The world economy is expected to grow at a rate below the average. Economic growth in the euro area is anticipated to remain moderate. Finnish economic growth has been modest for a long time now. Weak export demand, eroding price competitiveness and slow reform of economic structures are threatening to make the Finnish economic growth rate clearly lag behind the euro area for several years. Implementing the structural reforms may tighten the political situation, which may, for its part, threaten the recovery of the domestic market. The current exceptional world economic situation with low interest rates and quantitative easing measures by central banks will also cause major uncertainty to the future economic development.
The weak Finnish economy will keep long-term growth expectations low in the financial sector. Low interest rates will erode banks’ net interest income and weaken insurance institutions’ investment income. Then again, low interest rates support customers' loan repayment capacity that has remained stable despite the prolonged period of slow growth. Capital adequacy and profitability in the financial sector have come to play an ever-increasing role because of the unstable operating environment and the tighter regulatory framework.
OP Financial Group expects its earnings before tax for 2016 to be at about the same level as in 2015. The most significant uncertainties associated with the earnings estimate are related to unfavourable changes in the interest rate and investment environment. Some uncertainty is also associated with developments in impairment loss on receivables.
All forward-looking statements in this Report by the Executive Board expressing the management’s expectations, beliefs, estimates, forecasts, projections and assumptions are based on the current view on developments in the economy, and actual results may differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements.