Finland: Economy moderates pace of decline in Q1
June 5, 2013
In the first quarter, GDP dropped 0.1% over the previous quarter in seasonally adjusted terms, according to data released by the statistical institute on 5 June. The figure marks an improvement over the 0.7% drop seen in Q4 2012 and was in line with preliminary data published by the statistical institute on 15 May.
The external sector underpinned the improvement seen in Q1, as exports of goods and services swung from a 4.4% quarter-on-quarter fall in Q4 to a 0.9% expansion in Q1. In contrast, imports declined 3.0% in the first quarter, which contrasted the 1.4% increase recorded in the previous quarter.
On the domestic side, total consumption inched down to a 0.3% rise in the first quarter (Q4: +0.4% qoq), mainly reflecting a significant deceleration in private consumption (Q4: +0.9% qoq; Q1: +0.3% qoq). Government spending, on the other hand, picked up from a 1.1% contraction in Q4 to a 0.3% rise in Q1. Fixed investment also improved from a 2.2% decline in the fourth quarter to a 0.6% increase.
In annual terms, the economy contracted 2.2% in the first quarter, which represents a further deterioration compared to the 1.7% drop recorded in final quarter of 2012.
According to its latest bi-annual Economic Outlook report from December, the Central Bank expects the overall economy to grow 0.4% this year, before accelerating to a 1.5% expansion next year. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panellists expect GDP to grow 0.2% this year, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month's projection. For 2014, the panel sees GDP expanding 1.5%.