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Published: 17 December 2021

The current account was in surplus and the net international investment position strengthened in the third quarter of 2021

The current account was EUR 2.0 billion in surplus in the third quarter of 2021. The value of goods exports in balance of payments terms increased by 28 per cent year-on-year. On the other hand, the value of goods imports increased by 22 per cent. At the same time, the value of service exports increased by 19 per cent year-on-year, while the value of service imports rose by 15 per cent. The primary income account was in surplus. The net international investment position strengthened compared to the previous quarter. The data appear from Statistics Finland's statistics on balance of payments and international investment position.

Current account and goods and services account

Current account and goods and services account

Current account

In the third quarter of 2021 the current account was EUR 2.0 billion in surplus. The four-quarter moving total of the current account was EUR 5.3 billion in surplus. The balance of goods and services was EUR 0.2 billion in surplus. Of the sub-items of the current account the primary income account was EUR 2.4 billion in surplus and the secondary income account was EUR 0.6 billion in deficit.

Goods and services

The goods account in balance of payment terms was EUR 0.8 billion in surplus in the third quarter. In the corresponding quarter of the previous year, the trade account was in balance. The services account was EUR 0.6 billion in deficit in the third quarter of 2021.

The value of goods exports in balance of payments terms increased by 28 per cent year-to-year and was EUR 18.1 billion at the same time as the value of goods imports in balance of payments terms increased by 22 per cent year-on-year to EUR 17.3 billion. The value of service exports increased by 19 per cent year-on-year and was EUR 6.7 billion. On the other hand, the value of service imports rose by 15 per cent year-on-year to 7.3 billion.

More detailed import and export figures in balance of payments terms by service item and area can be found in the statistics on international trade in goods and services starting from 2013. Decreases and increases made to the Finnish Customs figures, which result in goods trade in balance of payments terms, are also broken down in the statistics on international trade in goods and services.

Finland’s current account and goods and services account, 12 –month moving sum

Finland’s current account and goods and services account, 12 –month moving sum

Primary income

A total of EUR 2.4 billion were paid in primary income on net to Finland in the third quarter of 2021. Primary income paid abroad from Finland was EUR 2,5 billion, while primary income paid from abroad to Finland was EUR 4,9 billion.

In the third quarter of 2021, investment income paid to Finland on net amounted to EUR 2.3 billion, while investment income paid to Finland from abroad amounted to EUR 4.6 billion and investment income paid abroad from Finland to EUR 2.3 billion. Investment income on net was paid from abroad to Finland in all functional categories. Most investment income on net from abroad to Finland was paid in the form of direct investments, EUR 1.4 billion in the third quarter of 2021.

Financial account and net international investment position

Gross liabilities bigger than gross assets

At the end of the third quarter of 2021, Finland had EUR 916.3 billion in gross foreign assets and EUR 922.2 billion in gross foreign liabilities. The net international investment position, that is, the difference between gross assets and liabilities, was thus EUR -5.9 billion as there were more liabilities than assets. Gross liabilities grew from the second quarter mainly due to an increase in the stock of liabilities of other investments. Other investments also increased the stock of gross assets.

The net international investment position strengthened from the second quarter of 2021 when the net international investment position was EUR -7.5 billion. Financial transactions stood for EUR 2.2 billion of the change in the net international investment position, while prices, exchange rates and other changes in classifications stood for EUR -0.6 billion.

Finland’s net international investment position quarterly

Finland’s net international investment position quarterly

Largest net liabilities in portfolio investments

Examined by functional category, most foreign assets were in the form of portfolio investments at the end of the third quarter of 2021. Portfolio investment assets grew from the previous quarter. At the end of the third quarter of 2021, there were EUR 412.7 billion in portfolio investment assets, while in the previous quarter there were EUR 405.8 billion in assets. The change in stocks is explained by financial transactions and value changes in portfolio investments. Portfolio investments abroad increased by EUR 2.3 billion, while changes in prices, exchange rates and other classifications were EUR 4.6 billion. EUR 137.3 billion of the portfolio investment assets were in bonds and money market instruments, and EUR 275.4 billion in shares and mutual fund shares.

The share of portfolio investments is also highest in foreign liabilities. At the end of the third quarter of 2021, the liabilities stock of portfolio investments totalled EUR 468.6 billion. Portfolio investment liabilities increased from the previous quarter, when the stock of portfolio investment liabilities stood at EUR 463.5 billion.

When examining the net international investment position by functional category, it can be seen that the biggest net assets were in the form of direct investments, while the largest net liabilities were in the form of portfolio investments. At the end of the third quarter of 2021, the net assets of direct investments stood at EUR 32.9 billion. The net assets of direct investment decreased from the second quarter of 2021, when net assets amounted to EUR 36.1 billion. The net liabilities of portfolio investments amounted to EUR 55.9 billion, which is explained by the EUR 138.1 billion net liabilities of debt securities. Assets in shares and mutual fund shares of portfolio investments were EUR 82.3 billion higher than liabilities.

Capital flowed abroad on net from Finland

In the third quarter of 2021, net capital outflow from Finland abroad amounted to EUR 2.2 billion. Net capital outflow from Finland abroad was highest in the form of reserve assets, EUR 2.9 billion. In the form of other investments, net capital outflow from Finland abroad amounted to EUR 1.5 billion. Correspondingly, net capital inflow to Finland from abroad was highest in the form of direct investments, EUR 2.6 billion.

Social security funds had largest net assets

When the net investment position is examined by investor sector, most foreign net assets, EUR 182.4 billion, were held by social security funds, of which employment pension schemes are the most important ones. EUR 152.6 billion of social security funds’ net assets were in the form of shares and mutual fund shares and EUR 27.1 billion in the form of debt securities. Net liabilities were held most by other monetary financial institutions, EUR 188.7 billion. The net investment position of other monetary financial institutions weakened from the second quarter of 2021 mainly due to increased net liability of portfolio investments.


Source: Balance of payments and international investment position, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Marianna Mukkulainen 029 551 3405, Emmi Pättiniemi 029 551 3294, balanceofpayments@stat.fi.

Head of Department in charge: Katri Kaaja

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Updated 17.12.2021

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Balance of payments and international investment position [e-publication].
ISSN=2342-348X. 3rd quarter 2021. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 3.7.2022].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/mata/2021/43/mata_2021_43_2021-12-17_tie_001_en.html