In the first quarter of 2013, the volume of Finland’s gross domestic product decreased by 0.1 per cent from the previous quarter. Adjusted for working days, gross domestic product was 2.1 per cent down on the first quarter of 2012. Calculated at current prices, gross domestic product adjusted for working days fell by 0.1 per cent year-on-year.
Figure 1. Volume change of GDP from the previous quarter (seasonally adjusted, per cent)
The seasonally adjusted volume of gross domestic product has either decreased or remained unchanged already for four quarters. Thus the recession in the economy continued in the first quarter as well. GDP has last grown in the first quarter of 2012, when, in addition to other factors, the peak in motor vehicle sales caused by the vehicle tax revision helped boost GDP.
According to preliminary data compiled by Eurostat, GDP in the EU-27 area fell by 0.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the previous quarter.
The volume of total value added generated by all industries went down by 0.6 per cent from the previous quarter and by 1.8 per cent from twelve months back.
Figure 2. Changes in the volume of value added by industry, 2013Q1 compared to one year ago (working day adjusted, per cent)
Figure 3. Changes in the volume of value added by industry, 2013Q1 compared to the previous quarter (seasonally adjusted, per cent)
In primary production, that is, agriculture, forestry and fishing, the volume of value added was 4.2 per cent higher in the first quarter than in the previous quarter and 3.6 per cent higher than one year earlier. In forestry, felling volumes increased from one year ago by more than eight per cent.
Apart from manufacture of food products, output in manufacturing fell in all industries in the January to March period. The value added of industries B to E was three per cent down on the previous quarter and 5.1 per cent down on the respective quarter twelve months back. Output in the electrical and electronics industry contracted most but the value added in the metal industry decreased by more than at any time since 2009.
In the January to March period, output in construction diminished by 1.5 per cent from the previous quarter and by 6.1 per cent from one year back.
In service industries, value added remained on level with the previous quarter but grew by 0.4 per cent from twelve months back. Value added in private services increased by 0.4 per cent and in public services by 0.4 per cent from the previous quarter.
Value added in trade was 0.1 per cent higher than in the previous quarter but it declined by 3.2 per cent from one year back.
In the first quarter, total demand grew by 0.9 per cent from the previous quarter but contracted by 1.6 per cent from twelve months back. Contraction of exports and gross fixed capital formation in construction lowered demand in the national economy.
Figure 4. Changes in the volume of main supply and expenditure components, 2013Q1 compared to one year ago (working day adjusted, per cent)
Figure 5. Changes in the volume of main supply and expenditure components, 2013Q1 compared to the previous quarter (seasonally adjusted, per cent)
In January to March, the volume of exports grew by 0.9 per cent from the previous quarter but was four per cent down year-on-year. Exports of goods decreased by 4.6 per cent and those of services by two per cent year-on-year. In the assessment of exports, and in particular goods export, it is best to use original or working day adjusted data. Irregular seasonal variation in Finnish goods exports makes it more difficult to carry out seasonal adjustment, which means that seasonally adjusted data and change percentages calculated based on them are hard to interpret.
Imports decreased by three per cent from the previous quarter and by 7.9 per cent year-on-year. Imports of goods decreased by 9.1 per cent and those of services by 4.8 per cent year-on-year.
In the first quarter, the volume of private consumption grew by 0.3 per cent from the previous quarter but diminished by 0.5 per cent from twelve months back. The decrease in consumption from one year ago is partially explained by the high volume of car sales in the comparison period, which was caused by changes to the vehicle tax.
Gross fixed capital formation grew by 0.6 per cent from the previous quarter but fell by 5.5 per cent year-on-year. Construction diminished by 1.6 per cent from the previous quarter and by 8.2 per cent year-on-year. Non-residential construction decreased most compared with the previous quarter.
The volume of gross fixed capital formation in machinery, equipment and transport equipment increased by 6.9 per cent from the previous quarter and by 3.9 per cent year-on-year. Gross fixed capital formation in transport equipment were boosted by the new ship introduced into traffic by Viking Line in January.
In the first quarter, the number of employed persons diminished by 0.4 per cent from the previous quarter and was 0.9 per cent lower than one year previously. The number of hours worked in the national economy decreased by 0.5 per cent from the previous quarter and by 2.4 per cent from one year back.
According to Statistics Finland’s Labour Force Survey, the rate of unemployment in the January to March period was 8.8 per cent. In the corresponding period of last year it stood at 8.0 per cent.
In the January to March period, the nominal wages and salaries bill of the national economy grew by 0.3 per cent from the previous quarter and by 1.1 per cent year-on-year. Employer’s social contributions in 2012 was revised up compared to the March estimate. The revised estimate for employer’s social contributions in 2012 is 18.7 billion euro, which is 3.4 percent higher than in 2011.
The operating surplus (net), which roughly corresponds with business profit in business bookkeeping, decreased by 7.9 per cent at current prices from twelve months back. GDP calculated at current prices was 0.6 per cent lower than one year previously.
These preliminary data on the first quarter of 2013 are based on the source information on economic development that had become available by 24 May 2013.
The annual level data for 1990 to 2011 correspond with the National Accounts data released on 31 January 2013, except for those on the rest of the world sector (imports, exports, primary income from/to the rest of the world), which may have become revised. National Accounts data concerning the second quarter of 2013 will be released on 5 September 2013, when the data for previous quarters will also be revised.
Due to the benchmarking and seasonal adjustment methods, quarterly data in the entire time series may become slightly revised in connection with each release. However, the largest revisions take place during the two to three years following the release on a quarter, because final annual accounts data are published at a lag of around two years from the end of the statistical reference year. Seasonally adjusted and trend time series always become revised against new observations irrespective of whether the original time series becomes revised or not.
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Source: National Accounts 2013, 1st quarter. Statistics Finland
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Contents (Quarterly national accounts 2013, 1st quarter)