The War in Ukraine – Impact on Finland (Updated 15.3.2022)
Trevian condemns Russia’s attack on Ukraine. The war in Ukraine is serious threat to European security, and we follow the humanitarian crisis ongoing in the area with heavy hearts.
As a company operating in one of the neighbouring countries to Russia, we have received questions and heard concerns from our foreign investors about the impact of the current situation on Finland. Below we share Trevian’s view of the security and economic perspectives.
Finland is not a member of NATO. However, Finland is part of the EU and benefits from the EU’s collective security commitments. Although Ukraine is not an EU member state, the EU supports Ukraine financially and with supplies, including weapons, and Finland plays its full part in that support operation.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö recently visited the White House and stated that Finland and the United States would intensify defence cooperation. Finland is already a NATO “Partnership for Peace” program member. In addition, defence collaboration with Sweden is significant. Discussions about joining NATO are now active among national leadership, and opinion polls show that most Finns favour NATO membership.
Most importantly, experts widely agree that there is no immediate or long-term military threat to Finland.
According to the Ministry of Finance evaluation (7 March 2022), energy and food prices will likely rise throughout Europe, including in Finland. Growth will slow, and inflation will accelerate, at least in the short term. At the same time, the risk of stagflation increases. Russia’s share of Finland’s total exports is less than 5%, and the end of exports to Russia could cut an estimated 1–1 ½ % of Finland’s GDP. A weaker scenario is naturally possible, e.g., through indirect effects and unpredictable developments.
Two large Finnish corporations will be significantly affected: Fortum and Nokian Renkaat. Fortum has wide energy investments in Russia and Nokian Renkaat has tire manufacturing facilities in Russia.
Impacts on the economy
The stock market has reacted in Finland as in the rest of the world. However, according to a recent Nordea forecast, there will be no lasting effects on the European economy as underlying fundamentals remain unaffected.
Due to the exceptional situation caused by the war in Ukraine, the Bank of Finland (11 March 2022) prepared two different forecasts: In the first calculation, the effects on economic growth and inflation would be mainly limited to 2022, and the economy would grow by about 2 percent. According to the second calculation, export markets will weaken more, and raw material and energy prices will remain high for a long time. According to the OP Financial Group’s chief economist Reijo Heiskanen (4 March 2022), the most significant impact of the war in Ukraine on the wallet of ordinary Finns is the rise in energy prices.
According to the OP Financial Group (11 March 2022) forecast, Finland’s economic growth will remain at precisely two percent this year and one percent next year. This represents a decrease of 0.7 percentage points from OP’s previous January forecast for both years. The estimate is based on the assumption that foreign trade with Russia will not exist and that it will take time to find a replacement export market. However, OP emphasizes that although the war in Ukraine is slowing down Finland’s growth, the Finnish economy is resilient.
According to Trevian’s current market outlook, our investment environment has not changed significantly, while attraction factors remain unchanged. Thus, we can continue our recommendation to invest in real estate in Finland. However, we will closely monitor the development of the situation and inform our partners of any changes that affect our operations. In addition, we continue to pay special attention to Trevian’s data security and we develop our data security according to the ISO/IEC 27001 standard. Trevian’s IT-systems utilize the best practices in the business to ensure high data security.
Our thoughts are with the Ukrainian people. To support those most affected by the war, we have made a donation, through the Finnish Red Cross, for humanitarian aid work in the conflict areas.