February 28, 2018 / 8:59 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Finland's economy rebounds in 2017, but less than expected

 (Adds analyst comment, OECD forecast, background, detail)
    HELSINKI, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Finland's gross domestic
product (GDP) grew 3.0 percent in 2017 as the Nordic euro zone
economy rebounded from a decade of stagnation, data from
Statistics Finland showed on Wednesday.
    However, the figure fell short of expectations as growth in
the last three months of the year was revised down to 0.7
percent, quarter-on-quarter, from an initial indication of 1.1
    "The economic cycle remained strong, but in relation to
expectations, the numbers were a slight disappointment," Danske
Bank economist Jukka Appelqvist said.
    He noted that while fourth-quarter exports grew 2.2 percent
from the previous quarter, investment fell 0.4 percent.
    "This is a cause for concern... with no additional
investments, domestic production capacity will start to limit
growth, even with the global demand."
    Despite some positive signs, such as record-high consumer
confidence, 2018 growth will likely turn out lower than that of
2017, Appelqvist added.
    The OECD on Wednesday forecast Finland's GDP growth would
slow to 2.5 percent in 2018 and 2.0 percent in 2019, citing
rigid labour markets and a rapidly ageing population.    
    Finland's economy was dubbed by its former finance minister
Alexander Stubb as "the sick man of Europe" in 2015 as the
country reeled from a string of shocks, including the decline of
Nokia's            former phone business and a recession in
neighbouring Russia.

 (Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl, editing by Gwladys Fouche and
Jon Boyle)
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