Finland’s Economy Stagnated in Fourth Quarter

Finland’s economy stalled in the fourth quarter as Europe’s deepening debt crisis hurt exports.

Gross domestic product, adjusted for seasonal variations, was unchanged in the quarter, Helsinki-based Statistics Finland said today, citing preliminary data. In the year, the economy grew 0.7 percent.

“It would be unfathomable for such an export-led economy to grow in this global environment,” said Tuulia Asplund, an economist at Svenska Handelsbanken AB in Helsinki, by phone.

Europe’s sovereign debt crisis, now in its third year, is sapping demand for exports from Finland, home to companies such as Nokia Oyj. Exports make up about 40 percent of the northernmost euro member’s economy and a third of the exports are sold in the single-currency area.

Gross domestic product in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, fell 0.2 percent from the third quarter, when it increased 0.6 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today. The data are adjusted for seasonal effects.

Today’s quarterly data for Finland, calculated based on a monthly trend indicator of output, is “indicative” of the actual fourth-quarter GDP, Asplund said. The economy expanded 1.9 percent in December, accelerating from 1.3 percent in November, the trend indicator showed.

Statistics Finland is scheduled to release fourth-quarter GDP data on March 2.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kati Pohjanpalo in Helsinki at kpohjanpalo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tasneem Brogger at tbrogger@bloomberg.net

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