A more recent publication of this set of statistics is available.

Latest publication: International trade in goods and services 2020, 4th quarter

Published: 18 December 2020

Exports did not recover in the third quarter of 2020

International trade in goods and services fell clearly in the third quarter of 2020 compared with the corresponding quarter in the previous year. Compared to the third quarter of 2019, exports of goods and services decreased by 17 per cent in the past quarter, while imports went down by 15 per cent. In other words, the value of exports fell by EUR 4.0 billion year-on-year and imports correspondingly by EUR 3.6 billion. These data derive from Statistics Finland's statistics on international trade in goods and services, which are part of balance of payments .

Figure 1. Imports and exports of services quarterly (Correceted on 10 March 2021)

Figure 1. Imports and exports of services quarterly (Correceted on 10 March 2021)

Goods were both exported from Finland and imported to Finland to the tune of around EUR 14 billion in the third quarter of 2020. Exports of services amounted to EUR 5.6 billion and imports to EUR 6.3 billion. When comparing exports in the past quarter and in the second quarter of 2020, the situation has not changed significantly. In the past quarter, the value of exports of goods was EUR 0.1 billion higher, while exports of services decreased only slightly. The value of service imports fell by EUR 0.1 billion but imports of goods, in turn, were EUR 1.0 billion higher in the third quarter of 2020 than in the second quarter.

However, compared to the third quarter of 2019, international trade decreased clearly. In addition, the levels of exports and imports were lower in the past quarter than in the corresponding quarters of 2017 and 2018. The contraction of international trade from the previous year was relatively stronger in services than in goods. Exports and imports of services went down by 32 and 22 per cent relative to the quarter one year ago, while exports and imports of goods respectively decreased by 9 and 11 per cent. A large part of the fall in service exports is due to the clear decrease in exports of transport and travel.

International trade in transport and travel services is still on a low level

In the previous quarters of 2020, the levels of travel exports and imports have been below the previous year's figures and the third quarter was no exception in this respect. In the third quarter of 2019, income from travel exports was still around EUR one billion, while in the past quarter, income to Finland in euros was only EUR 0.2 billion. The corresponding values for travel imports were EUR 1.4 billion and EUR 0.2 billion. Travel exports and imports, which include consumption related to both leisure and business travel, were, however, slightly higher in their value in the past quarter than in the second quarter of 2020.

In addition to travel, the development of international trade in transport services has also been weak during 2020. In the third quarter of 2019, the value of transport exports was EUR 1.3 billion, while one year later its value was only EUR 0.5 billion. Thus, the drop was around EUR 0.8 billion. Transport imports declined less than transport exports but their level was also 28 per cent lower than one year previously.

Figure 2. Exports of services by service item

Figure 2. Exports of services by service item

Service imports grew moderately in certain items, the fall in service exports was larger

In addition to exports of travel and transport, the value of exports of other service items also fell from one year ago, although less than the items mentioned. Of other service items, exports of telecommunications, computer and information services (TCI) decreased most, by 21 per cent amounting to EUR 2.4 billion in the third quarter of 2020. On the other hand, its level was still higher than in the third quarter of 2018 when the value of TCI exports had been EUR 1.7 billion. In addition, TCI exports still remained clearly the largest service item of exports in the past quarter. The second biggest service item in exports was other business services.

In the past quarter, exports of other business services had fallen by EUR 0.2 billion year-on-year and thus stood at EUR 1.1 billion. Exports of manufacturing services, which are lower in their value, decreased by EUR 0.1 billion to close on EUR 0.4 billion. In other service items, the drop was either lower than this or the level of exports remained roughly unchanged relative to the third quarter of 2019.

Although the total imports of services decreased from twelve months back, the imports of some service items increased. In the past quarter, TCI imports were valued at EUR 1.0 billion and they grew by around EUR 0.1 billion relative to the third quarter of 2019. Imports of manufacturing services and financial and insurance services also grew slightly, by nine and eight per cent. Other business services, which has been the biggest single service item in imports in recent years, were imported to the tune of EUR 2.6 billion in the past quarter. Thus, it remained the biggest item in service imports even though the value of its imports decreased by EUR 0.3 billion.

Decrease in exports concerned all continents

Combined exports of goods and services fell widely in the third quarter of 2020, because exports to Asia, Africa, America and Europe contracted from the third quarter of 2019. Europe was still Finland's largest export market and covered 67 per cent of all exports. In the third quarter of 2020, goods and services were exported to Europe from Finland to the value of EUR 13.2 billion. Compared to the corresponding quarter of the year before, the value of exports fell by EUR 2.2 billion or 14 per cent. The value of exports to Sweden decreased by EUR 0.4 billion, while exports to Germany declined more moderately by EUR 0.1 billion.

Compared to the third quarter of 2019, exports both to EU countries and to Great Britain and Russia fell. During the past quarter, goods and services amounting to EUR 0.9 billion were exported to Great Britain, which was EUR 0.2 billion less than in the previous year. In turn, the value of exports to Russia was EUR 0.8 billion and it decreased by EUR 0.3 billion, which corresponds to a fall of around 29 per cent.

The value of Finland's exports to America amounted to EUR 2.6 billion in the past quarter, which was EUR 0.3 billion less than in the third quarter of 2019. The decline is primarily explained by a decrease of close on EUR 0.3 billion in exports to the United States. In turn, the value of exports to Asia was EUR 3.1 billion and their value contracted by EUR 1.4 billion compared to the third quarter of 2019. In the past quarter, exports of goods and services to China amounted to EUR 1.0 billion, which was 28 per cent less than in the corresponding quarter of the year before. Exports to Japan had also fallen from one year ago, but on the other hand, compared to the situation in 2018, the contraction of exports was relatively lower for Japan, China and Asia as a whole.

Imports from Asia also fell in the third quarter of 2020 relative to one year ago, but less than exports. Imports of goods and services to Finland from Asia amounted to EUR 3.3 billion, which was eight per cent less than in the corresponding quarter of the year before. Imports from America, the value of which was EUR 1.3 billion in the past quarter, decreased, in turn, by EUR 0.5 billion. Imports from Europe went down by EUR 2.8 billion but still stood at EUR 15.4 billion. In other words, imports from Europe still covered 76 per cent of Finland's total imports. The decrease in imports from Sweden, Germany and Great Britain was relatively more moderate compared to Russia, from where imports to Finland went down by as much as EUR 0.8 billion.

Figure 3. Exports of goods and services in balance of payments terms by area

Figure 3. Exports of goods and services in balance of payments terms by area

Statistics on international trade

The statistics on international trade in goods and services are part of balance of payments . The statistics comprise breakdowns of goods and services on a more detailed level. The guidelines and recommendations of the Balance of Payments Manual (BPM6) applied to balance of payments are consistent with the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010). National Accounts are published on quarterly and annual levels . Finnish Customs publishes data on goods trade across borders. Goods trade published by Finnish Customs is used as source data for the statistics on international trade in goods and services. Removals and additions caused by description of definitions described in the quality description are made to them to achieve goods trade in balance of payments terms.

Finnish Customs’ statistical service, tilastot@tulli.fi, +358 29 552 335.


Source: International trade in goods and services 2018, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Kasperi Lavikainen 029 551 3674, Risto Sippola 029 551 3383, globalisaatio.tilastot@stat.fi

Head of Department in charge: Mari Ylä-Jarkko

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Updated 18.12.2020

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): International trade in goods and services [e-publication].
ISSN=2343-4244. 3rd quarter 2020. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 16.5.2021].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/tpulk/2020/03/tpulk_2020_03_2020-12-18_tie_001_en.html