Finnish Business Confidence Drops to 7-Month Low on Inventories

Finland’s manufacturing confidence fell to its lowest since January as weak demand led to thin order books, low capacity utilization and increasing stockpiles.

Business confidence fell to minus 12 this month from a revised minus 8 in July, the Confederation of Finnish Industries said today in a statement on its website, citing a survey. The figure was minus 7 a year ago and its long-term average is 2.

“Order books are well below normal and no production growth is forecast,” Penna Urrila, chief economist at the Helsinki-based organization, said in the statement. “Expectations are weak.”

A slump in demand for Finnish exports is curtailing production and boosting stockpiles of goods at warehouses. Industrial orders declined an annual 6.3 percent in the first half, according to data by the statistics office. Industrial output fell an annual 6.7 percent on average in the second quarter.

Finnish consumer confidence was unchanged at 5 in August, also below its long-term average of 12.3, Statistics Finland said, citing a separate survey. Those polled expect unemployment to increase and Finland’s economic prospects to weaken, according to the statement.

The Nordic nation’s trade unions and employer organizations are gearing up to discuss wages as collective agreements expire in October. Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen has called for moderation in salary increases to regain competitiveness against peers including Sweden and Germany.

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