People on a terrace outside a Marimekko shop in Helsinki on 12 May 2023. The latest preliminary data suggest the Finnish economy has come out of the recession that began at the end of last year, with the gross domestic product growing by 1.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the January-to-March period. (Eeva-Maria Brotherus – Lehtikuva)

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THE FINNISH ECONOMY seems to have bounced back immediately from its recession, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

Statistics Finland on Tuesday published a flash estimate indicating that the gross domestic product grew by 1.1 per cent from the previous quarter between January and March. The economy had slipped into a technical recession at the end of last year as the gross domestic product contracted for two consecutive quarters – by 0.1 per cent in July to September and 0.6 per cent in October to December.

Economists described the latest preliminary figures as strong but reminded widely that it is possible that they are downgraded when the statistics bureau revisits them at the end of the month.

Timo Hirvonen, the chief economist at Handelsbanken, tweeted yesterday that the flash estimate will nonetheless prompt many economists to scrap their economic forecasts.

“That’s the end of the recession if the flash estimate is to be trusted,” Pasi Sorjonen, the chief economist at the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland (Akava), echoed on Twitter. “These [figures] may be clarified (possibly by a lot) in a couple of weeks when we see the real preliminary data.”

The estimate also reveals that the gross domestic product increased by 1.2 per cent year-on-year when adjusted for working days in the first quarter of the year.

Statistics Finland on Tuesday reported that it projects that the number of employed people increased by 1.6 per cent and that of hours worked by 1.4 per cent from the previous quarter between January and March.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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