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Published: 15 March 2022

Current account was in surplus and the net international investment position strengthened in the fourth quarter of 2021

The current account was EUR 0.1 billion in surplus in the fourth quarter of 2021. The value of goods exports in balance of payments terms grew by 24 per cent from twelve months back. In turn, goods imports grew by 37 per cent. At the same time, the value of service exports increased by 18 per cent year-on-year and the value of service imports rose by 24 per cent. The primary income account was in deficit. Compared to the previous quarter, the net international investment position strengthened. 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 fourth quarter of 2021, the current account was EUR 0.1 billion in surplus. The four-quarter moving total of the current account was EUR 1.8 billion in surplus. The balance of goods and services was EUR 1.1 billion in surplus. Of the sub-items of the current account, the primary income account was EUR 0.2 billion in deficit and the secondary income account was EUR 0.8 billion in deficit.

Goods and services

The goods account in balance of payments terms was EUR 0.9 billion in surplus in the fourth quarter. In the corresponding quarter of the previous year, the goods account was EUR 2.2 billion in surplus. The services account showed a surplus of EUR 0.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The value of goods exports in balance of payments terms increased by 24 per cent year-on-year and was EUR 20.6 billion at the same time as the value of goods imports in balance of payments terms grew by 37 per cent year-on-year to EUR 19.7 billion. The value of service exports grew by 18 per cent year-on-year and was EUR 9.2 billion. The value of service imports, in turn, rose by 24 per cent from the year before to EUR 9.0 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.

Current account and goods and services account, 12 –month moving sum

Current account and goods and services account, 12 –month moving sum

Primary income

A total of EUR 0.2 billion were paid in primary income on net from Finland abroad in the fourth quarter of 2021. Primary income paid from Finland abroad amounted to EUR 5.1 billion, while primary income paid from abroad to Finland totalled EUR 5.0 billion. The majority of primary income was in the form of property income.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, investment income paid abroad from Finland on net amounted to EUR 0.2 billion, while investment income paid abroad from Finland amounted to EUR 4.9 billion and investment income paid from abroad to Finland to EUR 4.6 billion.

Financial account and net international investment position

Gross liabilities bigger than gross assets

In the last quarter of 2021, Finland had EUR 842.4 billion in foreign assets on gross and EUR 854.3 billion in foreign liabilities on gross. The net international investment position, that is, the difference between the stock of assets and liabilities, was thus EUR -11.9 billion as there were more liabilities than assets. During the last quarter of 2021, gross assets decreased mainly as a result of fallen stocks of other investments. Gross liabilities also diminished due to the fallen stocks of other investments.

The net international investment position strengthened from the previous quarter when the net international investment position was EUR -14.4 billion. Financial transactions stood for EUR -1.5 billion of the risen net international investment position, while valuation changes and other changes in the stock stood for EUR 4.0 billion.

Net international investment position by quarter

Net international investment position by quarter

Largest net liabilities in portfolio investments

Examined by type of investment, there were most foreign assets on gross in the form of portfolio investments at the end of the last quarter of 2021. Portfolio investment assets grew from the previous quarter. At the end of the last quarter of 2021, there were EUR 416.8 billion in portfolio investment assets, while gross assets amounted to EUR 413.8 billion in the previous quarter. EUR 133.5 billion of the portfolio investment assets were in debt securities, and EUR 283.3 billion in shares and mutual fund shares.

The share of portfolio investments is also biggest in foreign liabilities on gross. At the end of the last quarter of 2021, portfolio investment liabilities totalled EUR 470.9 billion. The stock of portfolio investment liabilities on gross fell from the previous quarter, when the stock was EUR 479.8 billion. At the end of the fourth quarter, portfolio investment liabilities were mainly in the form of debt securities, EUR 253.5 billion.

When examining the net international investment position by type of investment, it can be seen that the biggest net assets were in direct investments, while the largest net liabilities were in the form of portfolio investments. At the end of the last quarter of 2021, net assets in direct investments amounted to EUR 36.6 billion and net liabilities in portfolio investments to EUR 54.1 billion. The large net liability of portfolio investments is explained by the net liabilities of EUR 120.0 billion in debt securities. Assets in shares and mutual fund shares were EUR 65.9 billion bigger than liabilities.

When the net investment position is examined by investor sector, employment pension schemes had the most foreign net assets, EUR 191.5 billion. The net assets of employment pension schemes grew from the previous quarter, when net assets amounted to EUR 183.5 billion. The difference between the stocks is mainly explained by valuation changes. Net liabilities were held most by non-financial corporations, EUR 136.2 billion. The net investment position of non-financial corporations weakened from the third quarter of 2021 due to the growing net liability of portfolio investments.

Net capital inflow to Finland from abroad

In the last quarter of 2021, net capital inflow to Finland from abroad amounted to EUR 1.5 billion. Net capital inflow to Finland was mainly in the form of other investments, totalling EUR 13.1 billion. Net capital outflow from Finland was mostly in the form of portfolio investments, EUR 7.3 billion.


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 15.3.2022

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Balance of payments and international investment position [e-publication].
ISSN=2342-348X. 4th quarter 2021. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 16.8.2022].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/mata/2021/44/mata_2021_44_2022-03-15_tie_001_en.html