Business News in Brief: Denmark has lowest rate of inflation in Europe

Elsewhere, there’s good news for Lego, Rema 1000 and very possibly pensioners should their eternal friend Dansk Folkeparti get its way over new tax legislation

Denmark has the lowest inflation rate in Europe, according to Eurostat. Its rate of 0.7 percent over the last year compares favourably with the EU average of 2.1 percent.

Less affected by oil prices
According to Lars Olsen, an analyst at Nationalbanken, Denmark is less affected by rising oil prices than other European countries. Danes are less dependent on oil for heating and running their cars, he told DR.

However, oil prices have contributed to the rising cost of air travel (up 7.8 percent), and car prices have also shot up, resulting in an overall 0.8 percent rise in the price of household goods and services, according to Danmarks Statistik.

Fall in food prices
The rising costs were offset by a 0.8 percent fall in food prices. For example, port products have decreased by 3.4 percent, and poultry products have also dipped. The price of clothes, toys, electronics and confectionery also fell.

Meanwhile, wages rose by 2.6 percent, although Olsen cautions that Danes aren’t better off as more are in debt than most other Europeans.

“I don’t think we’ll see Christmas consumption exploding, even though the numbers look good,” he said.

Risky mortgages halved in number thanks to new legislation
The proportion of mortgages considered risky by the Business Ministry fell by six percentage points over the first half of 2018 – confirmation that a tightening of the rules at the start of the year is working, concludes the relevant minister, Rasmus Jarlov. Just 6 percent were risky during the second quarter, compared to 12 percent in the final quarter of 2017. Loans are described as risky if the total is more than four times the total household income, or if various interest rate criteria aren’t met. The lion’s share of risky loans are handed out in Copenhagen, where the percentage fell from 19 to 8 over the same time period.

Pensioners paying more into welfare pool than ever before
Pensioners are paying more tax because more are working past the state retirement age of 65, according to an analysis by think-tank Cepos. The situation is a win-win for the state as it accordingly pays them a reduced pension. Contributions from private pensions are also topping up the coffers. Dansk Folkeparti, forever the friend of the Danish elderly, would like to see working pensioners given a greatly reduced tax bill.

Rema 1000 confirmed as nation’s top supermarket for third consecutive year
Discount chain Rema 1000 has topped the Loyalty Group’s Danish supermarket rankings for the third consecutive year. The rankings are based on the responses of 4,300 customers who assess seven categories: Availability, Service Quality, Product Quality, Value for Money, Trust, Ecology, and Image. The top five was completed by Lidl, Meny, SuperBrugsen and Kvickly. The rankings were mostly unchanged from last year. The only chain to fall significantly was Bilka, while Lokal/Dagli’ Brugsen was the biggest climber, rising three places to number nine.

Another victory for Lego against Lepin label, but not the end
Lego has won another case against copycat producers in China – this time against four companies making products under the ‘Lepin’ label, which closely resembles the Danish toy manufacturer’s products, right down to the packaging and logo. The victory was an important one for Lego, but industry experts remain concerned that there are many more grey areas out there that still need to be addressed.

Danfoss to create jobs in UK … and it’s all thanks to Brexit, or is it?
As more Danish companies consider moving production to the UK to avoid the probable tariffs they’ll have to pay after Brexit, tech giant Danfoss has confirmed it is constructing a new manufacturing plant in Midlothian, Scotland, which will initially generate 30 local jobs, and as many as 200 in the years to come. But Brexit might not be the only motive, as Danfoss recently took a majority share in Scottish vehicle hydraulic machinery specialists Artemis Intelligent Power, and the plant will be built next to that company’s Loanhead base.

Household water costs should fall following Supreme Court victory
The Supreme Court has ruled that water companies have been paying too much in tax. The result should, therefore, be reduced prices for the public – around 200-300 kroner per household per year. The judgement brought to an end a ten-year battle with the SKAT tax agency.

TDC launching new channel in partnership with Fox Networks Group
Telecoms giant TDC has confirmed that its YouSee brand is launching a new TV channel in partnership with Fox Networks Group, which will be called ‘Xee’. The channel will broadcast a mix of Danish and US programs.