Economic outlooks paint a mostly gloomy picture of Finland’s financial wellbeing

There are some bright spots on the horizon - like personal savings - but overall, a trio of reports published on Tuesday paint a downbeat picture of the country's economic situation.

Coronavirus economics graphic

A trio of economic outlooks published Tuesday paint a mostly gloomy picture of Finland’s financial wellbeing.

The latest consumer confidence numbers from Statistics Finland show the Consumer Confidence Index CCI – which measures how optimistic or pessimistic consumers are regarding their expected financial situation – stands at -6.9 in October, having been -5.9 in September. The long-terms average for the CCI in Finland is -1.8.

The data is based on Statistics Finland’s own consumer confidence survey which questioned 1,181 people between 1st and 19th October.

There are four components that make up the CCI, and they show a more nuanced picture:

  • Consumers’ views about the consumer’s own economy improved slightly from September to October;
  • Views on purchasing durable goods within one year improved slightly from September to October;
  • Consumers’ expectations about their own economy within the next year remained more or less unchanged;
  • Expectations about Finland’s economy in the near future got worse.
File photo: economy, finance, business and banking / Credit: iStock Photo

EK’s barometer sends mixed signals 

Meanwhile a new barometer from the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK shows that Finnish companies predict continued difficulties in the autumn, with the gradual economic recovery coming to a halt.

“The acceleration of the coronavirus in both Europe and Finland is already reflected in the weakening of the service sectors again” says EK’s chief economist Sami Pakarinen.

“The economic outlook for the service sector has darkened rapidly, as has the business community as a whole. Compared to the spring, the situation is more difficult, because at the same time there are now problems in construction and industry as well” he adds.

EK’s research found that confidence among industrial companies rose slightly in October from the previous month although it remains at a weak level; confidence among construction companies fell slightly in October; and the confidence indicator for service companies remained subdued in October – almost unchanged from September.

File picture of small business and economy / Credit: iStock

Economic uncertainty increases likelihood of savings

Finland’s Säästöpankki has also released its Savings Barometer 2020 on Tuesday and it highlights a perhaps surprising trend.

Despite the tough economic times and financial uncertainty, Finns are still saving if possible – and happy people save more.

“Saving and happiness are clearly linked” says Henna Mikkonen, the bank’s Chief Economist.

“Of course, happiness arises from many factors other than money, but economic matters have their own important role to play. Saving increases your sense of security, which is especially important in these times. According to our Savings Barometer, those who do not save at all are the most unhappy.”

The bank’s research finds that 15% of Finns do not save any money at all each month – with a third of these people saying they are unhappy.