Finns spent more last year than they earned
Statistics Finland reports that Finns spent more money on the average then they earned in 2006.
Advance information on the nation's accounting indicate that household income grew by three per cent last year, but that expenses grew by about five per cent. Therefore, income was not quite enough to cover expenses.
The savings rate declined from zero to -1.5 per cent.
Households had nearly as much debt as they had income; toward the end of the year the debt-equity ratio was close to 100 per cent.
"The greatest reason is the growth in housing loans, but people have also borrowed more money for consumer goods", says Tuomas Rothovius of Statistics Finland.
Household earned income grew by 4.5 per cent.
Advance information for the whole national economy confirms what had been known: last year was a very good year of growth. GDP grew by 5.5 per cent. It was clearly more than the long-term average growth, which has been near three per cent.
GDP in euros was EUR 168 billion.
The growth rate in Finland was the fourth highest in the European union - right after Latvia, Slovakia, and Lithuania. Latvia's rate of growth was a dizzying 12 per cent, while Italy came in last with two per cent growth.
Finnish growth was spurred by exports, which grew by more than ten per cent from the previous year. Imports grew by five per cent.
While export prices grew by two per cent, import prices went up six per cent.
Growth was greatest for the wood and paper industry. However, part of its 15 per cent rate of growth last year is attributable to a lower starting point in 2005, which was affected by as massive labour conflict in the paper industry, without which the growth would have been just four or five per cent.
The second-highest rate of growth was with the metal industry, and the third was in commerce.
Companies made more profit than ever before: the rate of growth was 18 per cent. Before taxes and dividends, corporate profits totalled EUR 33 billion. After the payments, profit was EUR 14 billion.
Statistics Finland: Gross domestic product grew by 5.5 per cent last year