Finland’s total economic output remained brisk in 2018 and increased in a broad range of sectors. According to the Ministry of Finance’s December forecast, the Finnish economy grew by 2.5%, i.e. at a slightly slower pace than in 2017. The growth rate in private consumption and investment slowed down from the previous years. It seems that the investment boom has come to an end: particularly housing construction is subsiding from an exceptionally high level closer to more normal levels.
There was a rapid slowdown in world trade during 2018 and further escalation of the trade conflicts was the main risk overshadowing the outlook for the world economy and world trade. This had also an impact on Finnish exports. After experiencing strong growth in 2017, exports increased less than expected in 2018. The change in export volume was 3.5%, according to the Ministry of Finance’s forecast.
The current account showed a small deficit in relation to GDP in 2018. Inflation remained subdued and the unemployment rate continued to decline, while the employment rate increased to over 71% in 2018.