Operating environment

Interim Report, 2 November 2017

All in all, there is considerable uncertainty over the global economy, due partly to the unpredictability of the political situation. Growth is accelerating, but there are several risk factors. The global economy is expected to grow at an annual rate of 3.5–4.0 percent over the next few years. Confidence indicators are strong in the USA, but a recession is made more likely by the fact that growth in the USA has continued since 2009. The risks are increased by uncertainty over the direction of US economic policy. Economic growth continues in China, but corporate debt levels are a significant risk. The most positive news in the global economy is that growth in the euro zone has picked up speed and diversified.

The positive vibe in the Finnish economy continues and prospects are brighter. Retailing has gone into a slight upswing after several weaker years, and growth is forecast to continue at a moderate pace. Retail trade confidence in October was still above the long-term average and at a good level, although below the peak of the previous month. Expectations for sales in the months ahead are favourable, and sales are forecast to grow. Consumer expectations for the Finnish economy were very optimistic and confidence was steady and strong.

(Confederation of Finnish Industries EK: Confidence Indicators, October 2017; Economic Review, September 2017; Business Tendency Survey, October 2017. Statistics Finland: Consumer Survey, October 2017.)

In the January-August period of 2017, Finnish retail sales grew by 2.0 percent relative to the same period last year. Sales in August grew at 2.8 percent. (Statistics Finland: Turnover of Trade, October 2017).