Swedish household debt levels high, not alarming -minister

KARLSTAD, Sweden, March 15 Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:59am EDT

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KARLSTAD, Sweden, March 15 (Reuters) - Financial Markets Minister Peter Norman on Friday played down worries about high levels of household debt, one of the reasons the central bank has kept its key rate on hold at 1 percent rather than cutting it further.

"It (debt levels) isn't alarming. It is high. Sweden and households themselves would be in better shape if it was a bit lower," Norman told Reuters.

He said he did not believe Sweden should have a strict rule that mortgage borrowers make monthly repayments to bring down the size of their loans rather than just paying the interest.

He said amortization of loans was a good thing, but there were periods in life, such as unemployment, when paying off loans was not possible. (Reporting by Simon Johnson and Johan Sennero, editing by Patrick Lannin)

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