August 14, 2015 / 6:10 AM / 2 years ago

Finnish economy stuck in three-year-old recession - data

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HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland's gross domestic product (GDP) contracted in April-June for the fourth consecutive quarter as the Nordic euro zone member struggles to revive exports to its major markets, Europe and Russia.

The economy has contracted for three years in a row and has yet to return to its 2008 output levels since the decline of core businesses, including Nokia (NOKIA.HE) phones, as well as the impact of the euro zone debt crisis and Russia's slowdown.

Preliminary data from the statistics office on Friday showed the second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 0.4 percent from the previous quarter. That follows a quarterly decline of 0.1 percent in the first quarter.

"Very weak number, I would have expected a flat second-quarter. This means pressure for full-year forecasts," Danske Bank economist Pasi Kuoppamaki said.

Latest forecasts by banks and officials estimate Finland's GDP growth will be in the range of -0.1 to 0.5 percent this year and between 1.0 and 1.6 percent in 2016.

Finland was known in the euro zone for pursuing a prudent fiscal policy but public debt and the budget deficit have risen to levels that prompted a warning from the European Commission.

Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Louise Ireland

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