Thursday, December 7

Sweden, Finland to offer liquidity guarantees to energy firms

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STOCKHOLM/HELSINKI — Finland and Sweden on Sunday announced plans to offer billions of dollars in liquidity guarantees to energy companies in their countries after Russia’s Gazprom shut the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, deepening Europe’s energy crisis.

Finland is aiming to offer 10 billion euros ($9.95 billion) and Sweden plans to offer 250 billion Swedish crowns ($23.2 billion) in liquidity guarantees.

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Swedish Finance Minister Mikael Damberg said on Sunday that the guarantees would last until March next year in Sweden and would also cover all Nordic and Baltic nations for the next two weeks only.

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Without government guarantees, electricity producers could have ended up in “technical bankruptcy” on Monday, Damberg said.

Lower gas flows from Russia both before and after its February invasion of Ukraine have already pushed up European prices by nearly 400% over the past year, sending electricity costs soaring.

The rapid rise in electricity prices have resulted in paper losses on electricity futures contracts of energy firms, forcing them to find funds to post additional collateral with the exchanges. ($1 = 10.7633 Swedish crowns) ($1 = 1.0049 euros) (Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm and Essi Lehto in Helsinki; Editing by Terje Solsvik and Hugh Lawson)