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Not what the recovery needed.

Finland’s economy stagnated in the last quarter of the year, with GDP growth falling flat at just 0 per cent in the three months to the end of December.

Outside its peers in the southern eurozone, Finland’s economy has been one of the worst performing in the 19-member bloc since the financial crisis struck in 2008.

The country’s recovery has struggled to gain any momentum, with the fourth quarter GDP following on from a 0.6 per cent expansion in the period prior and a -0.15 per cent contraction in the second quarter (see chart above), all on a quarter-on-quarter basis.

Year on year growth was 1.3 per cent, according to Statistics Finland, with annual GDP expansion in 2016 coming in at a respectable 1.6 per cent. The eurozone’s average was 1.7 per cent last year.

Finland’s economy has been hit by a triple whammy comprising higher labour costs, the decline of national giant Nokia and falling paper exports over the last decade.

By contrast, Sweden – which is outside the eurozone but a member of the EU – registered the best pace of growth among Europe’s major economies, growing 1 per cent in the fourth quarter.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.

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