Finland hit by Russia sanctions
Ever since sanctions and counter-sanctions were imposed over the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, Finland has been suffering from a downturn in trade with its neighbour Russia. The Finnish port of Hamina Kotka is just 30 kilometres away from the Russian border. As a major hub for containers en route to Russia, it acts as a barometer for trade relations between the two countries.
Slowing exports dampen German economy
Mixed economic messages came from Germany on Monday. The Federal Statistics Office reported a budget surplus of 16 billion euros for the first six months of the year. But data released Monday also showed that the German economy contracted during the second quarter after corporate investment fell and exports grew slowly. The statistics office said the second quarter slump was also because growth in imports outpaced exports.
EU cuts power on vacuum cleaners
Vacuum cleaners are now joining their other energy efficient counterparts, like refrigerators and washing machines, by requiring energy labels for the first time. Starting September, European manufacturers can no longer make or import vacuums with motors consuming more than 1,600 watts. The current average on the market is about 1,800 watts. In 2017 that limit will further drop to 900 watts.