Service exports grew by 7% in the first quarter of 2019 compared with the corresponding quarter of the previous year, while service imports grew by 9%. Service exports mainly grew due to the increased exports of ICT services, construction services and project deliveries, according the latest figures published by Statistics Finland.
The numbers included in the statistics on international trade in good and services, which are a part of the balance of payments, show that combined exports of goods and services grew by 5% and imports by 1% in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period of 2018. Goods exports grew by 4%, while goods imports fell by 2%.
In the first quarter of 2019, the most significant service items in international trade were other business services, telecommunications, computer and information services (ICT) and transport services. Together, these services form around 60 per cent of Finland’s service exports and 65 per cent of the service imports.
Source: Statistics Finland.
Imports of other business services amounted to 2.3 billion euros and exports to 1.3 billion euros. International trade in transport services was also in deficit: imports amounted to 1.4 billion euros and exports to 0.9 billion euros.
Growth due to ICT services
By contrast, more ICT services were exported than imported. The exports of these amounted to 2.0 billion euros and imports to 1.1 billion euros.
The numbers reflect that service exports grew due to increased exports of ICT services, which grew by 18%. In addition, exports of construction services and project deliveries increased by 27%. However, measured in euros the growth in exports of ICT services was double compared to construction services and project deliveries.
ICT services include, for example, hardware and software consultancy and implementation services, general software that increase business productivity and computer games software.
The imports of almost every service item grew or remained on level with the previous year in the first quarter of the year. Growth was strongest in the ICT services, other business services and financial and insurance services items.
More international trade with the US
The United States’ share of Finland’s service exports was around 12 per cent in the first quarter of 2019. The share of both goods and services exports to the United States grew by good 1 percentage point compared to the previous year. In contrast, the share of the euro area in service exports fell by around 1 percentage point to 30 per cent.
The share of total imports from the United States increased to nearly five per cent. The increase in service imports from the United States explains the slight growth, of under one percentage point, in the share of imports. In contrast, the share of the euro area of total imports remained at around 40 per cent, as one year before.
Over two-thirds of Finland’s exports were sent to Europe, and almost 80 per cent of the goods and services imported to Finland were imported from Europe. The share of the euro area of Finland’s international trade with Europe was around one-half in the first quarter of 2019.