Operating environment

Financial Statements Bulletin 2023, 15 February 2024

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

The world economy is estimated to grow in 2024, but the growth rate will vary clearly between markets. Inflation, which has continued to slow down towards the end of 2023, remains a central factor to the global economy. The uncertainties created by the geopolitical situations in, for example, supply and logistics chains, can cause reacceleration of inflation. The world economy is expected to grow at a rate of 2.7 percent, but growth in the Euro area in 2024 is expected to be only 0.9 percent.

The economic outlook for Finland continues to be weak and the estimates regarding the current situation are now lower than during the coronavirus pandemic. Companies’ expectations for the future development of the economy have increased since the fall but remain at a low level. The confidence indicator for the retail trade improved in January 2024 but was still below the long-term average and lower than in other EU countries. Retail sales have decreased further, and sales expectations for the coming months are lower than in the fall. Consumer confidence, still below the long-term average, has improved somewhat. Estimates concerning the current state of personal finances remain at a very low level but expectations for the future of personal finances have improved. Expectations for Finland’s economy continue to be very weak. Estimates concerning inflation and expectations for its future development are unchanged and continue to be at a high level. (Confederation of Finnish Industries EK: Business Tendency Survey, January 2024; Confidence Indicators, January 2024. Statistics Finland: Consumer Confidence, January 2024.)

The working-day-adjusted turnover of the Finnish retail trade increased by 2.5 percent in December compared to the previous year, but the volume of sales grew by only 0.1 percent. The cumulative working-day-adjusted turnover of the retail trade in the January-December period rose by 2.0 percent but the volume of sales decreased by 2.9 percent. (Statistics Finland: Turnover of Trade, retail trade flash estimate, December 2023.)