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Wednesday's papers: Trump and Finland, interest rate shock in store, and birth date determinism in sports

On Wednesday the newspapers continue their in-depth coverage of US President Donald Trump, include a stark warning for Finnish mortgage holders, and take a look at how your birth date might play a big role in deciding whether you succeed at sports or not.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump Image: Nicholas Kamm / AFP

Donald Trump's activities dominate the headlines, worldwide this week, whether his administration is banning immigrants, stoking trade disputes or appointing a new judge to the US Supreme Court. Ilta-Sanomat takes a different tack on Wednesday, however, asking how Finland might benefit from the new president's reign.

The main answer from the experts asked by IS seems to be infrastructure spending. If Trump makes good on his promises to invest to stimulate the economy, there will be a big injection of cash into vital infrastructure, and Finnish firms might well get a slice of the pie. You might wonder how sending that cash overseas squares with Trump's nativist trade rhetoric, and even the American Chamber of Commerce acknowledges the juxtaposition.

"Although it is 'America first', in Finland there could be competitive knowhow that makes it into these projects," said AmCham CEO Kristiina Helenius.

Helenius also presents the somewhat forlorn hope that Trump's pro-Russian stances and ambiguous attitude towards the Baltic states might help prod EU states towards closer co-operation, rather than weakening the block.

The article makes no mention of Finland's large Somali community, members of which could fall foul of Trump's travel ban.

On the opposite page IS carries an assessment of Trump from noted psychiatrist Claes Andersson: he's a narcissist.

"Yes, I'm of the opinion that Donald Trump behaves narcissistically and he doesn't care about the consequences of his actions," Andersson told the paper.

The paper contacted the psychiatrist's society's chair to ask his opinion, and reports that while offering a diagnosis for public figures is inappropriate, he also understands Andersson's move given the global situation.

Homeowners set for interest shock?

IS also carries a lengthy column by Jan Hurri on the implications of this week's inflation figures from the eurozone. They are nearing the target of two percent, and that means that the European Central Bank might soon start raising interest rates.

This is not a foregone conclusion--inflation is not evenly distributed around the zone, and if you strip out food and energy costs, prices are rising much more slowly--but the column assumes that rates will rise. That's what influential German voices want, to provide a better return for German savers, and in the eurozone they often see their requests granted.

That could have stark implications for Finland. Property prices are at record highs, interest rates at historic lows, and households--especially young adults--are heavily loaded with debt. What's more, argues Hurri, Finnish mortgages are often variable rate with a margin attached to a short-term Euribor rate.

That means that any increase in ECB rates will quickly feed through into household budgets, cause people to tighten their belts, and slow down consumption as debt servicing gets more expensive. That could be a significant risk for the economy as a whole, says Hurri.

Sporting success more likely for January babies

Helsingin Sanomat delves into the world of junior sport with an in-depth look at the age profiles of junior teams. The paper reports a study that shows those born in the first three months of the year are clearly over-represented in organised sports, while those born in the last three months are under-represented.

The only sport where researchers didn't replicate the finding were gymnastics and figure skating. The difference starts early and continues right up to the junior national teams' age group squads.

Experts interviewed by HS put the phenomenon down to age group organisation, which means all kids born in a certain year play in the same groups, and a culture that prioritises winning over individual development. In that culture, goes the argument, coaches select and prioritise the bigger children over the talented but less physically developed ones.

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