April 27, 2020 / 9:10 AM / a month ago

Business expectations collapse in Finland due to coronavirus

HELSINKI (Reuters) - The coronavirus outbreak caused business expectations in Finland to collapse more rapidly and widely across different businesses than ever before in 55 years of polling history, the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) said on Monday.

Finnish businesses’ trade cycle expectations measured in April collapsed to -55 points from -10 points measured in January, EK said.

“In the 55 years of our expectations barometer, this is the most sudden and most widespread drop in companies’ economic outlooks,” EK’s chief economist, Sami Pakarinen, told a news conference.

Pakarinen said the barometer’s all-time low at -75 point was recorded at the end of 1990 when Finland’s economy fell into deep recession but back then the slowdown took place over several quarters and spread from one business segment to another more slowly than the current crisis.

“The outlook is gloomy in all main fields of activity. Even if the trade cycle in the industry and construction is still better than in services, the prospects have nevertheless declined,” Pakarinen added.

EK said Finnish industry confidence, a monthly indicator, fell to a more than ten-year low at -23 points in April, down from -6 in March.

Construction confidence fell to -28 in April, from -3 in March, while the service sector confidence indicator crashed to -48 points in April, from -6 in March.

Similarly, retail trade confidence declined to -37 points in April, from -16 a month earlier.

Statistics Finland said Finnish consumer confidence fell to -13.9 points in April from -7.1 points in March.

Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Editing by Nick Macfie

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