Operating environment

Interim Report, 10 May 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 grown over the proliferation of barriers to trade. Risks are increased, above all, by uncertainty about the direction of US economic policy. However, global GDP is expected to grow at its average rate of slightly over three percent. Short-term economic prospects for Europe and the United States are fairly good. Consumers in all markets are increasingly price-conscious.

In the Finnish economy, a more positive vibe than before is prevailing, 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. In April, retail trade confidence weakened slightly but remained above the long-term average. Sales expectations for the following months are generally good. Consumer confidence in the Finnish economy continued to be strong in April; the last time it was equally strong in 2010.

(Confederation of Finnish Industries EK: Confidence Indicators, April 2017; Business Tendency Survey, February and May 2017. Statistics Finland: Consumer Survey, April 2017.)

In the January-March period of 2017, the value of retail sales in Finland and the volume of sales, which measures real growth, both grew by 2.2 percent relative to the same period last year. (Statistics Finland: Turnover of Trade, retail trade flash estimate, March 2017).