March 27, 2017 / 7:20 AM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Finnish consumer confidence hits record high in March

(Adds background, economist quote)

HELSINKI, March 27 (Reuters) - Finland’s consumer confidence hit a record high in March and industry confidence reached its highest level since 2011, data showed on Monday, adding to signs it may be on track for a recovery after a decade-long period of stagnation.

The consumer confidence index rose to 22.9 points in March from 20.8 points in February, Statistics Finland (SF) said, compared with a long-term average for the indicator of 11.9 points.

The indicator reached the same record peak once before in the euro zone country, in September 2010.

“This is a definite signal of an upturn, but at the same time I see it as a burst of pent-up optimism after years of stagnation”, said Juhana Brotherus, economist at Hypo Bank.

A year ago the confidence indicator for March was 10.4.

A separate gauge of industry confidence rose to +4 points from a revised reading of +2 in February, the Confederation of Finnish Industries said. The long-term average is +1 point.

Finnish gross domestic product (GDP) is still below levels hot before the financial crisis in 2008 as its exports have been hit by a string of problems, including a decline of Nokia’s former phone business, high overall labour costs and a recession in neighbouring Russia.

Finland’s economic growth accelerated in January and its central bank lifted its growth forecasts for the coming years in March, citing strong consumer confidence, recovering exports and investments. (Reporting by Tuomas Forsell; Editing by Terje Solsvik and Andrew Heavens)

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