Confidence among consumers in their own economic outlook has fallen to a record low level, according to the latest figures published on Tuesday by Statistics Finland.
The number-crunching agency's consumer confidence indicator (CCI) stood at -18.5 in December, the lowest rate ever recorded since Statistics Finland began measuring consumer confidence in 1995.
By way of comparison, the figure stood at -3.5 in December last year.
In a press release, Statistics Finland noted that "consumers considered their own financial situation to have weakened from good to average. At the same time, the personal threat of unemployment was considered to have increased to an average level."
Respondents' intentions to spend money on durable goods also hit a record low — with few reporting plans to buy a new car or home — and some 38 percent said they think that the state of their personal finances is worse now compared to one year ago.
However, the survey also found that expectations concerning Finland’s economy improved slightly, although the figures remained at a very weak level.
In a separate statement, the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) noted that the recent slide in commercial confidence recovered slightly during December.
"Overall, the decline in business confidence came to a halt in December thanks to a rise in confidence in services. Manufacturing was flat, while construction came in slightly down. The biggest drop was in retail trade," EK Director Sami Pakarinen said.
Purchasing power set to fall
Meanwhile, the Taxpayers Association of Finland (TAF) said that people's purchasing power is likely to weaken slightly next year.
According to the association's forecast, the purchasing power of a middle-income earner will decrease in 2023 by about 0.2 percent, as wages will not rise next year at the same rate as inflation.
TAF further noted that if inflation climbs higher than expected next year, people's purchasing power will weaken more than currently predicted.
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