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Consumer confidence plummets to record low

The last time Finns' confidence dipped this low was during the country's pandemic shutdown and financial crisis over a decade ago.

Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

Consumer confidence plummeted in March to the third-lowest level since recordkeeping began, according to a report published on Monday by Statistics Finland.

The number-crunching agency began measuring consumer confidence in 1995, and has only reported lower levels in April 2020 and at the end of 2008.

The agency found that its consumer confidence indicator (CCI) dropped in March, coinciding with Russia's military assault on Ukraine.

"It is typical for consumer confidence to falter in the midst of a crisis," Statistics Finland senior statistician Pertti Kangasalo told Yle News.

Previous consumer confidence lows have coincided with major events, such as the beginning of the Covid pandemic in 2020 and the global financial crisis in 2008.

"Often consumers are able to see things going down in the economy quite well in advance. We are talking about some kind of local knowledge or wisdom about economical matters that sums up the feeling for all consumers and the country as a whole," Kangasalo added.

The agency also highlighted regional differences. Consumer confidence levels were the highest in the greater Helsinki region and the lowest in Eastern Finland.

While consumers' outlooks remained relatively stable concerning their own finances, their expectations for the Finnish economy had dropped significantly in the agency's latest monthly report.

"This is usually how it is—expectations regarding the Finnish economy are much more volatile than those concerning one's personal finances, which in fact don't change that much for most people, even in bad times," Kangasalo explained.

Confidence in the economy among the business community also weakened in March, according to the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK).

The employer lobby, however, said the decline in corporate confidence was not as drastic as during the beginning of the Covid crisis two years ago.