much do bill payers stand to save, and is the tax cut a good solution for the predicament?

How much will electricity tax cut save bill payers in Denmark?

A broad majority in the Danish parliament has agreed a new package of cost-saving measures for homes this winter, including sunk electricity taxes and increased family welfare.

Parliament has agreed the new measures to provide additional help to people, particularly families, who are struggling with energy costs.

A core component of the package includes lowering the electricity tax from 69.7 øre per kilowatt-hour to 0.8 øre – equivalent to the minimum rate permitted by the EU – for the first six months of 2023. An øre, literally translating to ‘ear,’ is a kroner-cent. 

This measure alone is estimated to cost the Danish state 3.5 billion kroner, while the total cost of the package to the government is around five billion kroner. The deal could be officially adopted by parliament as early as next week.

READ ALSO: Denmark announces new winter aid package for households

The decision is the latest in a number of measures taken by the Danish government in response to record energy prices.

As a result of supply stoppages for Russian gas, on top of inflation, energy prices in Denmark are at record levels, with high costs set to persist throughout the winter.

“Danes are hit hard by inflation. That can already be felt now. We can look ahead to a winter when it will be even more prominent,” Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen said at a press briefing on Friday at which the new package was presented.

“It’s important that we don’t provoke further inflation but we must also help Danes and keep Denmark on the right track. That is what we are doing with this agreement,” he said.

The cut to electricity taxes could save individual households between 1,000 and 2,000 kroner on their bills, according to an expert who spoke to Danish news wire Ritzau.

READ ALSO: How much will Danish energy bills go up this winter?

Despite this, the decision to cut energy tax may not prove to be the best fix for the issue, he said.

“With these initiatives a household will be able to spare between 1,000 and 2,000 kroner on their electricity bill,” Brian Vad Mathiesen, professor in energy planning at Aalborg University, told Ritzau.

“I think it would have been better to send a cheque to all households with a set amount and then keep the electricity tax,” he said.

The government has previously sent one-off payments to selected households in response to the energy crisis. In August, around 400,000 homes in Denmark received 6,000 kroner towards gas bills. To receive the money, the homes had to be primarily gas heated and under a specified total income level, among other criteria.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s state auditor to review potential errors in energy relief payments

But the government has said it wants to limit relief in the form of lump sums because this risks worsening inflation.

Mathiesen said that cutting the electricity tax could have the unwanted effect of removing the incentive for homes to save on electricity use.

More efficient use of energy is the most important tool in the current climate of extremely high energy prices, he said.

“What you risk is that people will take their foot off the brake on energy consumption and that could be harmful in relation to price setting – we could actually experience higher prices than expected,” he said.

The energy planning expert called for more government initiatives that would encourage the Danish public to restrict its energy consumption.

“I also note that there are some long-term initiatives to switch back to district heating [from individual gas heaters, thereby reducing gas consumption for heating, ed.]. I hope that there will be more of these savings initiatives. Both for households and businesses, because that is something that can reduce inflation,” he said.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: When should I turn on my heating in Denmark this year?

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