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Finland Economy
 
 
 

General

Long an agricultural country, Finland accelerated the pace of its industrialisation after World War II. By the end of the 20th century, manufacturing, services, and trade and transportation were the largest segments of the economy, while agriculture (plus forestry and fishing) accounted for less than 5% of employment and GDP.

In agriculture, livestock production is predominant and dairy products are important. Large numbers of poultry, cattle, hogs, reindeer and sheep are raised. Leading agricultural commodities include barley, wheat, hay, oats, rye, sugar beets and potatoes. Though Finland's mining output is small, it includes a number of important minerals such as iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, chromite, nickel, gold and silver. The Finnish lumbering industry is one of the largest in Europe, producing a variety of wood and paper products.

Among the country's chief industries are food processing and the manufacture of iron, steel, electrical and electronic equipment (especially cellular phones), machinery, scientific instruments, ships, pulp and paper, chemicals, textiles and clothing. Finland is also known for its design of glass, ceramics and stainless-steel cutlery. Its tourism industry is based mostly on winter sports and fishing. In recent years, there has been national focus on innovation and research and development, with special emphasis on information technology. Nokia, the telecommunications company, is generally regarded as the single most significant cause of Finland's success.

About 20% of the country's electricity is generated by hydroelectric plants and 30% by nuclear power; additional electricity and fossil fuels must be imported.

The leading exports are forest products (which account for about 50% of exports), machinery and equipment, metals, ships, clothing and processed foods. The chief imports are foodstuffs, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, transportation equipment, iron and steel, machinery, textiles and grains. The principal trade partners are Germany, Russia, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Finland was one of the eleven countries joining the euro monetary system (EMU) on January 1, 1999. The national currency markka (FIM), in use since 1860, was withdrawn and replaced by the euro (EUR) at the beginning of 2002.

Overview

Economy - overview:
Finland has a highly industrialised, largely free-market economy with per capita output roughly that of the UK, France, Germany and Italy. Its key economic sector is manufacturing – principally the wood, metals, engineering, telecommunications and electronics industries. Trade is important; exports equal two-fifths of GDP. Finland excels in high-tech exports, e.g, mobile phones. Except for timber and several minerals, Finland depends on imports of raw materials, energy and some components for manufactured goods. Because of the climate, agricultural development is limited to maintaining self-sufficiency in basic products. Forestry, an important export earner, provides a secondary occupation for the rural population. High unemployment remains a persistent problem.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$175.2 billion (2006 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$197.9 billion (2006 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
4.9% (2006 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$33,500 (2006 est.)


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