Interest rates set to rise.
Two of Sweden’s biggest banks, SEB and Nordea, have predicted that the Riksbank will raise its benchmark interest rate to 2 percent by the end of next year from its current level of 0.25 percent. SEB has predicted the rate to reach 2 percent by the end of 2010 and 3 percent the following year. SEB's new economic forecast also sees a turnaround in fortunes for Sweden's GDP, which it expects to plummet by 5 percent this year only to grow by 2 percent next year and a further 2.6 percent in 2011. Unemployment is set to rise from 8.4 percent this year to 10.5 percent in 2010 and 10.7 percent in 2011. "Last winter's drama was of historic proportions, but it has also been met by crisis policies of historic proportions," said SEB chief economist Robert Bergqvist. "Also, the effect of the crisis policies has been stronger than we expected. So the situation is looking better than it did three months ago," he added. SEB expects unemployment to reach its peak in autumn of next year, meaning that this winter's collective bargaining process will be carried out in a difficult period. SEB believes this will lead to very low wage increases. "We expect these to be the lowest agreements since the 1990s, with wage increases under 2 percent," said Bergqvist.

Jonny Johansson—Designer of the Year.
The Swedish magazine Café chose Jonny Johansson as the Designer of the Year. Johansson established the fashion label Acne in 1997 with three of his friends. The idea was to create a lifestyle by the production of desirable products in any category. “We didn’t want to participate in fashion in the first place,” Johansson explained. “We wanted to be on the outside. But of course, you end up in the heat of it eventually.” Acne is a sophisticated brand and you can find Acne jeans worn by hip celebs like Chloë Sevigny, Sofia Coppola and Alexa Chung. Acne’s clothes can be found in several stores throughout Sweden, as well as in New York and Paris and some other 30 countries around the world. How does Jonny want to see us dressed for fall? Think Bob Dylan meets a modern–day European metropol …. If that’s a bit difficult to imagine, check out their Web site:

More foreign doctors.
Every other doctor in Sweden comes from and was educated abroad. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), the brain drain of doctors to rich countries is threatening to cause the collapse of healthcare systems in poor countries. Says Martin Stjernquist, program director of the medical school at Lund University: “It is immoral that a rich country like Sweden is profiting from these poor countries.” In 2007, 1,400 foreign physicians received medical licenses in Sweden—the equivalent of 60% of all new licenses granted that year. At the same time there is a major shortage of doctors in poor countries, many countries such as France and the UK are recruiting healthcare workers from their former colonies.“It’s a form of neo-colonialism,” Eva Nilsson Bågenholm, head of the Swedish Medical Association (Sveriges läkarförbund), said. Many Swedes also choose to study medicine abroad. Said Yosef Tyson, head of the Swedish Medical Students Union (Medicine studerandes förbund): “Every third Swedish medical student studies abroad.” Many Swedes attend medical school in Denmark, which has led Helge Sander, Danish Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, to petition Sweden to increase its number of study places.

Tuva to Hollywood.
Swedish actress and singer Tuva Novotny is in Rome right now, making a movie with none other than Julia Roberts. And the movie is “Eat, pray, love” based on the best-selling book by Elizabeth Gilbert. Other stars in the same movie are James Franco and Javier Bardem. Tuva plays Sophie, a Swedish girl that befriends Julia Robert’s character in Rome.

Take your workout outdoors.
Do like the big stars (Denise Richards, Jennifer Aniston, Jake Gyllenhaal and Justin Timberlake to name only a few), dress according to the weather and bring your workout tools outside. No more waiting in line for the machines at the gym. No more loud music playing. Magnus Pilegård is a personal trainer and he gives us tips on how to stay in shape outside. “You get a good dose of fresh air at the same time,” he says. “And the latest trend with functional training, where you work on flexibility and balance and work out several muscle groups at the same time, fits very well with working in the outdoors.” And there is no excuse anymore—most of us have some kind of outdoors area reasonably nearby where we can train. “Invest in a couple of elastic exercise bands, a Pilates ball and a yoga mat—then you can really work out your entire body outdoors,” Pilegård says. Here are some movements to start with: traditional sit-ups, push-ups and don’t forget to go for a run while you’re at it.

No love for the unemployed.
Over 50% of all Swedish singles do not want to date someone who is unemployed, according to a fresh study. That doesn’t bode well for the 112,000 unemployed singles in Sweden. And it’s worst for the men, since Swedish women are a bit more picky. Every 5th single woman says it’s impossible for her to date an unemployed man, while on the other hand men are a bit more forgiving. Says 22-year-old Sandra Lundin: “I would date an unemployed only if he is really fighting to get a job. And 33-year-old Jenny Johansson agrees: “It depends a bit on how long he’s been without a job.”

Swedes don’t eat their veggies.
According to a recent study, Swedes don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables. The European organization Freshfel notes that Sweden is on the 17th spot among the 28 countries that participated in the study. And Livsmedelsverket (the National Food Administration) agrees: “Only one out of ten follows our advice of eating 500 grams of fruit and vegetables every day, and the consumption of potatoes has gone down,” says Ulf Bohman, director of the department of nutrition at Livsmedelsverket. Still, Swedes eat much more fruit and vegetables than they did in the 1960s. Bohman believes it’s the fact that fruits and vegetables aren’t as readily available as they ought to be. “It’s a good thing that fruit is now being sold in kiosks,” he says.

What would Stockholm be without Rolf’s kök?
Not much, at least not if you talk to Metro’s Björn af Kleen who marvels over the red wine braised cheeks of ox and the bottle of Barbera d’Asti he had there. The personnel and the famous décor, he concludes, adds to Rolf being one trustworthy restaurateur. Eating a Crème Ninon at Rolf’s is something af Kleen likens to “putting your foot in a brand new Italian loafer made of calf-leather.” Rolfs kök opened in 1989, when Rolf realized he was tired of working in a closed-up kitchen without any contact with the guests. In his world he wanted them to feel like guests for real, not like anonymous table numbers or names on the reservation list. It was time to open Rolfs Kök (Rolf’s Kitchen). For more, see

Only 375 Saabs sold in a month.
What’s going to happen to Saab? Is it now time for the last rites? When Expressen polled its readers whether or not they would buy a Saab next time they buy a car, 56% said: “Yes, why not” and 44% said: “No, it seems risky.” During the month of August, only 375 Saabs were sold, compared to 1013 sold last year in August. Volvo, on the other hand, is steadily increasing their sales. Last August 2307 Volvos were sold; this year the number is 2468. For Saab it may be these sad numbers are just the beginning of a long and cold fall to come.