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HELSINKI, March 10 (Reuters) - Finnish exports jumped 27 percent in January from a year ago, helped by a cruise ship delivery, while new manufacturing orders also increased, suggesting the Nordic country's export sector was picking up pace after a decade-long stagnation.
The Finnish economy has slowly recovered in the past two years on the back of domestic consumption while exports have continued to fall.
"At last, exports are helping the economy to grow... Economists' forecasts (for 2017 GDP) may be lifted towards two percent in the light of the latest data," said Juhana Brotherus, economist at Hypo Bank.
Preliminary data from national customs office showed the value of Finnish exports in January at 4.6 billion euros ($4.9 billion) and the value of imports at about 5.0 billion euros.
The export figures were boosted by a 233 million euro cruise ship delivery from Meyer Turku shipyard to Tallink.
Separate statement from the Statistics Finland showed that new manufacturing orders rose for the third consecutive month in January, now 16 percent year-on-year. Industry output, however, stood flat from a year ago.
The Finnish economy has struggled due to a string of problems, including a decline of Nokia's former phone business, high labour costs and a recession in neighbouring Russia.
In 2016, the GDP grew 1.6 percent, but many banks and the government have forecast a slower growth of about 1 percent for 2017 and 2018. ($1 = 0.9443 euros) (Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Simon Johnson and Toby Chopra)