Operating environment

Interim Report January-March, 16 May 2019

The prospects for the global economy this year are still cautious. In the United States, political uncertainty continues and the long upswing has come to a close with fiscal stimulus. This year, growth in the global economy is supported by Chinese stimulus measures, although great uncertainty prevails. In the financial markets, the early months of the year have been exceptionally strong following the heavy downswing at the end of 2018.

In Finland, the overall picture of economic conditions is good, but the prospects have remained weak in line with the general economic trend. Growth in retail sales slowed slightly in April. However, sales expectations for the months ahead are still positive. Retail trade confidence in March was slightly below the EU average. Consumer confidence in the economy has held steady at a fair level for half a year or so. Consumers’ confidence in their own finances weakened somewhat in April, but nevertheless remained good. The picture of the Finnish economy still looked fairly pessimistic.

(Confederation of Finnish Industries EK: Business Tendency Survey, January and May 2019; Confidence Indicators, April 2019. Statistics Finland: Consumer Survey, April 2019.)

The working-day-adjusted turnover of Finnish retail trade was up by 1.4 percent on the previous year’s January-March period; the volume of sales rose by 1.1 percent. In March 2019, sales grew by 1.5 percent and sales volume by 1.0 percent. (Statistics Finland: Turnover of Trade, retail trade flash estimate, March 2019.)