HELSINKI: Prices dropped in Finland last year for the first time in 60 years, the statistic’s institute said Thursday, stirring debate about deflation taking hold in the eurozone country.
The consumer price index fell 0.2 percent from a year earlier, weighed down by weak energy prices and, to a lesser extent, by food and telecoms.
It’s the first time since 1955 that prices taken over the whole year have retreated. Finland has been in recession since 2012, a situation blamed on its falling competitiveness, ageing population and the economic problems of its major trading partners, Russia and the European Union.
Last year saw a pro-austerity, centre-right government take power led by former businessman Juha Sipila who campaigned on the need to recover competititiveness and boost entrepreneurship.
But measures so far, including a key goal to lower labour costs, have failed to trigger growth. After three years of recession, the Bank of Finland has said it expects the economy to contract again by 0.1 percent in 2015. Economists differed in their reading of the new data.