HELSINKI, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- The total value of goods exported by Finland decreased by 17.3 percent in the first half (H1) of 2020 year-on-year, the Finnish Customs said in its monthly statistics on the international trade in goods published on Monday.
Between January and June, the value of Finland's imports dropped by 12.2 percent from the same period of 2019.
The trade deficit in H1 2020 was about 1.7 billion euros (2 billion U.S. dollars), 10 million euros more than in the corresponding period of last year, Finnish Customs said.
In June this year, the value of goods exported from Finland was around 4.5 billion euros, down 15 percent year-on-year, while the volume of exports fell by 11.3 percent compared to the same period of 2019, according to the agency.
The value and volume of imports also declined in June, albeit less markedly than the country's exports. The value of imports dropped by 9.6 percent to almost 4.7 billion euros, and the volume of imports dropped by 4.0 percent in June year-on-year.
In June 2020, the trade balance showed a deficit of 209 million euros, which has more than doubled from 80 million euros a year earlier.
The value of exports decreased the most in petroleum products (49.6 percent in June) and in metals and metal products (28.5 percent) year-on-year.
In June this year, Finland's exports to member states of the European Union (EU) dropped by 13.6 percent and its exports to non-EU countries decreased by 16.5 percent. Finland's exports to all its major trading partners decreased in June.
Imports from EU countries fell by 6.9 percent and from countries outside the EU by 13.5 percent year-on-year. However, imports from China increased by 34.9 percent and from the United States by 1.4 percent, while imports from other major import countries decreased in June, according to Finnish Customs.
Finnish national broadcaster Yle commented that the decline in the value of exports in H1 2020 was comparable to that registered during the financial crisis of 2008.
According to data released by Statistics Finland last week, Finland's gross domestic product (GDP) plunged by 6.4 percent in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same period last year.
In an interview with Yle, Timo Hirvonen, chief economist at Handelsbanken, attributed the second-quarter decline in Finnish GDP to a drop in exports and the weak performance of the services sector mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (1 euro = 1.19 U.S. dollars)
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