Why the Riksbank is requesting SEK 43.7 billion as a capital injection

At the beginning of April, the Riksbank submitted a petition to the Riksdag for a capital injection of SEK 43.7 billion. Here is some background to help explain why this happened:

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Basically, this is a matter of complying with the new Sveriges Riksbank Act, which came into force on 1 January 2023.

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Among other things, this sets a target level, a base level and a minimum level for the amount of equity the Riksbank should have. The act states that, if equity falls below the set minimum level, the Riksbank shall approach the Riksdag (the Swedish parliament) to request a contribution to restore equity to at least the base level.

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This is what the Riksbank did in its petition for a capital injection of SEK 43.7 billion that was submitted to the Riksdag at the beginning of April this year. With this petition as a basis, the Riksdag then decides how much capital should be transferred to the Riksbank.

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The Riksbank’s equity has fallen below the minimum level above all due to the loss reported by the Riksbank in 2022. The loss was due to a sharp rise in interest rates both in Sweden and abroad that year, which in turn was due to inflation rising very rapidly. The higher interest rates meant that the market value of the Riksbank’s bonds in Swedish kronor and foreign currency decreased to a level below the acquisition value.

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Under the accounting principles used by the Riksbank, this is recorded as an unrealised loss. In other words, even though the bonds were not sold, their reduced market value was considered a loss and this resulted in the Riksbank’s equity decreasing and becoming negative.

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“A negative equity does not affect the Riksbank’s ability to conduct monetary policy in the short term. But to maintain confidence in an independent monetary policy in the long term, it is necessary that the Riksbank is financially independent, that is, has sufficient equity and earnings to cover its costs,” as Erik Thedéen, Governor of the Riksbank, puts it.

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Updated 13/05/2024