Departing passengers at Helsinki Airport on 23 December 2023. Finnish consumers have continued to release the pent-up demand arising from the pandemic by, for example, travelling irrespective of the rise in costs, views Pasi Kuoppamäki, the chief economist at Danske Bank. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)


THE SAVINGS of Finnish households have dwindled since the scrapping of last coronavirus restrictions, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

Statistics Finland reported last week that the savings rate of households fell to its lowest level since the first half of 2006, to -3.5 per cent, in the last quarter of 2022, with household expenses exceeding disposable income by 3.5 per cent.

The savings rate had hit its highest level since the turn of the millennium (9.7%) in the second quarter of 2020 as the spending possibilities were limited by the restrictions on events, eating out and travel, for example.

“Few bought so much consumer electronics that it took up all their savings,” Pasi Kuoppamäki, the chief economist at Danske Bank, stated to Helsingin Sanomat on Sunday.

The savings of households decreased last year, on one hand, due to the increase in consumer prices and interest rates and, on the other, due to households looking to satisfy the demand that had bottled up during the pandemic. Kuoppamäki viewed that Finns saved up billions of euros during the pandemic, but the savings are presently being used to elevate the standard of living irrespective of the increase in costs.

“People have lived beyond their means. There’s still money left, but quite a few have already used up most of the buffers they’d built up,” he said.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT