Confidence among Finnish enterprises fell for a fifth consecutive month in December as consumer indicators show a dramatic downward trend hit a two-year low in the Eurozone’s northernmost member as global demand for Finland’s export-reliant economy drops just as inventories have been on the rise. This has caused a major slowdown in the Finnish economy.

For Finland’s government, the news could not come at a worse time as further economic uncertainty could lead to a crushing defeat in the country’s general elections that are due in April.

The cabinet of Juha Sipilä, a three-party centre-right coalition, has largely delivered on its goals but obstacles remained throughout its mandate, since 2015, while Helsinki is still running a budget deficit.

For the first time since 2008, Finland will be able to cut debt by repaying by almost €1 billion.

According to Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat, the central government will forgo the €2.2-billion loan tranche scheduled for later this year on grounds that central government revenues and expenditures have developed more favourably than expected.

Finland has had to borrow to patch up its budget deficit every year since its debt burden doubled in 2008 due to the onset of the latest financial crisis.