Track the past performance and future forecasts of the value of the SEK to find the best exchange rate when you send money to Sweden.
Exchange rates fluctuate all the time, so if you want to send an international money transfer of Australian dollars (AUD) to Sweden, you need to lodge your transfer when the AUD/SEK exchange rate is at its highest. But in order to do this, you need to develop a deeper understanding of the history of the SEK and what drives exchange rates up or down.
Let’s take a closer look at the factors that affect the value of the SEK and how you can compare transfer providers to find the best value for money.
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The Swedish krona (SEK, kr) is the official currency of Sweden, krona translating to “crown” in English. The Swedish Riksbank, founded in 1668, is the oldest operating central bank in the world, and is responsible for issuing currency in Sweden.
During medieval times, Sweden used silver currency before switching to copper coins in 1625. However, inflation problems saw the return of the silver standard in 1776.
The SEK was first introduced in 1873, when Sweden joined Denmark and Norway in the Scandinavian Monetary Union. In order to ensure economic stability, the three countries pegged their currencies to gold at the same level, but this union was disbanded with the onset of World War I.
Fast-forward to 1995 when the Treaty of Accession came into force, arranging the accession of Austria, Finland and Sweden to the EU, and Sweden was required to convert its official currency to the euro (EUR). However, the Swedes did not want to adopt the EUR as their official currency, resisting moves to replace the SEK. In 2003 the country held a referendum that saw a turnout of 82.6% of eligible voters, 56% of whom opposed the adoption of the new currency. In 2009, Sweden’s then Prime Minister stated that the country would not hold a new referendum on this issue until it garnered support from all political parties and the general public.
Support from the general public for Sweden to adopt the euro remained low and in September 2013, as little as 9% of Sweden’s population considered switching to the euro to be a good idea.
History of the SEK’s value
When it was introduced in 1873, the krona’s value was pegged to gold, with 2,480 krona equal to 1kg of gold. This new currency was a result of the Scandinavian Monetary Union, which Sweden formed along with Denmark and Norway, and which was dissolved in 1914.
However, the three countries each decided to keep their separate currencies, and the SEK once again adopted the gold standard in the early 1920s. Throughout the 20th century, Sweden’s currency was at times pegged to the British pound (GBP) and the US dollar (USD), before joining the so-called European “currency snake” in the 1970s. This was the first concerted effort to restrict fluctuations between European currencies, and was a precursor to Sweden introducing a unilateral tie to the European Currency Unit (ECU) in 1991, where one ECU was valued at SEK7.40.
The floating exchange rate system, which sees the value of the SEK fluctuate relative to other currencies, was introduced in 1992. Today, the SEK is the 9th most traded currency on global foreign exchange markets.
SEK exchange rates
Since the full introduction of the euro in 2002, the krona has traded fairly steadily around the 1 SEK = 0.11 EUR mark.
Falling interest rates and the effects of the Global Financial Crisis saw the value of the SEK fall to a low of 0.08 EUR in March 2009. However, thanks to steady economic performance in the aftermath of the crisis, it had again increased in value to 0.12 EUR by August 2012. Since then it has mostly traded in the 0.10–0.12 EUR band.
If you need to send money to Sweden from Australia, the exchange rate to monitor is the AUD/SEK. In the 10 years to 2016, the AUD has mostly traded at a value of between 5.5 and 7 SEK. Its low point of 4.64 SEK came amid the global economic turmoil of October 2008, while the high point of 7.22 SEK was reached in 2012.
The table below tracks the value of the SEK relative to a number of other global currencies during the past decade.
|January 2006||January 2011||January 2016|
Factors that affect the value of the SEK
There are multiple factors that can influence the value of a country’s currency and drive an exchange rate up or down. Factors affecting the AUD/SEK exchange rate could be global economic or political news, economic or political changes that take place in Australia or Sweden, or developments in either country that might have an international impact.
Some examples of factors that could influence the AUD/SEK exchange rate:
- Global economy. The performance of the Swedish economy is heavily influenced by the performance of the global economy and the EU economy. An economic slowdown or boom on a global scale or throughout Europe can have a huge impact on Sweden’s imports and exports, and the country’s economy relies substantially on its exports.
- Interest rates. Sweden’s interest rates are set by Riksbank. The SEK usually performs strongly when there is a large difference between interest rates in Sweden and the US.
- Commodities. The strength of the Australian economy is largely based upon the value of commodities and agricultural resources, which in turn affects the value of the AUD relative to other currencies.
- Oil. Sweden’s economy is also heavily influenced by oil prices, rising and falling in line with market demand.
- Economic performance. Changes to the GDP of Australia and Sweden, as well as other indicators such as unemployment figures and consumer sentiment, can also affect the exchange rate.
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When is the best time to transfer money to Sweden?
The best time to send money to Sweden is whenever the AUD/SEK exchange rate is at a high point; that is, when the AUD is performing strongly against the SEK and allows you to purchase the maximum amount of SEK.
However, due to the sheer number and complexity of factors that can affect the exchange rate, it’s difficult to predict how the AUD/SEK rate will perform in the future.
There are a few simple things you can do to increase your understanding of the SEK and exchange rates. Keep up to date with economic and political changes in Sweden and Australia, and examine rate forecasts from reputable economists. You can also look back at the past performance of the AUD/SEK exchange rate on foreign exchange websites such as xe.com. This is the perfect way to better understand the fluctuations that drive exchange rates up or down, and how to choose the best time to send funds overseas.
