It is spring, vaccination against the Covid-19 virus is progressing at a good pace and the Finns are once again optimistic about their economy.
In April, as the government announced the relaxation of some measures adopted to combat the coronavirus, Finnish consumer confidence recovered and entered positive territory, after more than a year of pessimism.
According to Statistics Finland, the consumer confidence indicator (CCI) stood at +3.8 in April, having been -3.0 in March and -0.8 in February. Confidence in the economy has last been stronger in May 2018 (+4.1). Last year in April, it received the value -13.9.
Source: Statistics Finland.
Confidence not only improves among salaried people who have good jobs; It is quite significant that in April the improvement is also perceived in the mental state of a group as vulnerable to instability as the self-employed.
To understand the mental state of Finnish consumers, it is necessary to explain that the CCI value and each of its four components are calculated by the official statistical agency in a scale from -100 to +100. Therefore, any negative value indicates pessimism. The higher the balance figure, the brighter the view of the economy, and the lower, the bleaker.
Of the four components of the CCI, only expectations concerning consumers’ own economic situation in twelve months’ time did not improve in April compared to March. The other components improved briskly. But compared to last year's April, all four components of the CCI were now clearly on a better level.
Consumers' views on the present state of their own economy and intentions to spend money on durable goods in the coming twelve months were on the strongest level in their measuring history 1995 to 2021 in April. In addition, also expectations concerning the development of their economy were very bright.
In April, expectations concerning Finland's economy in twelve months’ time were optimistic, too.
Buying durable goods
Consumers also considered their own financial situation in April the best ever during the measuring history. The time was regarded very good for saving and also fairly favourable for taking out a loan and buying durable goods. Again, record many were intending to take out a loan within one year. As in the past few months, consumers also had considerably plenty of plans to buy a dwelling in April. Very many were also considering renovating their dwelling or buying a car during the next 12 months.
Consumers' expectations concerning the development of the general unemployment situation in Finland also became slightly brighter in April. This was also the case for estimates of the personal threat of unemployment or temporary lay-off experienced by employed, that is, wage and salary earners and self-employed persons at the time of the survey.
Consumers’ expectations of the growth rate of consumer prices in the coming months remained unchanged in April and below its long-term average.
In April, consumer confidence in the economy was strongest in Greater Helsinki (CCI 9.8) and weakest in Eastern Finland (-1.4).
Among population groups, upper-level salaried employees were most optimistic (11.0). Pensioners had the most pessimistic views concerning economic development (-4.8). The confidence indicator received the value 7.2 among self-employed persons in April.