Finnish economy

The Republic of Finland is a Nordic country with a high level of economic and social development. The primary economic drivers have been traditional industries–primarily pulp, paper, and machinery, which were complemented in the 1990s by IT and telecommunications. Industrial success and and an expanding public sector set the way for rapid development of the service sector, including business services, retail trade and real estate-related activities.

Finland's growth rate qveraged 3.2% during the 2000-2008 period. In the wake of the global financial crisis, GDP fell by 8.3% in 2009. Although the country then appeared to be on the road to recovery, the rebound lasted only two years. In 2012, Finland fell back into recession, with GDP for the year declining by 1.4%. GDP continued to contract in 2013 and 2014, falling by 0.8% and 0.7%, respectively [1]. Unemployment also increased, rising from 7.7% in 2012 to 9.4% in 2015 [2] Among the reasons for the downturn were the weak performance of the forestry, machinery and technology sectors and the government’s expanding fiscal burden, which overshadowed continuing growth in the services sector.

However, conditions began to improve in 2015, when GDP posted a 0.5% gain. For 2016, economists expect GDP to grow by 0.9% [3] and unemployment to stabilize at the 9.3% level. Regardless, the fact that Bondora has been operating in Finland since 2013 and has performed well amid a difficult economic environment suggests it is well positioned to benefit from any upturn.

Finland’s government bonds have a Aaa credit rating from Moody’s, though the rating agency’s outlook for the country is negative. That said, the current rating denotes a strong and mutually-reinforcing combination of fiscal prudence and institutional strength; it is among the strongest in the sovereign ratings universe, reflecting a broad political commitment to fiscal consolidation and economic renewal. Moreover, the Finnish government is taking steps to address the deterioration in its balance sheet, which remains stronger than that of other Aaa-rated countries. Planned consolidation measures include expenditure cuts and changes to the taxation system, as well as measures aimed at restoring cost competitiveness and bolstering growth.

In terms of the country’s institutional strength, the World Bank scores Finland well above the Aaa-median, especially in regard to “government effectiveness,” which will likely be important for addressing any challenges that lie ahead.

 

[1] Source: Ministry of Finance of Finland

[2] Source: SEB

[3] Source: IMF

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