On average in industrialised countries, the number rose by 17 percent this year, reflecting crises in North Africa, the Ivory Coast and Somalia.
The agency stressed that the figures covered only applicants for refugee status, many of whom are turned down and sent back to their countries of origin, and not those eventually granted asylum. They also do not include migrants, legal or illegal.
The US had far more applications than any other single industrialised country, followed by France and Germany.
Finland's western neighbour Sweden was fourth with 12,600 applicants between January and June. Finland had just over one tenth as many, 1375.