It may not come as a surprise to anyone, but new statistics nevertheless confirm what many probably already suspected: Finland is one of the most expensive countries in the eurozone.

According to Eurostat’s figures, reported recently by Helsingin Sanomat, the price of foodstuff in Finland is over 12 per cent above the eurozone average, while housing is up to 26 per cent more expensive. Alcohol and tobacco prices stand out the most, because of heavy taxation, being 42 per cent higher than the average.

Overall, prices in Finland are about 20 per cent above the eurozone averages, estimated Anssi Rantala from Suomen Pankki. This makes Finland one of the most expensive countries in the euro area also in terms of purchasing power (that is to say, how commodity prices compare to salaries), behind only Luxembourg and Sweden. The one industry that is an exception is telecommunications – mainly phones and Internet – where prices are almost 23 per cent below the average.

Due to inflation, prices have also risen faster than elsewhere over the last five years. The real price of foodstuff has gone up 14 per cent during this time, said Ilkka Lehtinen, development manager at Statistics Finland, writing to the agency’s publication Tieto&trendit.

“Finland is a small, remote and sparsely populated country,” which is why transportation costs are higher than in Central Europe, explained Timo Mattila, director of Consumer Division at the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, to Helsingin Sanomat. Another reason behind high prices is a lack of competition in many industries. According to him, increased competition would conversely drive prices down. For example retail in Finland is dominated by S and K groups, and centres to a great degree on hypermarkets and large groceries in general.

Teemu Henriksson