Finnish Data Signal Quarterly Contraction as Recession Looms

Finland’s economy may have contracted in the first quarter, pushing the northernmost euro member into a recession as the economy struggles to withstand the region’s debt crisis, preliminary data show.

Gross domestic product shrank 0.1 percent in the first quarter from the prior three-month period, adjusted for working days, Statistics Finland said, citing a monthly trend indicator. The economy contracted 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter, adjusted for seasonal swings, according to quarterly accounts calculated using a different method.

Finland is reeling from the recession in the euro area as waning demand saps investments. Manufacturing contracted an annual 0.3 percent in March after dropping 5.2 percent and 4 percent, respectively, in the prior months. March exports shrank 13 percent in the year, the customs office said on May 8.

The German economy, Europe’s largest, narrowly avoided recession as first-quarter GDP (FIGDPCH) rose 0.1 percent from the fourth quarter, when it contracted a revised 0.7 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today. Economists had estimated a 0.3 percent gain.

The monthly indicator showed Finland’s economy has contracted in 10 of the past 11 months to March. The economy shrank 0.2 percent last year, prompting the statistics office to say the country was in recession, even as it failed to meet the technical criteria of contraction on two consecutive quarters before the end of the year. First-quarter GDP based on national accounts will be published on June 5.

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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