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Country Forecast Finland September 2017 Updater

Country Forecast Finland September 2017 Updater

  • September 2017
  • ID: 2557502
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit

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  • Finland's new government is led by the Centre Party (KESK), the centre-right National Coalition Party (Conservatives, or KOK) and Blue Reform, a splinter party from the far-right The Finns (PS). The PS was ejected from the coalition in June 2017 after it elected a hardline nationalist, Jussi Halla-aho, as its leader. The government is led by Juha Sipila, the leader of the KESK and the prime minister since the last election, in April 2015, when his party gained the largest number of seats. About 19 former PS members of parliament have split from the party to form Blue Reform, including all the former PS cabinet members and its previous leader, Timo Soini.
  • The coalition parties now have a smaller working majority in parliament than when they included the PS (a six-seat majority, down from 24). However, Blue Reform is likely to have a more stable relationship with the KESK and the KOK. When Mr Soini was the leader of the PS he compromised on a number of hardline issues-notably on EU bail-outs and immigration-in order to remain in the government. The Economist Intelligence Unit expects the new coalition to last a full legislative term, to 2019.
  • The government deficit narrowed from 3.2% of GDP in 2014 to 1.9% in 2016. We expect it to contract to 1.6% in 2017 and to narrow to within 1% by 2020. The public debt/GDP ratio stood at 63.6% in 2016. We forecast that it will edge up in the coming years, but only to 64.5% by 2019, before falling thereafter.
  • We expect real GDP growth of 2.1% in 2017 after 1.9% in 2016. We then forecast that average annual growth will ease in 2018-21, to 1.6%. Despite a strong recovery in domestic demand, headwinds remain. The external environ-ment will become more favourable in 2017 as exports to Russia benefit from the rouble's appreciation, but we project a slowdown in China's economy in 2018 and a cyclical downturn in the US in 2020.
  • A strong increase the primary income balance should push the overall current account into surplus on average in 2017. However, as the external environment becomes more subdued, we expect the surplus to shrink in 2018 and the current account to move into deficit from 2019.
  • EU harmonised inflation rose by 0.4% in 2016, after mild deflation of 0.1% in 2015. International oil prices have recovered slightly following their sharp decline in late 2014, but domestic price pressures remain relatively weak. We forecast inflation of 0.9% in 2017, rising to 1.7% on average in 2018-21.


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