Operating environment

Half-year Financial Report, 15 August 2019

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

The global economic outlook this year and next remains cautious. Trade policy tensions and the simultaneously weakening real economy are contributing to uncertainty. Growth in the United States continues to be fairly strong, but the economy is expected to slow down. The growth of the Chinese economy will also decelerate due to weaker exports and lower investment growth, but private consumption will remain strong. The probability of the global economy performing worse than expected is set to increase as autumn approaches.

Economic conditions in Finland have remained fairly good and the situation is currently considered to be slightly better than average. Nevertheless, the outlook has weakened further due to the slowing down of the economy. Retail sales increased substantially during the summer, and sales are expected to grow further in the coming months. Retail trade confidence in June was below the EU average. Consumer confidence declined during the summer months, and consumers’ view of their current and future financial situation was subdued. Their view of the Finnish economy continued to be pessimistic.

(Confederation of Finnish Industries EK: Economic Review, May 2019; Business Tendency Survey, July 2019; Confidence Indicators, July 2019. Statistics Finland: Consumer Survey, July 2019.)

The working-day-adjusted turnover of Finnish retail trade was up by 2.3 percent on the previous year’s January-June period; the volume of sales rose by 2.2 percent. In June 2019, sales grew by 4.9 percent and sales volume by 4.4 percent. (Statistics Finland: Turnover of Trade, retail trade flash estimate, June 2019.)