BOFIT Viikkokatsaus / BOFIT Weekly 2018/23

Finnish Customs figures show that Finland exported roughly 850 million euros worth of goods to China in the first quarter of this year. Finland imported 1.1 billion euros of goods from China. The value of goods trade in 1Q18 was only slightly larger than in 1Q17, with imports up just 1 % and exports 2 %. The growth of trade with China was also sluggish compared to growth in Finnish trade overall (exports up 7 %, imports up 5 % y-o-y in 1Q18). Finland's trade deficit with China fell by 4 % to 250 million euros. Finland's overall goods trade deficit was 670 million euros.

Paper pulp, ore, scrap metal and specialised machinery for various branches accounted for half of Finnish exports to China. All of these exports groups continue to gain share. The much-traded goods categories suffering share losses were sawn timber and electrical machinery & equipment. As in 1Q17, the dominant good categories for imports from China in 1Q18 were telephone and radio equipment, office equipment, other electrical devices and clothing. The imports of telephone and radio equipment noticeably increased, while imports of office equipment fell.

According to Visit Finland records, nearly 67,000 Chinese tourists visited Finland during the first three months of this year, giving the Chinese a 9 % share of all foreign visitors to Finland. The number of Chinese tourists and overnight stays increased by more than 20 % y-o-y in January-March.

Statistics Finland figures for 2017 show that Finland's total services exports rose by 8 % and imports by 3 % y-o-y. Service exports to China fell by 4 %, while services imports dropped by 16 %. With the larger contraction in imports, Finland's services account surplus with China rose to 480 million euros in 2017 (up 26 % y-o-y). Large fluctuations in the bilateral services trade of China and Finland are normal.