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Finnish business leaders upbeat about Russian market upswing

Finnish Customs reports a turn for the better in Finnish-Russian trade after a long slump, and a survey of 300 Finnish companies shows optimism for business-boosting growth in the eastern neighbour.r.

Basilikan sipulit Kremlissä.
Russian fortunes may be changing. Image: Giovanni Simeone / SIME

Finnish Customs announces that both Finnish exports into Russia and Russian imports into Finland have picked up speed over the past few months.

Business lobbyists the Finnish-Russian Chamber of Commerce (FRCC), conducted a recent survey of 300 of its member companies and found that 63 percent predicted that Russia's economic outlook will improve in the next six months. Last autumn that figure was just 27 percent.

Growth in Finnish-Russian business has already been reported by some 54 percent of respondents, and only one in ten say times are still tough.

More than half (57 percent) of export companies also say they believe their luck will change in the next half year. Expectations in the import industry are less rosy, with 37 percent of companies expecting growth.

The investment market has been slower to react to the seeming positive news and has remained much the same compared with last autumn. Russia's economic instability, the exchange rate of the rouble and the country's political atmosphere are all dissuading investors from optimism, the report finds.

Protectionism in Russia continues to hamper trade. These measures include favouring Russian products over imports and labour restrictions on work such as industrial assembly.

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