Since the publication of the stability report last autumn, inflation has slowed somewhat in the large economies but is still significantly higher than the central banks’ inflation targets. Monetary policy has therefore been tightened further, and interest rates continued to rise. High inflation and rising interest rates mean that the forecasts for global economic development continue to be weak.
During 2022, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) carried out a special assessment of the financial sector in Sweden, a so-called FSAP (Financial Sector Assessment Program). FSAPs are conducted regularly for member countries with systemically important financial markets. The most recent FSAP for Sweden by the IMF was in 2016.
In 2019, FI’s overarching mandate was expanded to include a responsibility to ensure that the financial system contributes to sustainable development. FI is also the responsible supervisory authority for a number of new regulations related to sustainable finance that are the result of the EU’s ambitious sustainability agenda.
Rising interest rates, decreased risk-taking and a slowing economy are weighing on highly indebted commercial real estate firms and households. The rapid transition to higher interest rates and a decreased willingness to take risk means financial stability risks have increased since spring. At the same time, this transition may lead to lower risk-taking and indebtedness in the long run, thus lowering stability risks.
High inflation has led to rapidly rising interest rates. Given the current rapid change in conditions, both participants on the financial markets and borrowers need to transition quickly. In the short term, this means elevated risks and greater uncertainty. The already high risks in the commercial real estate sector have continued to increase.
FI’s Director General Erik Thedéen participated in a panel discussion on the opportunities and risks associated with increased application of artificial intelligence and machine learning within lending and advice to households. Before he described FI’s view on this topic, Thedéen commented briefly on FI’s current assessment of the stability of the Swedish financial system.
Interest rates are rising rapidly in the wake of high inflation. High interest rates and lower risk appetite are placing downward pressure on risk-taking and asset prices. In the long term, this can slow the growth of debt and benefit financial stability. However, the large debts that built up over the extended period of low interest rates are putting pressure on highly indebted households and firms.
Interest rates and interest rate expectations have increased in 2022 due to high and rising inflation. One sector that is vulnerable to rising interest rates is the commercial real estate sector. FI has also noted that liquidity on the bond markets has decreased, and the functionality of the corporate bond market is once again impaired.
The financial sector must quickly become better at preventing and handling cyber threats. Customers and society at large must be able to trust that the critical services offered by financial corporations will function even during periods of uncertainty and in the presence of threats. As commissioned by the government, Finansinspektionen (FI) therefore has proposed a number of measures to increase resilience to cyber attacks in the financial sector.