Operating environment

Half-year Financial Report, 9 August 2018

Uncertainty over the global economy continues, due partly to the unpredictability of the political situation. Growth is picking up speed, but at the same time the risks are increasing. The global economy is forecast to grow at a rate of almost 4 percent in 2018. In the euro area, growth is estimated to slow slightly and confidence is softening. In the US, political uncertainty continues but growth is expected to strengthen in the next few months. The risks of an end to growth have increased, however, as growth in the US has been ongoing for a long time. In Asia, growth is forecast to continue to be brisk. China’s economy is still strong but indebtedness is causing concern.

The Finnish economy has remained buoyant. Exports continue at a good pace and growth in fixed investments has been strong. Current economic conditions are better than the average, and growth is expected to continue for the next few months. In retail trade, growth accelerated in early summer and is forecast to continue at the same rate for the rest of the year. Retail trade confidence strengthened in April 2018 and in June it was above the average for the EU countries. In the May-July period, consumer confidence continued to be strong. Consumers’ expectations for both their own and the Finnish economy are still good.

(Confederation of Finnish Industries EK: Economic Review, June 2018; Business Tendency Survey, May 2018 and August 2018; Confidence Indicators, July 2018. Statistics Finland: Consumer Survey, July 2018.)

In the January-June period of 2018, the value of retail sales in Finland rose by 3.2 percent and the volume of sales grew by 2.4 percent on the same period last year. In May sales were up by 5.5 and in June by 1.2 percent. (Statistics Finland: Turnover of Trade, May 2018 and June 2018)