(Bloomberg) -- Bankruptcies in Sweden increased for the seventh consecutive month in February with retailers squeezed by declining household consumption and the construction industry struggling in the wake of an ongoing housing market rout. 

Sweden’s economy is buckling under the weight of soaring consumer prices and increased borrowing costs. A recession may already be under way as indebted households, whose mortgage rates are typically fixed for short periods, tighten purse strings and a plunge in housing prices is rapidly reducing investments in new dwellings.

In February, the number of bankruptcies increased by 11% compared with a year ago, according to credit reference agency UC, which said retailers and the motor vehicle trade were the hardest hit by defaults last month. 

“The number of bankruptcies is still at a high level and has increased compared with last year,” UC economist Johanna Blome said in a statement, adding that the increase was more moderate in February than in January.

“It is still hard to be too optimistic, as more rate increases are expected and inflation isn’t slowing at the pace that we would like to see,” she said.

The largest Swedish company that filed for bankruptcy in February was air carrier Air Leap, with annual sales of 278 million kronor ($27 million), according to a separate release from Creditsafe.

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