October 29, 2018 / 7:05 AM / 16 days ago

Finnish consumer confidence falls to two-year low in October

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finnish consumer confidence fell to a two-year low in October, data published on Monday showed, in a sign that a period of strong economic growth was coming to an end.

Consumer confidence fell to 16.8 points in October from 20.2 points in September, compared to a long-term average of 12.6, Statistics Finland said.

Industry confidence declined to 9 points from 10 points in September. This was its lowest since August 2017 but still well above the indicator’s long-term average of 1 point, the Confederation of Finnish Industries said in a separate statement.

“The strongest growth in the Finnish economy is now behind and from now on the course will be more moderate,” Juhana Brotherus, chief economist at Hypo Bank said in a statement.

“The decline in household confidence combined with falling shares and political instability raises concerns,” Brotherus wrote, referring to an ongoing dispute over employee rights between Finland’s government and the country’s powerful labour unions.

Latest forecasts for Finland’s GDP growth vary from 2.5 to 3.0 percent for 2018 and from 1.8 to 2.4 percent for 2019.

Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl and Anne Kauranen; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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