Business confidence rose in January in all main sectors except for construction.
Confidence in manufacturing on the rise
In January, the balance figure measuring confidence in the manufacturing sector was -13. Confidence increased by six points compared to the revised level in the previous month. The confidence indicator is still clearly below the long-term average of +1.
Production is expected to decrease in the coming months, and order books are thin. Finished goods inventories decreased compared to the previous month and are now close to normal levels. Capacity utilization is at full capacity for 54% of companies, which is a higher proportion than last month.
In Finland, confidence in the manufacturing sector was still the second weakest among EU countries in December.
Confidence in construction declining
In January, the balance figure describing confidence in the construction sector decreased to -39. The figure was three points lower than in December. The long-term average is -7.
Order backlog continued to decrease from the previous month and is still significantly below the considered normal level. Expectations regarding the number of employees in the construction industry are still weak but less pessimistic than in December.
Confidence in the construction sector was the weakest among EU countries in December.
Confidence in services sector increased slightly
Confidence in the services sector rose in January. The balance figure measuring confidence was +1, which is one point higher than the revised figure in December. The long-term average for the services indicator is +11.
Companies assessed that the economic situation has deteriorated in recent months. The economic outlook has been challenging in the past months, and the trend is weaker than in December. However, sales have continued to grow at a modest pace compared to previous months. Sales expectations are positive and have strengthened compared to the previous month.
In Finland, confidence in the services sector was clearly below the EU average in December.
Retail trade confidence improved
In January, confidence in the retail trade sector increased to -7, which is eight points higher than in December. The long-term average is -1.
Sales in retail trade remained largely unchanged compared to the previous month. Sales expectations for the coming months are still weak. Inventories remained at the same level as in the previous month.
Confidence in the retail trade sector was the second weakest among EU countries in December.