Fitch lowers Finland's outlook to negative
Fitch Ratings Agency has cut its outlook on Finland's Finland sovereign debt rating on the basis of the country's weak prospects for growth, as GDP remains 7 percent below the level seen before the 2008 financial crisis.
"Real GDP declined 0.1% in 2014, after falling in both 2013 and 2012," Fitch noted in a statement, adding that it expected growth for the coming year to total 0.5 percent, a downward revision of 0.6 percentage points since the last review in September, when the agency affirmed the country's international credit rating as "Finland with a Stable Outlook," but sounded caution on the prospects for Finland's export market as a result of the EU's restrictive measures against Russia, and Russia's counter-measures.
"External trade prospects have been adversely affected by a sharp fall in exports to Russia, Finland's third-largest trading partner," read the statement, which also cites "sector-specific shocks in the electronics and paper sectors," and a decrease in the working-age population since the final quarter of 2010. The agency expects growth to accelerate to 1.3% in 2016. ■