More Swedish wine
The heat of the summer yielded record harvests for Swedish wine growers. While the Swedish wine association believes the harvest is 30-50 percent larger than normal, it remains to be seen if 2018 becomes a top year for quality, too. For Sweden, the harvest of the year is about 200 tons of grapes (compare with, for example, California’s 4 million tons per year).

Cashless society 2.0
Within two years, the e-crown will see the light of day in a trial version in Sweden, according to the chairman of Sweden’s National bank (Riksbanken), Stefan Ingves. Digital payment solutions drive new consumer behaviors and re-draw the game plan for everyone from retailers to banks. In Sweden, the amount of cash in circulation has halved over 10 years, making a unique situation in Sweden since the nominal amount of outstanding cash still increases in most countries. The cash share of Sweden’s GDP has also shrunk at a fast pace, to one percent of GDP. Compare this with the EU average or 10 percent or 20 percent in Japan. Banknotes and coins have historically been the government’s tools to guarantee the availability of funds through the Riksbanken. In the cashless society, the citizens risk being at the mercy of private banks and financial institutions, which could go bankrupt, Ingves said. The Riksbanken therefore investigates the possibility for an e-crown - digital cash, which like banknotes and coins can be exchanged without the involvement of private banks. Several countries around the world are investigating electronic cash and Uruguay has already introduced a digital peso.

Tourists shop for billions
Swedish retail revenues from foreign tourist shoppers came to SEK 63 billion ($7 billion) in 2017, an increase of 9 billion ($1 billion) compared to the previous year. The increase is as high as the fast-growing e-commerce during the same period. The new shopping figures are part of a report from the trade association Svensk Handel. The 63 billion reflects retail sales in 151 of the nation’s 290 municipalities, according to the report. Of that amount, SEK 13.4 billion is VAT revenue that ends up in the treasury. If you also count consumption by tourists from Sweden the total revenue from shopping tourism is 95 billion, a figure that has increased by a total of 10 billion. In terms of shopping, foreign tourists differ from tourists from Sweden: The Swede spends half his budget on travel, transportation and accommodation while tourists from abroad spend almost as much - 47 percent - on retail.