HELSINKI, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Finland's finance ministry on Tuesday forecast the sputtering economy would start to recover in 2015, a more optimistic view than some other recent projections.
The ministry forecast Finland's gross domestic product would grow 0.1 percent this year, 0.9 percent in 2015 and 1.3 percent in 2016. In September, it predicted growth of 0.0 percent, 1.2 percent and 1.4 percent growth, respectively.
The Bank of Finland and Nordea Bank recently predicted a small contraction in GDP for both this year and next.
Finnish economic growth has yet to return to its 2008 levels. Exports have dwindled because of weakness in the euro zone, problems in its mobile phone and paper industries and turbulence in Russia, its main trade partner.
The ministry said the economy would benefit next year from a small pick-up in exports, domestic consumption and private investments. But it said prospects would not improve much.
"Finland must speed up implementing structural reforms to preserve credibility in the fiscal policy, and to lift mid-term growth potential," it said in a report.
The right-left coalition government, which will face a general election in April, has failed to step up reform plans amid mounting economic challenges, prompting Standard & Poor's to cut its credit ratings in October to AA+ from AAA. (Reporting By Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Larry King)