Finnish exports swelled by five percent in March despite continuing declines in sales to neighbouring Russia and Sweden, Finnish Customs officials said on Friday.
Exports were valued at 4.8 billion euros, slightly exceeded by imports of 4.9 billion euros, representing a three-percent rise.
Finland ended March with a trade deficit of 105 million euros, less than half of what it had been a year earlier. The deficit for the first three months of the year was also well below that of early 2014.
Whereas in past years Finnish exports were concentrated in the electronics and forest-products branches, Customs authorities say the growth in exports is quite evenly spread among various categories of goods. They point to increases in industrial machinery, paper and cardboard, transport equipment and non-ferrous metals. Meanwhile there were declines in exports of petroleum products and electrical machinery.
Overall non-EU exports climbed by eight percent while those within the bloc rose at only half that rate.
Exports to Russia sank by 27 percent in March, down by more than one third in the first quarter. Imports from Russia went by a more moderate 15 percent in March.
Fewer imports from US, UK
On the import side, Finland bought more equipment and machinery, metals and pharmaceuticals – but fewer chemical products and petroleum products.
Conversely, imports from Finland’s EU partners grew by eight percent, but those from outside Europe dipped by five percent. The biggest rises in imports were from Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and China increased. On the other hand imports from the US, UK and Sweden nudged downward.