Operating environment

Financial Statements Bulletin, 9 February 2017

All in all, there is considerable uncertainty over the global economy, due partly to the unpredictability of the political situation. There are several risk factors, and concern has been growing over the proliferation of barriers to trade. Risks are increased, above all, by uncertainty about the direction of US economic policy. However, world GDP is expected to grow at its average rate of slightly over three percent. Average growth in the EU countries appears to be continuing at a fairly modest rate. Consumers in all markets are increasingly price-conscious.

In the Finnish economy, a more positive vibe than before is prevailing, but exports have not recovered. Retailing has gone into a slight upswing after several weaker years and growth is forecast to continue at a slow pace. In January, retail trade confidence picked up somewhat and is now near the long-term average. Consumer confidence in the Finnish economy gained strength in January; the last time it was equally strong was more than six years ago.

(Confederation of Finnish Industries EK: Economic Review, 19 December 2016; Confidence Indicators, January 2017; Business Tendency Survey, February 2017. Statistics Finland: Consumer Survey, January 2017.)

In 2016, the value of retail sales in Finland grew by 0.7 percent on the previous year and the volume of sales, which measures real growth, rose by 1.6 percent. (Statistics Finland: Turnover of Trade, retail trade flash estimate, December 2016).