Sweden's Riksbank holds policy unchanged, sees first rate hike at end 2024

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By Simon Johnson

STOCKHOLM, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Sweden's central bank left policy unchanged on Thursday, arguing that currently above-target inflation would ease back next year and pencilling in its first rate hike since the COVID-19 pandemic struck for the end of 2024.

The benchmark repo rate has been at zero since the start of 2020 and the Riksbank has been in no hurry to tighten policy despite a rapid recovery from the effects of the pandemic.

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If inflation is to be close to the target in the longer term, cost pressures need to increase more permanently. This requires continued support from monetary policy, the central bank said in a statement.

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The Riksbank also stuck to plans to maintain its balance sheet through next year before allowing the portfolio to decrease gradually.

While the Bank is in no rush to raise the repo rate, the insertion of a rate hike into the end of its three-year projection period means it is no longer as decidedly dovish, David Oxley, Senior European Economist at Capital Economics, said in a note.

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