Operating environment

Financial Statements Bulletin, 27 February 2019

The prospects for the global economy are more cautious than before, and growth forecasts are being corrected downwards because the outlook has deteriorated in all economic areas. In the United States, political uncertainty continues and the risk has increased of economic growth drying up. A long upswing is forecast to be coming to an end. China’s economic growth will become muted, at 6–7 percent due to exports and growth in investment slowing in 2018 and 2019. This will also be reflected in Europe. The trade war, Brexit, slowing economic growth in China and tighter monetary policy have created swings on the financial markets.

In Finland, the overall picture of economic conditions is good, but the prospects have deteriorated. Growth in retail sales has been fair, but the pace is expected to slacken in the next half-year. Sales expectations for the next few months are, however, somewhat more positive than in the survey results for the previous month. Retail trade confidence stood almost unchanged in January and in December was slightly higher than the EU average. Consumers’ confidence in their own finances was strong in January, but the picture of the Finnish economy looked fairly pessimistic.

(Confederation of Finnish Industries EK: Economic Review, November 2018; Business Tendency Survey, January 2019; Confidence Indicators, January 2019. Statistics Finland: Consumer Survey, January 2019.)

In 2018, the value of retail sales in Finland rose by 2.7 percent on the previous year; the volume of sales decreased by 0.1 percent in December. In January 2019, sales were on a par with the previous year; the volume of sales decreased by 1.3 percent. (Statistics Finland: Turnover of Trade, December 2018; Turnover of Trade, retail trade flash estimate, January 2019)