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Record deficit of the trade balance in 2011

Publication date 7.2.2012 9.00
Press release

In 2011, the Finnish foreign trade showed an exceptional deficit. The deficit amounted to almost 3.6 billion euros. The last time deficits with real values approximately at the same level were experienced was during the oil crisis in 1974 and ’75. As late as in 2010, the balance was 539 million euros in surplus. In 2011, the value of exports was 56.6 billion euros, i.e. eight per cent, higher than in 2010. The imports increased by 16 per cent, to nearly 60.2 billion euros. The imports rose close to the pre-recession level, whereas the value of exports still remained clearly lower than in 2006–2008.

As the year before, the chemical industry and the basic metals industry were the corner stones of exports. According to preliminary data, the chemical industry exports grew by over one fifth and the metals exports by more than one tenth, although the exports of the group took a downward turn in the autumn as the exports of gas pipelines ended. The growth in the chemical industry exports was caused entirely by price increases.

The machinery and equipment exports as well as the forest industry exports also increased. The electro-technical exports, on the other hand, decreased from the previous year, as the communication equipment exports fell by over one fifth. The exports growth rates were also pulled downwards by the export of a cruise ship worth one billion euros in the year of comparison.

The value of imports grew last year, mainly due to the increase in the prices of energy products, metals and ore concentrates. The imports of machinery and equipment also clearly increased.

Sweden remained the largest export country, clearly before Germany. As for imports, the Russia’s share increased, owing to energy imports, to nearly one fifth of the total imports.

Slight growth in road transits

The volume of transit goods transported by road through Finland to Russia increased in 2011 to nearly 2.2 million tons, i.e. by five per cent from the year before. The transports of machinery, equipment and textiles increased, whereas the transit of foodstuffs decreased. The estimated value of the transit transport was 20.7 billion euros, i.e. one fifth higher than in 2010.

Re-exportation to Russia keeps decreasing

Before the recession, the share of goods manufactured outside Finland but exported from Finland to Russia amounted, at its highest, to approximately one third of Finland’s exports to Russia. During the recession, the share dropped to below one fifth, and has kept decreasing since then. In 2010, the estimated share of re-exportation was 14–15 per cent, and in 2011, based on the preliminary data, the re-exportation dropped from that to approximately 13–14 per cent.

National Board of Customs, Statistics Unit
Mr Timo Koskimäki, Statistics Director, tel. +358 40 332 1851
Mr Kari Ylioja, Senior Customs Officer (transit statistics), tel. +358 40 332 1862
Mr Matti Heiniemi, Senior Customs Officer, tel. +358 40 332 1845
Statistics bulletin