Industrial production increased by 1.3 percent y-o-y in December
According to Statistics Finland, output of total industries adjusted for working days increased by 1.3 percent in December 2016 compared to December 2015. Seasonally-adjusted output declined by 0.7 percent m-o-m in December. In 2016, industrial output increased by 2.4 percent.
According to the preliminary statistics of foreign trade of goods provided by Finnish Customs, the value of Finnish goods exports decreased by 5 percent in December from a year ago. In 2016, the value of Finnish goods exports decreased by 4 percent, while imports remained close to that of the previous year.
New orders improved at the end of the year
Industrial output increased in many of the main industries in December. Output grew most in mining and quarrying, by 3.4 percent y-o-y. In the forest industry, output grew by 2.8 percent y-o-y, while output in the metal industry rose by 1.5 percent. Output decreased in the electrical and electronics industry, by 5.5 percent, and in the metal industry, by 5.3 percent. The value of new manufacturing orders grew by 4.7 percent y-o-y in December. In 2016, new manufacturing orders fell by 5.9 percent.
Business surveys signal a more positive outlook
Industrial production continued the slightly higher trend at the end of 2016. However, the output in the chemical, electrical and electronics industries fell by over 5 percent from December 2015. We will see if these were only temporary deviations from the upward trends seen lately. New orders in manufacturing have risen since summer 2016, in line with the order-book surveys. All in all, the outlook for the manufacturing industry is improving. The Finnish manufacturing indicator provided by the Confederation of Finnish industries rose to a five-year high in January, though it is only at an average level, when compared with previous years. Industrial companies also expect their gross fixed investments to recover further with a growth of about 4 percent in 2017. Nonetheless, a turnaround in industrial output still does not link with goods exports performance. The goods exports volume (deflated by export prices) is still slightly decreasing in y-o-y terms. A brighter industry outlook provides a signal that the export performance is about to recover this year.