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GDP contracts 0.4% in 2019 Q4

Published : 14 Feb 2020, 21:37

Updated : 15 Feb 2020, 02:37

  DF-Xinhua Report

Photo Lapland Meterial Bank by Terhi Tuovinen.

Figures released by Statistics Finland on Friday show that Finland's seasonally adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 from the previous quarter, making it the weakest quarterly growth rate in nearly five years.
   
However, according to the series adjusted for working days, GDP grew by 1.4 percent compared to the corresponding quarter of 2018.
   
Meri Obstbaum, head of forecasting at the Bank of Finland, told a Finnish language daily Helsingin Sanomat that she does not consider the 0.4 percent drop in GDP in October-December 2019 a big surprise.
   
Based on the Bank of Finland's short-term forecasting models, the country's economy was expected to be very weak at the end of last year and at the beginning of this year, said Obstbaum.
   
Jukka Appelqvist, an economist at Danske Bank, told Helsingin Sanomat that Finland's economic growth had been fairly solid for a long time, but this trend changed at the end of last year, pointing to a further slowdown in growth.
   
The Finnish economy has been hit by a lasting slowdown in the eurozone's economic growth, attributed to the sluggish performance in global trade. Finland exports approximately 40 percent of its products to the eurozone.
   
The Finnish economy was the weakest in the eurozone at the end of last year, Helsingin Sanomat said. 
   
"At the beginning of this year, production has been curtailed by domestic strikes. The effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) are likely to be short-lived, but uncertainty and difficulties in the eurozone's industries continue, which is also reflected in the demand for Finnish investment goods," Appelqvist was quoted by the newspaper as saying.