As the graph of the AUD/SEK exchange rate below shows, the best times to send money from Australia to Sweden in the year leading up to 2 December 2016 were:
- in August 2016, when 1 AUD = 6.57 SEK
- in November 2016, when 1 AUD = 7.01 SEK
The worst times to send money were when the AUD/SEK exchange rate bottomed out in January (5.88 SEK) and May (5.96 SEK).
* Screenshot taken from xe.com on 2 December 2016
Choosing the right time to send an SEK transfer
To demonstrate the importance of waiting for the best exchange rate, let’s look at the example of Mathias. Mathias is a Swedish expat who lives in Australia but wants to send 5,000 SEK to a friend in Stockholm.
If Mathias had elected to send his transfer in January 2016, when the AUD/SEK exchange rate hit a low of 1 AUD = 5.88 SEK, it would have cost him AUD$850.34. Just by waiting a handful of months for the exchange rate to pick up in July, when 1 AUD was trading at 6.50 SEK, he would have been able to send the same amount of SEK for just AUD$769.23.
However, by waiting until November, when 1 AUD = 7.01 SEK, he would have paid just AUD$713.27. His friend would still have received 5,000 SEK, but Mathias would have saved AUD$137.07 compared to sending the funds in January.
|January 2016||July 2016||November 2016|
|Exchange rate||1 AUD = 5.88 SEK||1 AUD = 6.50 SEK||1 AUD = 7.01 SEK|
|AUD needed to transfer SEK5,000||AUD$850.34||AUD$769.23||AUD$713.27|
Why you need to choose the right money transfer provider
If you want the best value for money, as well as making your transaction when the exchange rate is at its highest, you also need to find the right transfer provider to send the funds.
Transfer providers add a margin onto the exchange rate they offer to customers. It enables them to make a profit, but it can mean that the customer has to accept an exchange rate that is well below the mid-market rate. For example, although the mid-market AUD/SEK exchange rate might be 1 AUD = 7.00 SEK, your bank may only offer an exchange rate of 1 AUD = 6.60 SEK.
Transaction fees usually apply every time you send a transfer, and could be a fixed fee or a percentage of the total transaction amount. Exchange rate margins and fee structures differ between transfer providers, so you could save tens or even hundreds of dollars simply by shopping around.
That’s why you should compare money transfer providers before you send an AUD/SEK transfer.
Kate compares transfer providers
Kate wants to send AUD$1,000 to Sweden to help out her little sister Jen, who is travelling around the world but is running desperately short of cash. Kate knows she can send the funds from her Australian bank account, but the low exchange rate on offer from her bank prompts her to shop around for a better deal.
She compares her options to see if a cash transfer company or one of two online money transfer companies might help her save money. As the table below shows, by using money transfer company 2 instead of her bank, Kate can send an extra 318.70 SEK to her sister and save AUD$15 in transfer fees.
This shows why it’s essential to compare a range of money transfer options before sending funds overseas.
|Bank||Cash transfer company||Money transfer company 1||Money transfer company 2|
|Exchange rate||1 AUD = 6.503304 SEK||1 AUD = 6.3104 SEK||1 AUD = 6.78 SEK||1 AUD = 6.8220 SEK|
|Amount sent (AUD)||$1,000||$1,000||$1,000||$1,000|
|Total cost of transfer||$1,022||$1,070||$1,005||$1,007|
|Amount received (SEK)||6,503.30||6,310.40||6,780||6,822|
International money transfer options
There are several options to choose from when you want to transfer AUD to SEK:
- Bank transfers. It’s simple and convenient to send money to Sweden straight from your bank account. However, the low exchange rates and high fees offered by the banks mean you shouldn’t expect great value for money.
- Cash transfers. Western Union and Moneygram are the largest cash transfer companies in the world, allowing you to send cash around the globe within minutes. However, their exchange rates are typically beaten by online transfer providers and their fees can be high in some circumstances.
- Online transfers. Online transfer providers should be your first port of call if you want high exchange rates and minimal transaction fees. These companies, such as CurrencyFair and OFX, offer the best value for money and convenient online transactions.
- PayPal. PayPal provides an international money transfer service that offers good value if you’re only transferring small amounts. If you want to send any more than a few hundred dollars, however, its fee structure can start to bite.
How to compare money transfer providers
Looking for a money transfer provider to help you send money to Sweden? Consider the following factors:
- Exchange rate. If you want the best exchange rate, compare the AUD/SEK exchange rate on offer from a range of transfer companies. Just remember to make sure they quote the actual customer rate rather than the mid-market rate, and look out for companies that attach high transaction fees to their attractive exchange rates.
- Transaction fees. Most companies charge a fee each time you send a transfer. This could be a fixed amount or could vary based on the size of your transaction, so check to see how much your average transfer will cost with each provider.
- Sending options. Check which transfer options are available from the provider. These include:
- Online transfers
- Over-the-phone transfers
- In-branch transfers
- Transfers via a smartphone/tablet app
- Transfer tools. While some companies offer one-off transfers only, others offer flexible options to help you save time and get better value for money. These include forward contracts, limit orders, and the ability to schedule recurring payments.
- Help options. Check what options are available for accessing customer support if you ever need assistance or advice regarding a transaction.