Finland's consumer confidence deteriorated to its lowest since April 2020, and industrial morale was the weakest since May last year, as expectations eroded sharply due to the war in Ukraine, separate survey results showed on Monday.
The consumer sentiment index decreased to -10.5 in March, from 0.5 in February, Statistics Finland said. The latest reading was the weakest since April 2020, when it was -13.9.
Only in April 2020, and at the end of 2008, was consumer confidence weaker than in March, the agency said.
Data was collected from 1,014 persons between March 1-20. All the four components weakened in March, with expectations concerning Finland's economy in 12 months deteriorating most sharply. The expectations index crashed to -31.0 from -3.1 in the previous month.
Separately, data from the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) showed that the manufacturing confidence index fell to 15 in March, from a revised 21.0 in February. The reading was above the long-term average of 1.
Difficult business environment
The construction confidence indicator fell to 4 in March, from 11 in the previous month. The reading was above the long-term average of -6.
The service sector confidence indicator weakened to 14 in March, from 18 in the previous month. Retail trade confidence fell eight points to -6 in March, from 2 in the prior month, which was above the long-term average of -1.
The operating environment has become very difficult for businesses due to high uncertainty, high inflation and the Russia-Ukraine war, EK Director Sami Pakarinen said. Hiring intentions in the construction sector cooled rapidly as the war began, the official added.