Finland: Growth moderates in the fourth quarter
March 2, 2012
In the fourth quarter, GDP increased 0.1% in seasonally adjusted terms over the previous quarter. The reading came in well below the 1.1% expansion observed in the third quarter (previously reported: +0.9% quarter-on-quarter), but a notch above the 0.1% contraction expected last month by Consensus Forecast panellists. In annual terms, the economy grew a working-day adjusted 1.4%, down from the 3.3% increase tallied in the previous quarter. The slowdown over the previous quarter was mainly due to deterioration in the external sector's net contribution to overall growth, which swung from plus 1.4 percentage points in the third quarter to minus 1.8 percentage points in the fourth. Exports contracted 0.7%, contrasting a 1.9% increase in the third quarter. Imports, meanwhile, picked up from a 1.3% contraction in the third quarter to a 3.8% expansion. Total consumption moderated from a 0.4% expansion in the third quarter to a 0.1% increase in the fourth, as increased government consumption (Q3: -0.4% qoq; Q4: +0.2% qoq) was unable to offset a significant slowdown in private consumption (Q3: +0.7% qoq; Q4: +0.1% qoq). Moreover, fixed investment moderated to a 0.4% increase, down from the 1.1% expansion seen in the third quarter.