Finland in recession after Q1 GDP shrinks 0.9% Q/Q -Statistics Finland

HELSINKI, May 29 (Reuters) - Finland is now officially in recession after gross domestic product contracted for two consecutive quarters, Statistics Finland said on Friday.

First-quarter economic output fell by 0.9% from the previous quarter, the agency said, while its revised data for the fourth quarter of 2019 showed a contraction of 0.6% from the quarter before. First-quarter GDP shrank 1.1% year-on-year, it added.

Danske Bank’s chief economist Pasi Kuoppamaki called the new data a “defensive victory”, given the drops in first-quarter gross domestic product have been much higher in many other countries.

“Eurozone GDP contracted 3.8% from the previous quarter according to preliminary data, meaning the coronavirus and its preventive measures struck elsewhere in Europe considerably more harshly and earlier than in Finland,” he wrote in a note.

But Kuoppamaki said the second quarter was also likely to be “miserable” for Finland, while the consensus estimate for full-year 2020 is for the economy to contract 6.5% and then grow by 4.5% in 2021.

The Bank of Finland expects the economy to shrink between 5% and 13% this year due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Editing by Hugh Lawson)