Operating environment

Interim Report, 1 November 2018

Uncertainty over the global economy continues, due partly to the unpredictability of the political situation. Growth forecasts for the global economy have been cut somewhat and growth is decelerating in almost all economic areas. Anticipatory indicators in Europe have declined gradually in the past few months. In the US, political uncertainty continues but economic growth is expected to continue to be strong for some time. Financial markets are unsteady and fears of recession have grown.

Economic conditions in Finland are generally good, but the outlook is clearly more cautious than before. It is estimated that growth in retail trade has continued during autumn and sales expectations for the next few months are good. Retail trade confidence remained almost unchanged in October and in September it was above the average for the EU countries. Consumer confidence has clearly weakened compared to September. Consumers’ expectations for their own finances remained good in October, but the outlook for the Finnish economy was fairly pessimistic.

(Confederation of Finnish Industries EK: Business Tendency Survey, October 2018; Confidence Indicators, October 2018. Statistics Finland: Consumer Survey, October 2018.)

In the January-September period of 2018, the value of retail sales in Finland rose by 2.9 percent and the volume of sales grew by 1.9 percent on the same period last year. In September sales were up by 0.8 percent. (Statistics Finland: Turnover of Trade, September 2018)