Finland’s Recession Deepened Last Year as Crisis Extends Reach

Finland’s economy probably contracted for a third consecutive quarter at the end of last year as the euro area’s deepening recession stifled demand in its northernmost member.

Gross domestic product, adjusted for seasonal variations, was estimated to have shrunk 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous three months, Statistics Finland said on its website today, citing preliminary data based on a monthly trend indicator.

Finland’s economy is suffering from a lack of export demand from its main trade partners as the euro-area crisis prompts governments to cut budget spending. Domestic consumption isn’t making up for the shortfall, with retail sales falling 1.4 percent in December and companies laying off workers to save on wage costs.

The recession in the euro area was worse than economists forecast as the region’s three biggest economies saw output slump, a separate report showed today. GDP fell 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter from the third, marking the deepest decline since the first quarter of 2009, after the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. sent global financial markets into shock.

Finland has been in a recession since the second quarter, according to quarterly accounts calculated using a different method. The economy probably contracted an annual 1.8 percent, adjusted for the number of working days. Fourth-quarter GDP based on national accounts will be published on March 1.

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