At the end of last year, economic growth in Finland was two percent lower than in the previous year. Economists now estimate that annual growth for the whole of 2020 fell by about three percent.
According to Statistics Finland's figures, seasonally adjusted GDP actually rose by about 0.2 percent in October to December from the previous quarter. In December, however, seasonally adjusted output fell 0.8 percent from from the previous month.
"Before December, it had seemed that Finland would be almost immune to the second wave of the coronavirus, but these statistics showed that this was not the case," writes Danske Bank economist Jukka Appelqvist.
According to Appelqvist, the contraction in production in December was expected as a result of the worsening coronavirus situation. Still, the state of the economy should still be considered good, he says, given the circumstances.
"Although the economic situation is not tremendous, there is no sign that the economy will collapse in the same way as last spring. It is more likely that the next few months will continue at a low simmer," Appelqvist estimates.
Timo Hirvonen, the chief economist of Handelsbanken, anticipates that the Finnish economy will grow in the first quarter of the year, despite measures limiting the economy both domestically and abroad.
"We expect economic activity to pick up after the early part of the year, when economic austerity measures are lifted and mass vaccinations are launched," he commented.
Statistics Finland has pointed out that final data can require significant adjustments during periods of major economic upheaval.
It has now revised figures for working-day-adjusted production to -0.8 percent in November compared with the same month of 2019. Previous preliminary data indidated a -0.4 percent decline.
It also reports that adjusted for working days, primary production grew by about six percent year-on-year in December. Processing industry production fell by about one percent and services by about two percent.