Review of 2013: the good and the bad

The year is about to turn and it is time for an annual review. We asked our finance professionals for their take on the past year.
 
What was good about 2013?

  • The US economy recovered to such an extent that the Fed can slow down the rate at which it is printing new money from January 2014. The Chinese National Congress took some decisions in the autumn that will have long-term effects. Japan's new economic policy has kick-started growth in the world's third largest economy, pushing inflation above zero.
    Aki Kangasharju, Chief Economist
  • 2013 was a good year for investors when all is said and done, although the yields of low-risk fixed income markets were weak. Although the economic data was lacklustre, equity markets in western countries, such as Finland, performed excellently. Generally speaking, investor sentiment moved in a positive direction in the past year.
    Lippo Suominen, ‎Chief Investment Strategist
  • Record-low interest rates have been positive for Finnish housing loan borrowers, making it easier for them to repay their loans in 2013. This was extremely important especially with the current uncertainty in the labour market. The finances of the lowest-income households in Finland also improved, a fact confirmed by our research.
    Anu Numminen, Private Economist
  • An increasing number of customers chose other alternatives alongside their savings account. Every second housing loan customer became a monthly saver.
    Nina Luomanen, Head of Segment Household and Marketing
  • There has been an increasing focus on entrepreneurship from different points of view. School students have been excited when visiting the Entrepreneur Village, university students are more and more interested in becoming entrepreneurs, there is a high number of different business incubators, business angels now have a higher profile and growth entrepreneurship has been the subject of a vibrant discussion. Many businesses also take international operations into consideration right from the start. All in all, entrepreneurship has become an increasingly viable career option for many. This is an extremely good development and Nordea has had the opportunity to support some great growth businesses.
    Antti Toivainen, Head of Corporate Business Development
What would you have liked to see?
  • A recovery in the eurozone and structural reforms for saving the Finnish economy.
    Aki Kangasharju, Chief Economist
  • Post-financial crisis fears over an economic and market collapse have gradually eased, which has energised investors again. Next we need brisker recovery in economic growth so that the solid performance of the equity market would continue next year. The first signs, in fact, point to gradually improving recovery on the horizon.
    Lippo Suominen, ‎Chief Investment Strategist
  • There were a lot of worries about the trend in employment, and especially the growth of youth unemployment, in political dialogue. From the corporate point of view, however, actions for boosting employment were lacking.
    Anu Numminen, Private Economist
  • At the start of the year we expected the market to be more active than what it turned out to be. The modest performance of the Finnish economy was also reflected by the market where we and our customers operate, so in that sense, the year as a whole was more timid than we expected. Luckily, there was a clearly higher level of activity towards the end of the year.
    Olli-Petteri Lehtinen, Head of Corporate Merchant Banking