HELSINKI: Finnish exports jumped 20 percent in July from a year earlier, data showed on Thursday, suggesting the economy was set for strong annual growth after years of trouble.
Preliminary data from the national customs office showed that January-July exports were up 16 percent from low levels the previous year.
The Finnish economy is picking itself up from a decade of stagnation, sparked among other things by a decline in Nokia’s former phone business and recession in neighbouring Russia.
The office said the rise in July was sharpest in passenger cars and refined oil products. Finland’s Valmet Automotive has recently signed new manufacturing deals with Mercedes-Benz.
“These figures indicate that the third quarter has started off well… the economic growth is broad-based and the export growth also shows that competitiveness has improved,” said Danske Bank economist Pasi Kuoppamaki.
However, he noted that exports are still below levels seen prior to the financial crisis in 2008, adding that wages should rise slower than those in rival countries Sweden and Germany in order to improve competitiveness further.
The trade balance for July showed a deficit of 300 million euros ($357 million) while the deficit for the first seven months of the year stood at 1.2 billion euros.
Latest forecasts by banks and the government see the economy growing by between 2 and 3 percent this year before slowing to around 1.5-2.0 percent in 2018.