Operating environment

Interim Report Q1, 14 May 2020

The following outlook information is based on materials published by Confederation of Finnish Industries EK and Statistics Finland.

The outlook for the global economy deteriorated dramatically during the first months of the year. The depth and duration of the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus are difficult to predict, and the situation in several markets is worrying. The possibility of a second epidemic wave further increases uncertainty.

The Finnish economy was also brought to a standstill by the coronavirus, and the economic outlook weakened significantly in all sectors. Retail trade confidence fell sharply, sales decreased markedly and sales expectations for the next few months are very gloomy. Consumers’ confidence in the economy was the weakest since polling began. The biggest decrease was seen in consumers’ confidence in their own future situation and that of the Finnish economy, but views of the current personal finances were also clearly weaker than before. About 60 percent of respondents said that they had reduced their consumption due to the coronavirus pandemic.

(Confederation of Finnish Industries EK: Business Tendency Survey, April 2020; Confidence Indicators, April 2020. Statistics Finland: Consumer Confidence 2020, April).

The working-day-adjusted turnover of Finnish retail trade was up in January 2020 by 3.6 percent and in February by 3.5 percent; the volume of sales rose by 3.3 percent both in January and in February. The exceptional situation caused by the coronavirus had an impact on the trend in retail sales: net sales in March 2020 declined by 1.3 percent and the volume of sales by 2.7 percent. (Statistics Finland: Turnover of Trade, retail trade flash estimates, January, February and March 2020).